The Ghost of Christmas Past

Monday, December 13, 2010 / 1:33 PM

January 26, 2004
Dear (Senior) Self,
This is odd. Just a couple days ago I got my 8th grade letter to myself from retreat and now I have to write another letter to myself!...Uhm...I dunno what to write about. I can guarantee  that I'm going to forget about this until I receive it. Frosh year is interesting. I've made loads of friends and I hope I'll still keep them through high school and "beyond"--Liz, Katie, Cienna, Manda, Cait, Janelle,, my senior self, I hope this promise is true and that I still keep at least these friends. So what's important?...Hmm...that I actually make it to senior year so I get this letter! And, well, there's a lot of things that are important. Family, friends, school...and what are my hopes/goals? Well, that whole getting to my senior year is pretty much a major goal. And I hope to continue in the Shakespeare Society...and I hope I go into acting or film or entertainment or literature...and, if anything, I hope to be happy! Hmm, I dunno what else there is to say. Oh, let's hope that Janelle and I actually say what we're going to do: visit New Zealand, visit Europe and go cross-country! We want to visit at least a zillion landmarks. And where should I go to college? Oh, I don't know...Let's hope that I will still be best friends with my current friends--No regrets!
Love from, my freshman self

Wow, that was incredibly painful to type up--mainly due to bad handwriting and grammatical errors. The content itself is forgivable (kind of)...I was 14. Like none of you have those skeletons in your closets as well.

I like finding these letters and old blogs, as embarrassing as it all is. I do regret destroying my old high school Xanga though because it would've been amusing to read now--even though the reason I deleted it in the first place was so I wouldn't have to read it again.

"My Grown-Up Christmas List" quartet - Dec. 2006

Checklist of the above items:
  • What did I even write to myself in my 8th grade letter? And what was with these schools and having us write letters to ourselves? I believe at Senior Reflection we also wrote letters to ourselves for one year into college...did those ever get mailed to us? I feel like they did because I remember talking to Rosa about it in the dorms.
  • Of the seven "best friends" I mention, I only remained close to two of them by the end of senior year, though our paths haven't crossed much since I left; three of the friends I mention became distant acquaintances by the end of my freshman year; one friend left Loretto at the end of Third Year and we fell out of touch; and one provided a thoughtless end to a destructive friendship.
  • I did make it to senior year (and stayed with the Society and Festival for four years) and to college. Cool.
  • My career goals seemed vague, though they're still (sort of) vague now. I've abandoned acting and music since I moved, and I don't realize how much I miss it until I remember the post-wedding declaration of love between Benedick and Beatrice or I think about four-part harmonies. 
On that note, Christmas season is coming up. This time, six years ago, I was preparing for my first Christmas concert as a part of concert choir; five years ago, I was up until all hours of the night memorizing old English as a part of chamber choir; four years ago, I was re-writing arrangements for Harnoor, Cort, Rosa and my quartet--I listened to the recording last night and the part where I messed up still makes me cringe, ugh.

"Stage Door" - fall 2006
I've been reminiscing with Cort lately and assaulting her with the past via her old Xanga. I don't remember auditioning for Ring Ceremony, though Cort swears I did. I remember my failed Advanced Drama audition and the time Cort and I auditioned "Believe" from The Polar Express two days after I got sick and lost my voice. And that evening we were supposed to open the Old Sac Christmas tree lighting and there were only five of us trying to do a five-part split? Oh, God. Then there were the successful auditions and moments too, from Festivals to concerts to Stage Door and even fashion show. High school was fun, in those respects. 

Music (as well as the theatre) was so much a part of my life and it still feels weird to be separated from it for so long. Every time I pick up my guitar or listen to a powerful monologue, I miss the passion that came with performance.

I don't miss those suffocating choir dresses, stage makeup caked onto my face or choir warmups though. "I have a nose like a ping pong ball" still haunts my nightmares, Mr. L. Thanks.

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  1. :) I give you kudos for keeping that letter and being able to reflect about life.

    I don't have mine anymore, but I do recall the great changes over the years. Strange isn't it?

    <3 you

  2. oh goodness the past! I keep thinking about our time in the performing arts, too. I remember thinking I'd be the cool kind of person to not "get busy" doing other things. Maybe that's why our schools made us write letters to ourselves- so we don't accidentally grow away from things we may want to keep doing.
    a note on time in general- our lives are so fleeting! I think the Buddha had some pretty good insight on this. We're just aggregates- the things that make us up at one moment may be totally different the next time we pay attention.
    and yet we have just enough consistency, I guess. You and I still spend way too much time writing our lives into cyberspace :-)

  3. Traci,

    I read your post the other day and proceeded to tear my apartment apart to find my letter. I found the letter you wrote with it, as well as the letter you wrote the day after we got our frosh letters and gave to me on graduation. I almost cried... It's weird how long ago all of that seems now, but when I read your letters, I remembered everything clear as day.
    Let's be sure our paths cross more often! This huge distance doesn't help at all. I miss you so much.

    Love, Amanda

    ps: I'm totally gonna sing at your wedding.