FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: What Would Surprise Kid-You About Adult-You?

Hello, pals, buddies, folks, and friends of all persuasions! This is your weekly Friday Open Thread and I’m your word jockey at the helm this week, and I want to hear from you. Yes, you. (Also, by the way, your hair looks stellar and we can talk about that too.)

What struck me this week, other than bird shit while I was out hiking, was how teenage or kid Me would think about current Me, and how I’m living my life. When I was a kid I was Very Sure that I’d be isolated in my gayness FoReVeR. It was scary and sad, and my teen angst really brought that to full bore. I couldn’t see a life for myself that didn’t include pain or exclusion.

Fast-forward to today, when I’m taking half-days off from work to romance outdoorsy women in the wilds of Northwest Montana, or walking around with a short haircut and in pants and not being afraid of the possibility that someone might say something about me or how I look.

Kid Me wouldn’t understand that confidence, or the emotional evolution it took to get me here – the Place of Giving No Fucks – but she definitely would’ve liked Adult Me because I’ve somehow become a calm, chill, kind presence who is also authentically herself, and that is not what I thought I’d ever be allowed to be.

And to be fair, Teenage Me would be stoked I get to make out with babes, and Kid Me would be thrilled that I have a dog and a car and an apartment and the freedom to go anywhere I want and not have to tell anyone. Also, every time I have cake for dinner, Kid Me gets her wings.

Both versions of my younger self would be absolutely surprised to know I don’t drink alcohol, and sadly, Teenage Me would disapprove of that plan.

(Neither Kid nor Teenage Me would approve of my current appreciation for Brussels sprouts, either.)

What about you? What would Kid You and Teenage You think about Current You? What ways have you grown that you expected, and what surprises you about yourself now?

TELL ME. You are all such interesting creatures, give me your stories.


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Molly Priddy is a writer and editor in Northwest Montana. Follow her on Twitter: @mollypriddy

Molly has written 43 articles for us.

108 Comments

  1. Happy Friday! Hmmmm, kid-me would be shocked that there is actually a word for what she was feeling (and something one could do about being transgender). Teenage-me would be lashing out because of jealousy and trying to deny that I have anything to do with her to avoid admitting that she’s trans*. Both would be incredibly stunned at the fact that I can, in fact, pass math classes and that I’m about 20 credit hours from receiving a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics. Teenage-me would also be very shocked that I’m still alive (when I was 18, I was convinced I would be dead by 30).

  2. This may sound pretentious, but I don’t think kid-me would be surprised by the way adult-me has turned out. I remember kid-me wanting two things: to get a tattoo for my 18th birthday and to move to England. I did both. Kid-me might be disappointed that living in England wasn’t the magic fairy tale she had imagined. But I’m pretty damn impressed that I accomplished that childhood wish. Kid-me might also be disappointed that I moved back to my hometown rather than living in an apartment in a cool city. But kid-me would be happy to know that I own both a home and a cat and get to be out and proud in my every day life. Kid-me couldn’t have asked for more than that.

  3. Kid me would be surprised:
    -that we got the curly hair situation under control (that there were in fact other solutions besides brushing it out dry ~ shudder ~ and dunking it in gel which isn’t really a solution at all)
    -that adult me can pitch a tent and start a fire and loves nature
    -that the stomach-flipping, sweaty-palmed, mildly obsessed reaction to uma thurman’s yellow jumpsuit poster for kill bill in a blockbusters would actually become a thing (the swooning, not blockbusters — RIP.)

  4. Kid me had so many friends. Everyone was literally my friend. Teenage me was more selective but still had lots of friends.
    Adult me? I have little to no physical friends except for online friends. LOL.
    I’m now someone who is obsessed with my personal space. Kid me will definitely not like me.

  5. I think kid me would be surprised that I chose STEM as a career and that I love Maths now and eventually got really good at it, that I took Spanish to University Level when it wasn’t even something I initially chose to learn (I really wanted to learn German but that class was full and I started secondary school (UK) late), I think that young teen me (I’m twenty in May) would be surprised that I would ever move back to Iceland where I was born.

    I hope kid me would be happy that I never stopped drawing or writing, and I think I’m proud of kid me for doing those things at all, even if it meant that she wasn’t popular because of it. I’m currently writing a novel in my spare time (It’s pretty terrible but it’s still 40,000 words that are mine) and that I paint beautiful things when I’m not working on my degree.

    I think teen me would be glad I don’t drink, because even then she knew I would only be pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I don’t know if kid me would be surprised that I’m a lesbian, given how much of a tomboy she was.

    I think mid teens me would be surprised at how good her life is becoming, because mid teens me was a desperately restless person. The restlessness hasn’t gone away, but I know I’m still young, and I know how to use it now to never stop learning, writing, painting, walking.

    • God I’m such a restless person too, it’s the best and worst thing about me.

      Love that ‘but it’s still 40,000 words that are mine’ – when I finally started to see writing that way it became so much more enjoyable and I improved so much.

  6. Kid me and adult me would hang and teenage me would go off in a strop that we were leaving her out (she’s very sensitive). Kid me would love that I’m into climbing trees and hiking and wouldn’t give a fuck I’m gay. Teenage me on the other hand would probably resent both of those things quite a lot.

      • So true. I didn’t really realize it until thinking about my response to this thread and yeah, I’m pretty much who I was as a kid. I’ve reclaimed a lot of things that kid me loved but teen me discarded. Teen me was this weird alien who was so shut down and fucked up that I didn’t even realize I was fucked up.

  7. Kid!Me would be impressed by my career (publishing! What I always dreamed!), but probably stunned by all the women I date. I grew up thinking I was going to just be a late-blooming straight person, but it turned out I was just a repressed bisexual!

    Teen!Me should look at all the therapy I’m STILL in for the eating disorder she started and get her life together.

    Both Kid!Me and Teen!Me would be wildlyyyy impressed by my sturdy and supportive friend group.

  8. Kid!Me would be surprised that I turned out not to actually want a marriage and kids, because she fantasised about getting married in St Pauls Cathedral (not realising how wildly impossible that is!).

    Teenage!Me would be glad I’m happier in who I am and uncaring of my not being normal.

    Twenties!Me would be glad that I realised I don’t have to have a partner/relationship if I don’t want to.

    All of me is disappointed I can’t have a pet cat or two.

  9. Kid me was this tiny ball of social energy who had fierce confidence (seriously. once my mom took my brother and I to a family friend’s bbq/pool party and I ran by in my favorite red, white, and blue suit having a blast and the lady turns to my mom and says ‘wow she’s getting a belly huh? I didn’t even stop. Just kept on laughing and barreling to the pool. then i devoured more ice cream. i wish that confidence stuck through teenage hood but alas) and dreamed of being a vet or saving the world in some way. Teenage me became more withdrawn and scared and timid but that passion was still there. But then I kinda fell off the ‘save the world. get great grades’ wagon and started doing not great things. Rebel rebel. I think teenage me really just wanted to survive (except for the days when teenage me didn’t want to survive), and that became the main goal.
    Adult me is working a job she loves and it took a little wiggling to get here but I’m here. It’s not vet work (i found out science and math don’t agree with me but reading and writing and all the books and research are my total jam), but I am in a library and I think that’s a version of saving the world. And some of that confidence has returned. I got hit with some illnesses that will never go away, but I’m powering forward and I want to survive it all. I got big plans and I feel like little me again, dreaming huge and actively working for those goals. So I think little me and kinda little me would be proud of slightly bigger me. I think they’d be cheering for me and how far we’ve all come. I think they’d also be a tad sad that bad stuff doesn’t just disappear and instead kinda haunts the body for a long long time. But hey the cats and girlfriend we now have help with all of that!
    Also, kid me and teenage me would sob to hear that I’m now allergic to milk sooo chocolate ice cream is a no go. Also teenage me would be super surprised I don’t drink anymore. But teenage me should suck it because I’m learning, finally, how to cope well! Yay! Happy Friday, butter beans!

  10. KidMe would love that I am a mom, homeowner, and kitty cat owner, but would be disappointed that I live in New England, even in the winter. TeenMe would be psyched and impressed that I am living in a queer haven, but would also roll her eyes about me living *themost* vanilla life. I would tell KidMe: learn how to get organized and practice your homework skillz – your brain is a sponge and it will be harder to pick up later. I would tell TeenMe to chill out, it does get better – in a few short years you can be as out as you wanna be and nobody’s going to bat an eye about it.

  11. To divert a little from the topic at hand.

    20gayteen is really working. What do you call it when straight women start to fancy gay sex?

    These are quotes from Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz on Disobedience which comes out today. One says the gay sex scene was the best in her career while the other says she is tired of heterosexual sex. LMFAO! I am loving this 20gayteen. The gay shit is really intense.

    McAdams: “There was energy to that scene that I haven’t experienced in any other sex scenes [with men] in my career. There was camaraderie to it. We both felt safe and free. All those things that you love about being a woman, you get to be with [in the scene].”

    Weisz: “It can just get really boring watching heterosexual people, whether you’re gay or not. (…) particularly when the woman is the object of desire rather than the agent of desire. That’s what we’ve been spoon-fed. Oh, I’m bored of that.”

    Sis, we been knew all along. You are finally just seeing it.

  12. This feels a little on-the-nose as a discussion, because I’ve been working so hard to get into touch with kid-me lately. But, I know a few things. Kid-me would be ASTONISHED and thrilled to see me femme-ing it up regularly, in bold lipsticks that take no prisoners. I think she’d also be charmed by the idea of me living in the big city, working on a graduate degree and having made lots of perfect friends here.

    Teen-me would probably hyperventilate if she saw any damn thing I was doing (particularly the hanging at gay bars and polyamory bit), but I would just tell her to calm down and self-reflect a wee bit more. But, Teen-me would approve of spending all my disposable income on books!

  13. Kid Me would be so proud of the fact that I spend a lot of time writing about food, and writing papers like the one I’m working on now, which is a few short book reviews of queer food writing as if they are recommendations for Cookie Monster to read in relation to his new book. Kid Me would be so happy that I live alone and have such lovely friends and can eat ice cream whenever!
    Teen Me would be incredibly jealous and bitter that they are having to deal with so much bullshit and they don’t see anyway out of it. They would also be very surprised that our life long best friend is about to get married in two days!!!

  14. Ooooh, I like this.

    Kid!Me was always independent. Didn’t really care about what others thought of her. She’d be thrilled to know that I – mostly – feel the same way. Kid!Me would be confused that I like to exercise when I can…but happy that I still play video games and that I’m a super nerd hah.

    Teenager!Me wanted nothing more than to be a news anchor. While she would be sad to know that I am not doing that, she would be proud of me for standing up to the ridiculous beauty standards that come with being a woman on TV. And she would be happy that I’m using my platform to give back. Both kid and teenage me love that I still read for fun.

    Kid!Me, Teenager!Me, Current!Me, and Future!Me are all shocked that I’ve had a partner for almost three years. Love was never in the picture growing up. I had a boyfriend in high school just to say I did, but he broke up with me in part because I wouldn’t kiss him (hmm…wonder why…). And I’ve had so many unrequited crushes – both straight and otherwise – since I came out that I didn’t think it was in the cards for me…until now. 🙂

    No one is shocked, however, that I still don’t have my drivers license (but props on the progress!). Public transportation 4 lyfe apparently.

    And finally…teenager!me is not surprised in the slightest that her younger sister was the first of her siblings to have children, though I love those kids like they’re my own.

  15. KidMe would be very confused by the fact that I’m a girl, but would probably think what I’m doing with my life (astrobiology) is indescribably awesome.

    TeenMe would be freaked out by the fact that I’m a girl (there was a *lot* of denial), but possibly more surprised by the fact that my PhD is largely based around mathematical modeling (I *hated* math at that age), or the fact that I wound up living in Arizona (I’m not too keen on heat, either). He would also have been boggled by the fact that I now sing in a chorus, and even more boggled by the fact that my hobbies now include burlesque dancing.

  16. As a kid, I really thought that by 29 I would be WAY more established in every aspect of my life…

    -Probably married (to that nondescript, hypothetical man that I didn’t really want but was obviously part of the equqation, right?)

    -Having kids (which I still waffle on all the time… my whole life I have wanted kids, but do I REALLY?)

    -Working in the field I studied (lol, no) and making enough money to live without financial burden (lololol)

    But the VERY COOL thing about all of this is that my life is pretty awesome even though I’m not adhering to every little thing that my childhood self expected. In fact, I’m better off in a lot of ways.

    Kid-Me expected the kind of life that’s steeped in heteronormativity and while there’s nothing *wrong* with that life, it’s cool to understand that there are so many beautiful ways to live that aren’t exactly *that* and that I get to choose whatever I want.

    [litte-kid-me also referred to girl’s private parts as a “front butt”, so clearly I had no clue what the fuck was going on]

  17. Kid me would be pleasantly surprised to see that I finally became a zookeeper. She’d be mortified that I do regular animal talks on the mic and that I find talking to large crowds something I really enjoy because kid-me could barely sing in a choir until high school. Kid-me would also be happy to find out that I’m also hella queer and realize all of those girl-crushes actually meant something!

  18. Kid me would be shocked that I am married, thrilled that I’m not poor, and very confused by the fact that I don’t really like people very much anymore.
    Teen me would be amazed that I’m still alive, disappointed that I don’t have a commune/farm yet, and I think she would wonder for a second about the whole queer non-monogamous thing, and then be like “yeah no that makes sense”.

  19. Kid me would be pretty proud of me, as kid me was way more woke than teenage me.

    Teenage me would be shocked to her core, sulk in a corner, then would secretly want to know what having a wife is like. (It’s rad, teenage me. We get to kiss.)

  20. Kid me would be surprised that I was living in a house, but love that it’s green and purple and fuchsia.

    Kid me would love that I have danced on stage but be surprised that it was burlesque.

    Both would be surprised that I married a woman, but unsurprised that it was in a thrift store green silk coat, and “planned” a few days earlier.

    Both wouldn’t understand that I had my dream job (working in the costume dept of the RSC) and that I would end up having a happier experience in retail. They would be extremely unimpressed and teenage me would probably write opaque poetry about it, and think it was deep and meaningful (dear reader, it wouldn’t be).

  21. I am getting a bit of deja vu with this topic. I think kid me would be surprised all my ideas of gender have changed, and the fact I work with in the perfume market. I would have thought I’d be building & selling computers or working an office job somewhere. Pretty much now a queer and borderline useless(I’m sure a few can relate).

    How is everyone’s week going? Anyone else think about the woman they are in a relationship most of week? I’ve also been thinking that I am possibly open to the idea of non-monogamy. It’s kind of refreshing, because I dreamed the other night her and I had a place together and we talking about our respective dates we had that night and happy it went well for each other right before we cuddled to sleep. Which now has me wondering how do I ask her to be one of partner(right now we are defining it as seeing each other when asked, but I want it to be a bit more intimate in words form if that makes sense)? I also might be seeing a woman(also non-monogamous) this or next week who complimented my lipstick choice online(felt nice) and it went from there. This would be another thing that would surprise me as a kid(though kid me also was never the type to like the idea of need a license to be married).

    I spent most of my Sunday home watching tv and in thought. Didn’t get to be in nature as plans changed but did see a spring flower in the back yard(snot Fuji colors so it came out a bit soft).

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

  22. My ability to communicate how I feel and even know what I feel would have been unimaginable to kid or teen me since that was pre-therapy. And Minnesota, where I live now, wasn’t even on my mental map til my 20s. One of the biggest surprises is that I like people way more than kid or teen me could have imagined. It just took awhile to find ones I liked

  23. Kid Me would be shocked that I survived. And sadly, wonder what the point was. Teenage me would be impressed that I no longer feared hell. She would be impressed that I was living my own life because she didn’t know there was actually a choice. But she would be disappointed that I don’t party anymore. But me kissing girls would make up for it. They would be absolutely thrilled that I have friends who love and care about me. That the people in my life would respect me. They would be absolutely thrilled that I spend so much time outdoors doing the things I always dreamed of doing when I was a kid. The kid who hid in the woods would be so excited her adult self would explore mountains, rivers, oceans, and valleys with those friends that love and care about her. Shocked that I baked cakes and made pretty things for a living.

  24. 12 year old me would be surprised I wear make up and that I haven’t done the dating thing. She’d also be HORRIFIED that I’m not obsessed with anime (I watch the odd series very now and then) or that I listen to *gasp* music that isn’t from an anime??? I’m not such a picky eater; younger me wouldn’t have gone near mushrooms, eggs or spinach.

    She’d also be surprised that I didn’t have a “super cool” uni experience or that I didn’t immediately have a job after uni. She would however be impressed that I have 2 manuscripts for novels, rather than waiting until I was married with kids 😂

    She’d also be impressed that I managed to get through 2 interviews today (despite major technical difficulties with the 2nd one)

  25. Kid/teenage me would be weirded out that I managed to become an adult at all. I never pictured that. Just some vast emptiness that I was suppose to fall into at some point. There is still the sense of foreshortened future which is something that is hard to deal with when you’re trying to plan ahead, but a sense of foreshortened future sure beats having no future.
    Kid me would be shocked that I train sports and am in shape, because my kid shape was one of an uncooked shrimp. Kid/teenage me would also be shocked to know that I have a wife, we own an apartment, I have a nice job and good friends and get to spend my free time doing what I want. If I want to spend a whole weekend playing board games or go to the gym at 6 am I will. My pop culture obsessed younger-self would be surprised to know that to make a relationship work longterm you don’t just need love and passion but to work well as a team. We make cleaning schedules, buy groceries, compare electric cars to find a ‘family car’. Kid/teenage me would be happy to know that I still write and that I have found new subjects and explored beyond my original form of doom and gloom.
    Adult life is not what I expected, yet I expected nothing because I didn’t think there would be such a thing as adult life for me. It is as scary as it is exhilarating and sometimes I wish I could have an extra compartment, clamped outside of my body just to fit all the love that I have for it.

  26. Web design didn’t exist when I graduated in 1987 so both teen and kid me would be confused about my current occupation.

    Kid me would be pretty impressed with my adult life, I think – as an adult, I reclaimed a lot of things that I loved as a kid but gave up as a teen. I like to think that she’d be impressed with my in-home art studio and art supplies and that I’ve shown my sculptures in a few local galleries. She’d love that I live in Chicago 2 blocks from Lake Michigan and that I can walk along the beach and pick up pretty stones WHENEVER I WANT TO (which is pretty damn often). She’d definitely approve of me moving to Chicago to be closer to my Gram (who died many years ago now). And she’d like that I volunteer with my local park district and am involved in starting a nature center in my neighborhood – I had my own mini natural science museum in my childhood bedroom. And I that I had two cats – because I really loved cats but had to make do with pet sitting the neighbors’ cats because my mom didn’t like pets – but she’d be sad they both died last year (so am I kid, so am I). And kid me would LOVE that my little brother has two kids that I’m close to – an older girl and a younger boy, exactly the same number of years apart that my brother and I are.

    I spent a lot of my teen years actively or passively ignoring things that are now important parts of my life, so I’m not sure what teen me would make of my life now. I was in denial about being into girls as well as boys – and now I’m openly bi. I was also in denial about being a survivor of CSA and I was really afraid of boys and sex, but not in a way that I could have articulated at the time. I like to think that teen me would be impressed with my commitment to healing and hard work to become comfortable with myself and my body and sex and intimacy. But she might also be dismayed by how damn hard I still have to work at some things. And I know that teen me would be shocked that I married a man, a loving partner who sees my beauty and my crazy and loves all of it.

  27. Kid me would be disappointed that I’m not an archaeologist or some sort of academic involving history, that I still have no degree, go to community college not a “real” college and didn’t graduate high school with honors or as valedictorian.
    Frankly kid me was kind of an uptight bitch when they weren’t terribly sad or angry.

    Teenage me has to be divided up into about 3 parts, but I think all parts would be surprised I’m still alive which is a thing that is also in parts.

    I’m going to tell you the funny one, for a bit it seemed like the grim reaper was after my ass cause I had some Final Destination near misses. One of which involved sour straws.

    I think all 3 parts of Teen Me and Kid Me would be surprised how good at cooking and baking I am.

    There was a popcorn burning incident that sent a pot to dad’s garage to be cleaned possibly with pain thinner. Older me finds it funny but kid me feared a whoopin, was also upset out of perfectionist tendencies and didn’t mess with stoves until after I had experience soldering with torch(as in foom fire). Then there was the Bread Knife Incident which left me with a cool witchy looking crescent moon scar but a fear of cutting stuff up beyond food on my plate

    Part III Teen Me would be surprised just how far we took this cooking and baking thing beyond just the basics and how good we are at it.
    This week I made jambalaya from scratch, last week I made up a new dish and winged it the whole way thru. Like yeah I’m sure there’s probs an official name for what I did but I don’t know it and made it 100% flying solo.

    What surprises me about me now is how “calm” I can be when everything’s falling down around me, how I can find reasons to go on even when I feel hopeless. How not angry of a person I am, that the rage gentled but the fire hasn’t gone out. It’s never going to not surprise me how rage isn’t what keeps me alive and going.

    Parts I & II teen me would think I’m a wuss, that I’m weak but fuck that I’m alive that’s more important then being “tough”

    Ooh one last one Kid Me would be aghast at how much I swear and how sloppy my dancing is.

    I haven’t grown in any of the ways I expected at all and sure that’s not hard when you didn’t expect to grow because embalmed corpses or ashes don’t grow but my omelette was very tasty.
    Feta cheese and spinach with garlic powder and cumin.

    • My kid me hears your kid me and is all agreements. How did we end up being good at cooking and baking? How did we not end up doing history related academia?

      Have you ever tried your hand at historical baking? It’s pretty good fun trying to suss out old recipes. Makes the kid me happy and it involves eating things…And! Anyone who could potentially tell you that you did it wrong? Dead for centuries.

      • Not yet really.

        I DO so want to try historical bread making someday tho, love kneading bread. And uh for me making jambalaya is a way of connecting with history and family because I’m of Cajun and Creole descent even if I didn’t make the stock myself like someone would have in the past. Especially since my granfather has passed on. Languages can decline or die but cooking styles outlive them.

        The Sicilian side we do use a historical recipe for cucidati that was passed down from my great-grandmother to her daughters and then theirs one of which is a pharmacist who wrote it down proper and quantified it into modern measurements. Just we use modern machinery where applicable to help it along as the younger half of that side is busy and not often available for long stretches of time and we dole out the finished product by poundage.

        That’s just too much stuff for 60+ folks to do by hand, and I’ve only got two hands. One of the cousins is early 30s and he can do the two handing kneading thing like me and that is not enough.

        Cucidati if you don’t know what that if it’s a fig cookie made of a kind of sweet dough with a fig based filling but there’s plenty of other fruits and stuff in it. I’ve never made the filling before so I can’t explain it that well.
        The dough is formed into a flat strip about 4 inches across, then this hideous looking fruit sausage is laid in the center, wrapped and gently pressed into shape, then vented by cutting slits into the sides and top.
        Sometimes one of the family will do a fancy one like the one’s you find on a St. Joseph’s altar as we come to the end of cookie weekend. Cut a design into it or make a little wreathe style one.

        I have half assedly followed an 18th century fried chicken recipe once, marinated it in lemon a bit before frying cause I’m ho for lemon not cause my chicken was tough.

        But I no do not want try cooking over a fire place or historical fire pit in historical garb ever. There’s a genealogist in the family and he found several ancestors died because they caught fire while cooking. Either from the burns days later or the day of from being a human bonfire that didn’t get dowsed. There’s opportunities to see people doing historical cooking in historical both in New Orleans and in Cajun country I don’t need to try it unless maybe I could be permitted to use their stuff in while wearing my jewelry fabrication gear.

        Ooh and part of the sussing would involve figuring out how to get the right temp from a wussy modern oven. Every thing is wussy once you’ve used a kiln at almost 900 centigrade come to think of it.

      • Thank you!
        I been trying to make uh potato kookoo as a giant egg potato monster the way tortilla de papas is instead of lil spiced latkes or a frigging quiche with some potato in it.

        I don’t know what is with British culinary anything but they seem to want to make a quiche out of everything especially when they could just let it be an omelette instead. Their sweets make sense when one considers how nice they are with a cuppa.

        Anyway all attempts have been tasty just not structurally sound. Had one for of them dinner and 2 breakfasts.
        So um thanks for mentioning “persian latkes” that one time in December 2017.

  28. kid!me would be really happy with where i am but super bummed that i’m not an astronaut. she’d be super pleased that sally ride was a space queer tho, that was a goal of ours.

    teenage!me would be kinda freaked out about my academic career, tbh, and how much less emphasis i put on getting perfect grades and being The Smartest One And Therefore The Best. worked through that intellectual elitism pretty efficiently in the start of undergrad.

    they’d both be in awe that i managed to kiss two (2) and date one (1) girl but also like “ok if we’re finally comfortable being bi can we kiss more girls” and adult me is right there with them

  29. I think kid me would be very weirded out by my being a gigantic lesbian. To explain, I would sit her down, and we would watch the Fellowship of the Ring, Carol, and Thor: Ragnarok until she’d seen Cate Blanchett looking heart-rendingly stunning enough for everything to click into place.

  30. Kid Me would be stoked that I have a cool dog and am really good at cooking. I started baking when I was a tween, and Tween Me would be very pleased with the progress I’ve made. Kid Me might be disappointed that I’m not a brain surgeon, but hopefully ok with me being a historian and reading dead people’s mail all the time.

    Teen Me would be very disappointed that I’m no longer emo. Like, crushed? And also disappointed that I don’t wear make up. But I think Teen Me would be relieved that I finally figured out I am bi, and things would make a lot more sense.

  31. Kid me would be surprised that I’m not a forever mama yet. Teen me would be please that her vision of having two little girls came true, at least for a while. Grown up me is still surprised by some of the dynamics of my marriage.

  32. Kid me would approve of my continued commitment to writing and the environment, but probably mad that I haven’t overachieved to the unrealistic level to which I once held myself. Teenage me would probably be really irritated that I am now less likely to argue social issues with the people around me, and disappointed that I haven’t yet managed to get a replacement queer circle of friends since moving cities.
    Teen me would be stoked that I ended up dating one of the girls from our group, but disappointed that it didn’t last; kid me would probably just be cynical re. the inevitability of breaking up, and wonder why we bothered to get attached. Kid me was pretty bleak, but the idea I’d turn out attracted to women would always have seemed plausible. Enough people commented on my non-feminine self-presentation for that link to get through.

  33. Oh my. Kid!Me would be shocked and stunned that Adult!Me has friends, that I’m not unattractive, and that I actually want and like to be in charge of things. But maybe mostly that I’m finishing my undergrad and I’m pulling good marks because I put effort into it, and results come out. I’m not stupid; I just didn’t know how to try.

  34. Kid me and teen me were oblivious to my sexuality, but once I told them, they’d be like, “… Yeah. That checks out.”

    Kid me used to say I was never going to move out of my parents’ house, so she’d be pretty shocked that I like half a continent away from them. Teen me, on the other hand, would be thrilled.

    If teenage me knew that I’d be chronically ill by my mid-twenties, maybe she’d have traveled more. Though, given how anxious we are, I think she did a pretty good job of exploring new places. I’m envious of her… It’s been a bit of a rough week, and I’m just really wishing I could be outside more and out doing more things instead of (much as I love Autostraddle) spending my Friday night reading the open thread because I’m too tired to be anywhere besides my comfy chair.

    Grateful for the community here, and wishing you all a good weekend <3

  35. Man, so many things

    Younger me would be shocked that I’m gay and living a very out life, because wow did that realization hit hard at 22

    Kid me would be surprised that I’m not a rich pharmacist in the Peace Corps, but turns out college was hard and loans are the worst. But I do live in a city and have a cool downtown apartment, so I’d be happy about that.

    I’d also be surprised that I learned to embrace my curly hair and no longer want to get it professionally straightened

    Now if only 40 year old me could come tell 26 year old me some things to expect, that’d be helpful!

  36. Kid me would be astounded that I’ve made writing my career. She’d be horrified that I’ve decided I don’t want children though. Teen me would honestly be so happy and relieved. I can be a huge queer and a huge nerd and have friends and an amazing partner. I am so free to be myself and just exist in a way I never thought I’d be able to be. I’m not the married to a man, mother of two kids university professor I always promised to be and the world didn’t end when that dream did.

  37. KidMe would be surprised that tree climbing leads to sore muscles now, and why didn’t we become a private investigator?
    TeenMe wouldn’t believe that this straight crush could ever go away and that there‘d be a perfect queer woman waiting for us in a much bigger city.

  38. KidMe would be surprised that I’m alive, because when I was little I knew a lot about my own death with absolute certainty and I just assumed that it was direct vision of the future. She’d also be disappointed about not being a fighter pilot or some other kind of “hero”, and also being married, because love is dumb and not something you have time for when you’re going to die young.

    TeenMe would feel validated by my sartorial choices, so don’t tell her I stopped wearing black for a while so people would treat me better. She’d be so happy I changed by name, and that I’m still “into the occult” and that there’s a word for my sexuality and that coming out wasn’t the end of the world, and since I’ve had a crush on my partner since we were 15, she’d also approve of my marriage. She’d be disappointed that I’m not more prolific as a journalist (and so is AdultMe, but paying corporate gigs put food on the table, and pitches take time away from that).

  39. i think about this all the time and it gives me this hard to describe feelings cocktail of pride and…. something between regret and nostalgia. i just wish so bad that kid me and teenage me could meet adult me. i struggled so hard with my queerness and feeling so different from everyone else, and i didn’t know any adults like who i am now. not only would kid and teenage me be shocked and excited about the life i’ve grown into, which is basically all my deepest dreams that i thought were impossible, they would be excited that ANY adult like me exists. I never had a “ring of keys” moment as a kid.

    kid and teenage me would be surprised at some of the choices i’ve made, like staying in the south rather than moving away to new york or california. but they would be so stoked about the travel i’ve done, and all the shows i’ve been to. and they would be stoked to see the political work i’m doing. and most importantly i think kid and teenage me would be shocked and affirmed to see how damn queer i am as an adult, that not only have i survived but i’ve come to embrace the parts of myself i was so scared of and those are in fact now my favorite parts.

    this kind of thought is actually one of the reasons i’m still in the south. because i think if i had seen someone like me as a kid, and known that my life wouldn’t end but in fact would bet a million times better after i started living my queer truth, things would have been maybe a little easier, maybe a little better, and maybe i would have felt a little less alone

    • There is definitely something powerful about choosing to be visable in our home communities. For me I moved back to my home town and love that I can be weird and model an alternative way of living consciensciely.

  40. oh also kid me would be so excited that i not only didn’t start conforming to gender rules but that i started bending them even more and that i figured out how to wear a dress with sneakers and that i look good in a suit….. the clothes i wear now are basically what i wanted to wear when i was 13 but couldn’t quite figure it out

  41. Kid Me would probably be really surprised that all those older women (ex. camp counsellors) I just “really admired” were actually signs I was super super queer. Also Kid Me would be proud of me for (finally!) taking the steps to change my name after longing for something more neutral since I was like 7. Teen Me would probably not be surprised at anything and would probably smack me and say “of course you’re not straight or cis you idiot, we could’ve told you that”. Ah well, live and learn!

  42. Hmm, Kid!Me would resent that I feel too foolish to climb trees in public anymore, even though Current!Me still yearns to from time to time.

    Teen!Me would be thrilled to learn that there are actually girls out there who like you back, and who aren’t just experimenting or taking advantage of your baby-gay heart. Teen!Me would also be overjoyed to learn that I stop dating the most effeminate guy in school and come out already! Teen!Me would wish I’d have done so sooner (I’m with you Teen!Me.).

    Kid!Me and Teen!Me would both be relieved (but totally not surprised) that I #madeitout . I’ve always had an intense drive to make it out of poverty, to get educated, and to do something important with my life. I think Teen!Me would wish Current!Me were making more money at this point (Again, I’m with you, Teen!Me. We have so much in common!), but still be really impressed with what Current!Me has already done, career- and education-wise.

    Teen!Me will be shocked to learn that Current!Me is actually LESS confident that Teen!Me was, but tbh, Teen!Me, you needed to take it down a notch. Chill.

    • My mom in her late 50s climbed my tree with a saw to help cut down a branch. It’s not too late for the tree climbing! Even if you take off some years, as long as you still have some stability it’s not too late! I had a little old lady friend who in her late 70s finally decided she shouldn’t climb ladders and clean out the leaves from her gutters. Up until that point she was still climbing up regularly for house maintenance. Kick ass old ladies rock!!!

  43. Kid me would be really disappointed in how much pink I’ve re-incorporated into my wardrobe, thanks to a long-held grudge from ages 4-16 that began with my mom telling me I couldn’t leave the house in an all-pink outfit of my own design. (Pink t-shirt, pink denim skort, pink socks, pink headband and scrunchie, and white-and-pink sneakers, all in varying shades. I still maintain that it was a #look.) Kid me would be really proud of me for being officially vegetarian and being able to get out of eating meat when my mom cooks for me, but wary of the fact I actually like veggies.
    Teen me would also be disappointed in how much pink I wear (and the fact I’ve re-grown my hair), although more because of gender presentation and a superficial understanding of what it meant to be queer/nb. They’d also be disappointed to learn that I’m not w/ my ex anymore, although I’d like to think they’d be understanding about it. They’d be pretty pumped to learn I’m living in Spain, and would be suuuuper proud of the friend group I’ve constructed. The jury’s out on what I’d think of my substance habits, though. A mix of awe and disappointment, probably. (Definitely disappointment re: cigarettes.)

  44. Kid me would be disappointed that I am not a famous/rich musician and horrified that I am married. (Look, kid me. I know this is hard to hear, but we can’t sing well! Ok?) As a kid, I thought getting married was a dumb idea. I think if I explained to kid me that marrying another woman was an option, she’d probably get why I would change my mind about marriage, though.

    Early-teen me would also be surprised that I’m married, because marrying a woman didn’t even seem like a remote possibility at the time. Queer ladies weren’t super visible where I’m from, and being gay was definitely not a good thing according to the adults in my parents’ evangelical circles. Queer ladies were more of an abstract idea. “Being a lesbian? That’s for people in big cities on the coasts,” I would say. “Might as well be on Mars!” Early teen me would be initially SHOCKED to find that I am one of those queer identified folks, despite all of my middle school and high school crushes on other girls.

    Late-teen me would be surprised at how much calmer and more confident I am in general, and that I’m actually really happy with my life. I don’t think either teen me would be too surprised about my career path (I work in the labor movement), considering I wore a free-pile International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers t-shirt basically every day my senior year of high school. Late-teen me WOULD probably judge me for not shopping at thrift stores anymore. (Bed bugs are REAL, late-teen me!)

  45. Kid me would probably go crazy over the fact that I have so many gadgets and games at home. Then freak out over my boobs and new name. Teen me would probably be petty and jealous over my new wardrobe and look (tired femme aesthetic forever). I’d probably have to calm myself down several times and tell myself how I realized I was trans. But I like to think that kid me would be more accepting than teen me, and probably not take the news too hard. I could probably tell myself a few things to calm teen me too. Teen me was angsty and rebellious and would probably be mad I am not still trying to have a career in politics.

    Though teen me would be impressed at how much I’ve been romancing pretty ladies. And I could probably convince myself that being a kickass nerdy trans lesbian is pretty awesome.

    “Hey teen me, you ever wonder why you only fantasized about not just having sex with women but having sex with women as a woman? You’re gay and trans, deal with it.”

    I think everything else would just lead to amazement and time paradox creation so I’ll just stop by now.

  46. KidMe would think that getting to work with books all day is fucking magical and she’d be right because it is. She’d also be super jazzed that I live in the city and I’m not married to a boring guy (of course he’d be boring, she thinks all guys are boring) and I can eat cake for dinner any time that I want. She’d be surprised that not going to church is an option, she can’t imagine life without it. It’s better this way, Kid Me. I promise. It’s better.

    TeenMe would completely reject the idea that I’m not performing on Broadway or the Metropolitan Opera. She’d be pissed. She’d be heartbroken. She’d call me a sellout for wanting a steady paycheck and health insurance. However, I think learning that kissing girls is a life option would make up for it. She’d be stunned to know I have a group of chosen family who care about me and support me in healthy ways. She doesn’t even know what that looks like, let alone that she deserves to have it. She’d probably think I could have avoided taking EVERY detour on this highway called life, but I think once I introduced her to Buffy she’d come around.

  47. i think there’s very little about adult me that would surprise kid me. i grew up to be a bookish tomboy with a bossy streak and a deep, abiding love for above-grade-level reading and gardening, which is basically what i was when i was eight. i spend all my time with english professors so i’m surrounded by very brilliant and witty older women, which is all i wanted when i was eight. people recognize my intelligence as an adult and i rarely feel like my gifts and talents go unnoticed, unappreciated, or unrewarded, which would make eight-year-old me feel vindicated. kid me would be slightly upset that i gave up on being an astronaut. kid me would be relatively unfazed that i kiss women and think it was pretty neat.
    teenage me would be upset that i ditched my plans of law school to be an english professor. she’d be surprised that i no longer wear makeup and sometimes go braless in public, and that i wear broken-in old jeans and birkenstocks like my mother where people can see me. she’d be relieved that i don’t fixate obsessively on my body. i think she would be more shocked than kid me about the woman-kissing thing.
    i recognize quite a bit of myself in my young self and very little in my teenage self. eight-year-old girls are free and unselfconscious in a way that 16-year-old girls aren’t, and when i look back at my high-school self — makeup and push-up bras and a boyfriend, painfully affected and extremely conscious of the carefully constructed personality i was performing, desperate for approval — i see a person that only vaguely resembles the person i am now. but little me is so much like grown-up me, from the superficial things like sense of style and music taste to the things like my profound affection for the company of women and my desire for people to know me by my intellect, for my brainpower to be my claim to fame. that kid is so much like the adult i am now, which i think means that this is how i’m supposed to be.

  48. Kid me would probably be pretty ecstatic about adult me. A whole lot of the stuff I wanted to do as a kid didn’t disappeared. It just got filtered into a more realistic version of itself. Totally wanted to be an inventor as a kid, and now I’m studying to become a software developer!

  49. Pretty sure kid me would tell me I needed Jesus and that I was going to Hell, because I accepted everything in black and white back then.

    By late teens, I think the teen me would be initially horrified, but after a long, personal talk, might be able to accept that we’re queer and trans. I mean they’d always wanted to just… be able to switch bodies like some sci-fi premise. Other than religion, we’d still have everything else in common. All the same interests. The same aspirations, fantasies, hopes and dreams. If they could see past their religious indoctrination and accept their parents were abusive, we’d probably get along well.

  50. Kid-Me would be over-the-moon that I’m studying at a great school (and near SF), playing in a wild marching band, and preparing to work on my first archaeological excavation in Peru. I’m not sure if she would be glad or disappointed to see that I still dress the same, just with fewer polo shirts. She would love my suits though. (I’ve been saying I’d get married in a suit since I was eight or nine.) Kid-Me didn’t know that homosexuality exists, so she’d be initially surprised but then placated by my identity.
    Early Teen-Me would be glad music is still the center of my life, but disappointed by the social aspects of my life right now. She’d also be horrified to learn that I’ve been forced to drop out of archery twice because of medical issues and shocked that running is my favorite type of exercise (partially because it’s the only thing I can sort of do right now). She thought that if I got into a good school and maintained a 4.0 my life would automatically be perfect. I wish I could tell her that the trials of the next decade (including the current ones) are making her into a stronger person.

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