Morning Chalk Up

Dear 10-year-old Camille,

From the very beginning, you’ve been different from the other girls – the ones who wear pretty dresses and flavored lip gloss. You’re an only child in a family that makes a living in the great outdoors, and as a result, you would rather wear jeans and a t-shirt any day. With short blonde hair, mud-stained pants and a razor scooter, you’ve always had more fun playing football and other sports with the boys. You relate to them better because you can talk fishing and hunting when the girls only talk about makeup and going shopping. And because you are different, you are picked on and have been cast out by nearly every girl at school.

There will be people who doubt you and tell you you’re a dreamer. But that’s only fuel for you to work even harder.

You’ll continue to struggle with bullies for the next few years, so you need to grit your teeth and not let the name calling make you feel any less of yourself. You’re a smart, charismatic, and vibrant kid who can do anything you put your mind to. It sucks, and you often feel very alone, but this is a time that will begin paving the way for you to grow into the strong and independent woman you’ll become.

Last year was a horrible school year and going back to school is the last thing you want. But what you don’t know is fourth grade is the year that COMPLETELY changes how you feel about school and yourself. This teacher is going to change your life and make you believe in yourself. Enjoy the classroom, the people around you, and everything about this year because moving forward things will be different in a very positive way.

When you get to 7th grade, you’ll be out for lunch recess playing football with some friends. After you just outran all the boys to the end zone, Mr. Kimmet will walk up to you and say, “You should try out for the track team.” DO IT! It’ll be the beginning of your lifelong love of sports, competition, and living healthy. Once you get to high school, Mom will want you to try out for cheerleading. Don’t do it. Join the swim team instead. You’re good at it, and it’s going to be so much more fun than joining the cheer squad with a bunch of grumpy drama queens. Mom will forgive you.

You relate to [the boys] better because you can talk fishing and hunting when the girls only talk about makeup and going shopping. And because you are different, you are picked on and have been cast out by nearly every girl at school.

You may not know this now, but you have the world at your fingertips. One day, you will become a professional fly fishing guide who teaches and shares different fisheries with many other anglers who look to YOU for guidance. One day, YOU will be leading others to far off places around the globe in pursuit of exotic fish with a fly rod. One day, other women will look up to YOU and be inspired by what YOU do. One day, you will be a role model for girls that are your age who aspire to be outdoorswomen just like YOU!

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Things will not come easy, and you’ll have to work extremely hard to be successful. There will be people who doubt you and tell you you’re a dreamer. But that’s only fuel for you to work even harder. You’ll find yourself in a male-dominated industry where women haven’t entirely made a presence yet. It’ll take time, but eventually, you will earn their respect and be looked at as an equal and not another pretty face. Be who you are, stay true to yourself and be humble. It’ll take you places you’ve never dreamed.

Love always,

Your older self