As I was standing in the shower yesterday, I started thinking about Halloween, and then Halloween costumes, and then Halloween date parties back in college, and then, just like clockwork, the all-too-familiar wave of womanly anxiety came rushing back. Shortness of breath, pounding heart, and a pain in the pit of my stomach. My body was going through the motions. And just like muscle memory, my brain had switched to autopilot.

Remembering I was 26 and had absolutely no obligation to impress anyone with an outfit on the verge of slutty but with just enough sophistication and taste to make it passed the sorority “police” a costume was a relief. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Was it seriously that big of a freakin’ deal back then?

And all of the women in the congregation said, “YES LAWD!”

I’ll be the first to admit, I had a real unhealthy relationship with Halloween. October 1 always marked the first day of my let’s-try-to-eat-nothing-until-we-pass-out diet. Like wtf? Why?

Pressure, that’s why. The same pressure every girl still feels today. Go ahead and Google Halloween costumes for college girls, and try to find five costumes you’d want your daughter to wear. Any luck?

I’d give anything to be able to go back and relive those few precious years knowing what I know now. But since I can’t, I’m writing a love letter to 20-year-old Mattie. A love letter that hopefully resonates with those of you who still have those precious years to enjoy.

Dearest 20-year-old Mattie,

It’s the first week of October, and your Halloween diet has officially started. Do yourself a favor and stop it now. It’s not worth the trouble. No one will remember what your body looked like in your costume — that’s just a sick and twisted idea you have in your pretty head. You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are. Your teenage curves will soon morph into a womanly figure. A figure better than you’ve ever dreamed of. Trust me, it’s coming. And no, your chest is not too small. It’s just right. Screw what any boy has ever said to you. Boys only have half a brain until they are thirty…I’m serious! And their opinions don’t matter anyway. So give yourself a break, and eat something. Wear something funny to the Halloween date party. Because by senior year you will not give a flying shit what anyone thinks anymore. Hard to believe, right? Just wait. The best is yet to come. Be patient, stay humble, do well, and be kind. It ALL works out. Everything. Even the things you think are going to kill you — spoiler: they don’t. You are alive and well and beautiful and HAPPY. Enjoy life, sweet girl. Big things are headed your way. 

Love always,
26-year-old Mattie

My Halloween costume senior year of college: "Trashcan Punch"
My Halloween costume senior year of college: “Trashcan Punch”

Love, Mattie Claire

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