In her hysterical letter “Air Mail,” Dimity McDowell shows us how–when you’re dealing with a catty and cliquey middle school–the best friends are those you invent.
“Are you any more strong-willed than you were back in the day? Not that I’m trying to put you down or anything—I mean, a girl could not have asked for a better friend. You were my enthusiastic pupil for endless hours in schools that were as magical as you were. We stumbled around in stilt school, seatdropped endlessly in trampoline school, got dizzy in cartwheel school, and plunked out Heart and Soul ad nauseum in piano school. You happily took my tips on form, never huffing off in disgust. (“Point your toes, Elizabeth, when you seat-drop,” I’d remind you for probably the fourteenth time that day. Or “Pianissimo, Elizabeth,” I’d say with a tsk as you tapped the keys. “That means ‘softly’ in music.”) You never complained about my television choices, squeezing in next to me to watch everything from Sesame Street, in the first year of our friendship, to Little House on the Prairie, my favorite during fourth grade. You played dollhouse and Operation, dress-up and Go Fish, never, ever suggesting we should do something else. I talked and talked at you, never once realizing how bizarre I must have looked and sounded, because you were as real to me as the friends my mom picked up in her wood-paneled station wagon.”
DIMITY McDOWELL is a sports and fitness writer who started her magazine career in New York City, where she was on staff at Women’s Sports & Fitness, Self, ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated Women. During those six years, she covered a wide range of topics–everything from mainstream sports (hanging out in the Denver Broncos locker room was less fun than you’d think) to the extreme (jumping from an airplane was more fun than you’d think). A freelancer since 2000, she is a contributing editor for Women’s Health and Runner’s World magazines. She is also at work on her first book: an account of the intersection of running and mothering, cowritten with fellow contributor Sarah Bowen Shea. Dimity currently lives in Denver with her two kids, two dogs, and one husband.
Read the rest of Dimity’s letter, and 35 others, when PS What I Didn’t Say comes out October 1!