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Dear Ten-Year-Old Self,
Before you ask me when you have your first kiss or if you'll ever have a boyfriend, I need to tell you some more important stuff first. What's more important than a first kiss, you ask? Plenty. First of all, don't let that kid in your class, Danny, who called you fat, make you self-consciously wear oversized sweatshirts for the next four years to hide your body. That kid is horrible and years from now he will be boring and bald and trying to get in touch with you to come to the set of the TV show you work on. No, you don't work on Cheers. That show's not on the air anymore. That would've been awesome, though. Another thing: Say thank you, always. Gratitude is the closest thing to beauty manifested in an emotion. When you're grateful, people are attracted to you. Also: Make sure you appreciate Mom and Dad. Yes, they never seem to let you do anything now except read books. Once you turn 18 you'll never get to live with them again, and you'll live far away, and you will miss them so much it hurts. Next: Learn forgiveness and bestow it generously. Finally: Don't let anyone give you any crap. Mastering a balance of these last two will take you a lifetime, so you had better get started now.
Kaling is the costar of The Office and author of the best-selling memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?