Letter to 16-year-old Me!
Writing a letter to my sixteen year old self was a very cathartic experience for me when I was twenty-two. I was working toward a better me, but I was also experiencing a breakup that left me trapped in a place I desperately didn’t want to be in. But I had gone through and conquered so much in those six years, I needed to remind myself of what those things were.
Dear Smart, Beautiful, Shy, Talented, and Incredible me,
About now, you are working diligently, trying to keep your grades up because this year is the most important year for school. You feel like you are on the top. You’ve figured out this high school thing, you have a set group of friends and you just started driving, a brand new freedom you never knew you missed. Everyone in high school tells you that you need to go to college, you need to have a degree and most importantly you need to get a top grade on your SAT.
But I’m here to tell you that not all of that is true. Learn to want a degree, stall and find out what you love, and when you’ve found it, chase after it. Degree or no degree.
I sit here, 22 years old, to tell you that you’ve made it out okay. No scratch that, you are one of the strongest people I know. In 2010, you make what you believe are the best friends of your life at college. You learn to love, have adventures, be creative and just act crazy. Come 2011, you’ll hit your hardest year of your life to date. You’ll give yourself to undeserving people, you’ll care far too much about those who don’t need you, and you’ll believe you love, but you forget to love yourself. You will have hit rock bottom, not one mistake I’d change.
Even at the bottom, you are able to rise back up. You lose people around you, everyone dropping like flies, but you learn to grow from the abandonment. You rest there for a bit and figure out your life in a blink of a eye. You move away and begin to figure out how to love yourself and in that time you find out what real love is.
You make plans, you pay bills, and there are too many tears shed over stress and love. But you figure it out, you always have. You fall into a relationship, your longest to date, and you experience so much life together, but just as fast as it started, it ended.
And now at 22, I sit here and tell you that the only thing you know is that your love for writing is still constant. The only thing you can trust are your hands on a keyboard or a pen in your hand. And that those who have stayed through it all–those are your true friends and no one can compare to them.
Oh, and at 21 you begin to write your first novel for publishing. You’ll make it through, dear.
You are strong and beautiful, and you deserve the world. Remember, that through everything we’ve been through, we always make it to the other side. Always.
So stay with me now and don’t give up. Together we stand and we fight. To love ourselves, forever and always. To fall way too hard in love with ourself and to care way too deeply for ourself.
Remember through the lost friendships and lost love, that I’ll always be there to hold your hand.
The rest will fall into place. This I promise you.
Me at 22
Now at 25, I can still read back on this letter and realize the significance it had at 22, but also, the significance it would have had to my younger self.
It may seem silly to write a letter to yourself that you’ll never be able to actually deliver. But there is so much healing in the way of words. There may be something you’ve been holding on to since high school and you haven’t been able to shake it. I urge you to take this and write about it. Work through it. Recognize who you are and what you’ve accomplished since those four years.
You may be surprised by what your mind discovers.