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To my 16 year old self,

Life is so confusing right now. It's like watching a foreign language film with no subtitles. Trying to understand the behavior of those around you is frustrating. Navigating the world on your own is overwhelming. It seems like the only constant in your life is the cloud of anger that hovers over your head. You feel set apart and different from other girls. It seems like everyone is judging you as the outcast. It terrifies you to think that one day others will find out how crazy and messed up you are inside. The drinking and partying seem like the only way to slow down your racing thoughts and quiet the demeaning voices in your head. Your relationship with food is just as volatile and damaging as the one with your boyfriend.

Keep listening to that small voice. It's the one that keeps whispering in your ear, "Don't give up. Go for it. You can do it." You feel different because you are different. Fight against the temptation to sit down, be quiet, and blend in. Being weird is your superpower. It will serve you well in the future. Disregard the limits and labels that people place on you. Their words mean nothing and will have no impact on your success. Listen to your gut. It will never let you down. Pay attention to how a person makes you feel. In the words of poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Always remember that you have the power to leave any situation that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Do not let anyone mistreat you just because you are young. Forget all that you have learned and forced to do in the past, adults and elders must earn your trust and respect. Age is not a free pass giving them access to hurt you and damage your self-esteem. Be kind and express gratitude to those taking the time to mentor you and make a positive impact on your life. They influence all the wise decisions you will make in the future. A simple thank you goes a long way.

I know that loving Jamie seems impossible. You beat yourself up for each mistake. Understand that failure ignites the fire of ambition. Bad decisions build new experiences and wisdom that become food to your hungry brain. Being kind to oneself is the key to surviving in a world that can be very unkind. Know this, life gets so much better. Notice I did not say easier. You will learn through trial and error that adults are not always safe, success and material items are not the key to lifelong happiness, and relationships will never fill the void in your broken heart.

You my dear girl, will also discover that there is someone looking out for you. He diverts you away from life ending disaster and carefully crafts your life's purpose as you live out your teenage days. He is orchestrating and meticulously designing your future. It's one that if revealed to you at this moment, would blow your mind. You are busy creating memories and living out remarkable experiences that will shape how you view the world and your place in it. Keep your head up. Breath and take it all in. The best part has yet to unfold. No one, (including you) saw this coming.

Love & Respect,


A Letter to My 16 Year Old Self

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