“Dear younger me, where do I start? If I could tell you everything I have learned so far, then you could be one step ahead of all the painful memories still running through my head. I wonder how much different things would be, dear younger me.” – Dear Younger Me, Mercy Me.
Dear younger me,
If only you knew then what I know now. If only you knew the trials you would face. If only you knew the hurt you would endure. If only you knew the joy you would feel. If only you knew the laughs you would have. If only you knew how strong you would be. But honestly, would it make a difference if you did know? I’m a firm believer that every experience, both good and bad, shape you into exactly who you are meant to be. And who you are right now, at age 21, is on the right path to who that woman is. You’re not there yet, but it’s all about progress not perfection.
Let’s start with this: Sweetheart, I wouldn’t change you for the world. The woman you grow up to be is incredibly brave, empathetic, strong, and full of heart. She is also a bit broken, a bit defeated, and is having a really hard time. But don’t worry, as always she’ll keep fighting.
I know you feel like you don’t fit in, like you’re undervalued, like you’re replaceable, and like you’re never heard. You’re probably going to feel that way for a long time. I know that being shy and full of anxiety gets in the way of so much life, I’d be lying to you if I said that goes away fully. I know you feel like this dark cloud will never disappear, but hold on, your sunshine is coming. But good news, things do get better. You will learn how to feel heard. You won’t be shy for forever. You’ll learn to cope with your anxiety. And that dark cloud will eventually subside.
You’re a listener and an observer, and know that’s okay. You’re loyal to a fault, but don’t forget to be loyal to yourself first. You’re a deep thinker and an even deeper feeler, don’t let those things overwhelm you. Your heart is big and you’re going to want to heal everybody, know that you can’t and that it’s okay. You’re a giver, just remember you can’t pour from an empty cup. You’re a fighter, just know that you should never have to fight on your own. You’re a lover, but don’t ever be afraid to love yourself first. Self love isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. You’re kind, but don’t forget to be gentle with yourself (this is something you talk a lot about in therapy, learn to love it.)
You’re going to have a lot of pain in your life, try your best to find the good in it. Your parents are going to get divorced, but it will actually be the best thing to ever happen to you. You will gain a new step dad and step mom who you love, as well as new siblings and two whole new families. You will struggle with an eating disorder, it’s going to go unnoticed for a long time, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Eventually you will overcome that challenge to the best of your ability. You will attempt suicide not once, but twice. And you will live. Keep living, it’s worth it. You will have two permanent, prominent scars on your arm that at first you will hate. But eventually you will grow to love them because they are part of your story, and they will help others. You will hate high school, but you will graduate and go to college. Your best friend will die at 20 years old, and I don’t really have anything good to say about that other than that you will grow from it. You will lose two of your grandparents in the course of six months, cherish your time with them always. You will become addicted to drugs, and you will come out victorious but not without one hell of a fight. Don’t give up. The friends you have in your twenties will be twenty+ years older than you, which is fine. They were placed in your life at the right time, with the right wealth of knowledge, and are making a huge impact on you. You will fall in love with a man and you will think he’s the one. He’s not, and that’s okay. You have to learn how to love yourself before you can fully love someone else. You will willingly go to therapy, don’t ever stop. She’s changing your life, work with her not against her. You will have a blog, and you will change lives through it. Never be afraid to share your heart.
Despite all the pain your young heart will feel, you will also feel immense amounts of joy. You have siblings who are your best friends, they’re growing up fast, don’t let that precious time slip by. Your mom and step dad will take you on numerous cruises and vacations, you are blessed and don’t you ever forget it. You will attend Western Washington University and it will be the best nine months of your life. You will finally feel like you fit in, hold tight to that feeling. You will finish top of your class from Interior Design School, but don’t forget to finish those two math classes and actually get your degree. You are smart enough. You will study abroad in Paris. Yep, that’s right. YOU, with all the anxiety, will go so far outside of your comfort zone and absolutely love it. You will be 21 with 12 tattoos, all with such deep meaning. You will go to therapy twice a week, and you will grow in every way you never thought you could. I mention this one twice because it is just so important. You will learn to love yourself, even when it’s hard. You will learn to fight for yourself, don’t ever ever ever stop.
And younger me, it’s not your fault.
All my love,