A Letter To 16-Year-Old Me

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Dear 16-year-old me,
Let me begin by telling you that everything you believe to be so very earth-shattering and of upmost crucial importance, really isn’t. I swear to God, nothing is as major a deal as you see it to be. That boy that just crushed your heart and left you curled up on your bed crying into your pillow…..that boy you swore you were going to spend forever with? Yeah. You’ll barely be able to recall his name in the future. His face will be nothing but a vague recollection of a blur in your mind. he isn’t going to be your forever. But you’ll have other loves along the way and neither will they. I don’t tell you this to bum you out. I just am trying to explain that every person we learn to love teaches us a new thing about ourselves. Life and love is really all about learning and accepting and growing and evolving. It comes and goes. You must learn to stand alone and never ever ever be only some guys girl.
You’re a lot stronger than you think you are. There will be times in your life you will look back and go “Holy shit, look what I made it through! Look what I did/made/accomplished/learned!” You’ll get your first apartment two years from now. And even though you’ll be so scared of living alone in a crappy area of town where the sirens blast by all night that you leave every light on all night long and check the locks a dozen times a night (and you’ll STILL get robbed one night while you sleep. You’ll wake up to your waitressing tips all gone. a solid $200 from a 12 hour shift on a weekend.) you’ll still stick it out and work hard and pay your bills and while all of your friends will still live at home with their parents,you’ll have your very own place.
And when your first husband leaves you one day for a girl 10 years younger than you, a barely 18 year old, and you fall apart in a sobbing mess of defeat….at some point you’re gonna recall how you lived all alone for 2 years in that apartment and did it well and a little voice in your head will remind you “You’ve lived without him or anyone else before and been perfectly happy. You can do it again. And you’ll start to see how nice it is to be single. You’ll be able to watch whatever you want on tv at night and eat straight out of the ice cream container and not have to share the chocolates and decorate any damn way you want to and not have stupid petty arguments over stupid petty crap with anyone because you will be queen of your domain.
There will be some rough stuff along the way. Like, I know you picked out the name of your first daughter last year. (You’ve wanted to be a mom your entire life.) I hate to tell you this, but although you were 100% right and you WILL get pregnant with a girl first, you won’t get to raise her. You’ll have an ultrasound at 20 weeks and the midwife will see only stillness. the loss of her will haunt you for a really long time. It will terrify you when you get pregnant again. But you’ll go on to have 6 healthy babies. (Just like you said you would.) Boys. Sorry about that. Thats just how life works sometimes. But don’t make that face. Its really not as bad as you think it is. Its actually super fun and awesome and wonderful to have boys. Seriously. I promise. You’re gonna love it. You’ll also lose 5 other babies in between all of the healthy ones. I can’t tell you why. You won’t ever find an answer to it all that gives you any real sense of true peace except that eventually you’ll be able to truly understand what that sort of loss feels like and therefore be better able to comfort and empathize with other women who lose babies.
You’ll find yourself questioning God a lot over the years.And sometimes He WILL give you an answer. With trumpets and doves and shooting stars of glory and wonder and gratitude. But other times …….other times He is gonna be nothing but very very very still and silent and maybe you will rail at the sky with fists shaking at the clouds and snot running down your face as you sob. Or maybe you will learn to hold your chin up and walk bravely on.
You’ll bury your best friend when you are 30. Your very first funeral and it will just happen to be the man you love and thought you would spend forever with.They’ll pull his water logged body from the river, the tiny black box with the rings in it in his pocket. You’ll see his body bag being loaded into the ambulance on the evening news. You’ll kiss his cold lips goodbye in the casket. Thats going to hurt like hell. You’ll have days of rage at God, days of utter numbness when you are only going to be a shadow in your own home, floating like a ghost straight through your children. You’ll carry a lot of guilt for a good year that he is gone and you will NOT be gone, will still be alive. You’ll learn to see that that was the last thing he ever wanted was for you to quit.
You’ll make some mistakes. Some really big ones. Some not-such-a-big-deal ones. You’ll do a whole lot of things right. You’ll raise those boys mostly by yourself fora real long time and they will be typical boys but you’ll instill manners and chivalry and passion and empathy in them. If there is nothing else in life you do right, THAT would be enough. More than enough. You’ll bless others. With kind deeds, with words, with prayers…in any way you can. You’ll keep carrying a big heart through life. You’ll prove to be a loyal friend. A diligent worker. A great mom. A pretty amazing homekeeper.
You will dance a lot with God. Your faith will be something of your own making on your own journey. Don’t worry so much about the laws and rules of religion that are being shoved down your throat right now. Those folks really do MEAN well, but they just have never really seen God or touched Him or tasted Him.You’ll learn its not really about anything but LOVE.
You know hwo concerned you are about how you LOOK right now?
Forget that shit.
Seriously. Please. Let it go. You walk around all day convinced the entire freaking universe is staring in disgust at that pimple on your nose…..guess what? They are all so caught up in their OWN insecurities and concerns and worries that they AREN’T EVEN NOTICING. I swear it’s true. Appearance is so darn important at 16. I understand that. I just want you to understand that it really doesnt amount to anything. Honestly, I’ve learned that all too often, the folks who look so perfect and primped and put together, are often the fakest , most miserable people on earth. And some of the kindest, funniest, wittiest, most amazing people you will EVER meet will be the ones who absolutely can NOT be fit into any sort of square hole. Stop looking at the surface. Start looking at the heart.
Stop being so damn hard on yourself.
You’re never going to be perfect. But you will always find you are exactly who and what and where you are supposed to be at any given moment. You have a purpose far greater than you can grasp. Don’t worry about it. Don’t go looking for it. Just live and love and learn. You’ll find it as you go.
Wear less makeup. Leave your freaking hair alone. Don’t kiss the boys too easily. Make them earn it. Be nicer to your brother. He’s a pain in the ass now but someday you’ll want him for a friend. Same goes for your mom. Keep writing poetry. When that preacher finds the poem you wrote about boys and love and sex and tells you he wants you to ask God for forgivness and burn it, take it back from him and simply walk away. You’ll regret it if you burn it. Keep singing. Don’t let the OCD make you obsess over picking at the acne. Its gonna leave scars. Don’t give your virginity to that guy you date at 19 years old. Trust me, it won’t be worth it. Wait until you meet your future husband. You’ll know who he is when you meet him. Trust me.
Find out who you are, who you want to be and fall madly in love with her. Some people may call you conceited to do so. Ignore that. If you love yourself, you wont settle for people who do not respect you or treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Love yourself. Love others. All others. Find the good in everyone. Love God. trust Him with the details.
Oh, and by the way, don’t ever lose your flair. You’re totally rockin the jet black hair and rainbow striped shirts and candy necklaces and lunchbox as a purse. For real. That individulaity is awesome. Be proud of it.
I adore you. Always. xoxo
Love,
33 Year-Old-Me ❤

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