letter to my sixteen year old self
The great thing about growing older is the growing part. Being able to reassess life happenings based on a set of completed actions and circumstances that have played out, it’s getting to see how decisions take twists and turns in the ebb and flow of our lives. When I write this I think fondly of the girls in my family who are in and around their 16th year. I find myself answering their questions quite often these days and I can’t help but think back on the time when I was sixteen. A pivotal, tender time ripe with promise and pursuit. Here is the letter to my sixteen year old self.
Dear Me at 16,
You are beautiful. You are loved. You are valuable. Remember these truths no matter what– even though, in spite of and while you’re going through.
Be single. I know you think the boy in front of you now is “the one” but he “is not.” Continuing on this path will lead to heartache for both of you. Dial it back and enjoy being single. There’s plenty of time for it all. But first, there’s much to do, much to learn. There are a ton of things to discover about yourself, about the world. Enjoy time with girlfriends, learn to sew, learn to knit, learn to program a computer. Just keep learning. Boys-guys-men… they will be there. They will always be there. You won’t be getting married any time soon so don’t be concerned about that. This is a pivotal time in your life so choose very wisely, pray for direction and guidance. There are some doors ahead that you should not open. They will be distractions, set ups. Pray for discernment to know which ones. Pray for strength to walk past them. Be careful, because what you do at 16 could affect your 25. There will be hiccups on the journey but don’t stop or get discouraged, keep going. Mom’s not around but she loves you the best way she knows, and it’s a lot. In fact, it’s with everything she has. Dad’s doing his best so don’t get frustrated and overwhelmed by domestic life, and don’t wish you were like your friends. Your story, although you don’t understand it now, is really cool and pretty special. I know it’s hard for you but don’t let it weigh you down. The breakouts on your legs will clear up so stop stressing. It’ll be gone, you’ll have great leg skin. Your knees on the otherhand, they will be full of scars but they are life’s tattooes. Stop perming your hair. The most beautiful curls are under there and you’ve never seen them. Stop right this minute. Hang out in groups. Write. Enjoy your friends. Stop worrying. Travel, even if just over to the next town. Journal. Don’t be annoyed by exams and stressed out with all the studying. You’re a good student with a good balance of common sense and intelligence. You will always be a good student, you will always be a student. Let go of the idea of perfection. Remain as youthful as you can in perspective. Laugh more. Sing even. Cry when you are sad. Say when you are hurt. Don’t hold it in. Yes dear, you will get hurt, people will hurt you but you will be ok. Just make sure you forgive them. Don’t let your heart harden. When you are disappointed forgive immediately. Yes buttercup, you will be disappointed. But bounce back as quickly as possible. Don’t allow rejection to get on the inside of you. Smile, and know that you are not rejected. Whatever or whomever is not or no longer a part of the story is no longer part of your story. A rejection is really an edit. And editing cuts off the excess, the superfluous, the unnecessary. Remember always that you are beautiful. You’re not perfect but you are beautiful. Allow the Lord to show you how beautiful you are. A mirror reflects the outside but it’s the inside, the essence of you, your spirit– whom He created you to be– that’s really beautiful. You will learn that, you will understand it in your being. You don’t realize it yet but you will begin to see the same thing in people everywhere. That’s why it’s imperative that you guard your heart. You’re about to stop praying but don’t, even in the middle of your mess. If you do, and you will, things will get harder, darker, heavier. But remember to count it all joy; you are not alone and you will have beauty for ashes. God loves you and He is with you. Hold on to this.
Oh, and moisturize, drink lots of water and don’t sleep on your face. You’re gonna be just fine.