To my 16-year-old self,
Sophomore in high school, huh? That’s exciting. You finally know your way around the school, you have a couple of friends you like a lot, you’re settling into your own and gaining adventures that you thought you would never have. There’s even a boy in the picture. Ain’t so innocent anymore, huh girl? It seems like life is going pretty well for you, and I’m glad that it is – new environments and surroundings aren’t going to be easy for you to adapt to later on in your life for personal reasons.
Nevertheless, you look happy on the outside. You look like you’re living your best fucking life, and you deserve every part of it. I wish I could tell you to be careful, that life is going to hit you hard very soon, and this version of you will be long gone. Your insecurities will begin to show out in ways you can’t control. You’re going to start putting your self-worth because you’re afraid of losing the people you love the most. You’re going to lose yourself in this newfound puppy love you got going on and not going to notice you’re going to hurt a lot of people around you. Your junior high school friends are not going to understand where your pureness and innocence went after you tell them you lost your virginity one day during Spring Break. Your life is going at full speed, and while you think you have it under control, you are lying to yourself. You feel guilty for losing some important parts of yourself.
I’m telling you that it’s normal to feel that way. You are growing up, you’re now in a different boat than when you were a kid, and you’re not going to stay the same forever. I some way, you’re leaving your childhood behind, entering the teenage territory and although we’ve always been late-bloomers in our milestones, we are always worried that we are losing ourselves in the process of growing. Although you don’t believe this because you just deem yourself as a one-dimension person that tries to match the image that people have of you, you always had a soul, and sometimes the soul does things without telling us or letting us know that major things are happening. I’m 26 and I’m just learning that myself, girl.
So even though you are listening to the people who are telling you that you changed for the worst and those same people are going to be in your life even when you’re in your early 20’s, you did nothing wrong, you just started growing up.
Also, I know you’re comparing yourself to every girl at your school. Are you pretty like them? Are you as interesting as them? Why isn’t the boy you spent the whole summer with like a goddamn romance movie not calling you his girlfriend and someone else? Are you too fat for people to live you? Why am I so fucking invisible in this school, yet people only know me as “the sophomore whose best friend is the most popular senior in the school”? Why aren’t you the person that was enjoying her life the way she was just months before? These thoughts, these negative and false truths you believe are also normal to have. You feel awkward, you feel like you’re just an ugly girl with bad chin acne and two eyebrows that are almost married (which btw, we don’t have anymore, but we barely got eyebrows to begin with). What isn’t normal is allowing these thoughts to dictate how people treat you. You are not the second choice, you are not “the devil’s child”, you are not wild and easy and not important. Of course, at 16 you don’t see these things, but girl, let me tell you something: you will simply not care as you get older. You’ll love your body one day.
Even more so, you’re going to love the person you become. Sure, it’s going to take a couple of bumps in the road and a whole lot of darkness to finally see it, but if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed about you is your heart. You love so fucking hard, you’re kind and genuine, and you are real. Girl, a person that I’ve only been friends with for a couple of months called me a sweetheart and a great friend. We never thought we could be those things, but we can and those things never change.
So yeah, you’re having some wild, spontaneous puppy love adventures. You’re performing with your school choir possibly three times a month at different venues and winning awards for it. You’re going to get your heart broken a couple of times and find comfort in the same sex (which isn’t the end of it, missy). You’re still going to do things with the kindness of your heart and well, the worst is yet to come, girl.
So when you think that the world is better off without you or that you don’t have any love or support from the people you care about the most, remember that it’s now 2020, and I’m writing to you to let you know that yeah, we’re not living our dreams living out of the state and we’re not rich with our career choice, but that we’ve grown much over the course of the decade and, well, that counts towards something even bigger than the materialistic things in life.
You have a bright future ahead of you, even though I know you don’t always think that. Listen to me, girl; I’ve already lived your next ten years of it.