A letter to my teenage self ....
I hesitated sharing this, but then I realized I can't be the only person who felt like this/feels like this. So I'm including the letter I wrote to myself below. It was a hard process; I cried hard tears; I felt knives pull out of my back; I felt pain ease. I felt like I was back in that girl's head and heart. No matter your age, I hope this helps you and if you are still that teenage girl or guy, I hope you will give yourself a break. Life is hard, being a kid is hard, being a teenager is nuts. It's amazing any of us survive that experience at all honestly lol. We are all hurting, all ages, races, belief systems and we all need to know that we matter even if it's just to ourselves. So I'm sharing with you all the letter I wrote to myself, but I hope you know that even though I may not know you, I do care about you. I want you to be okay, I believe in you and I want you more than anything to know you are not alone, that you truly do matter and that you can get through this crazy life and end up better for the things you go through. Judgment kills on so many levels, but love and mercy and grace and kindness and compassion they change hearts, they change the world. So extend those things to others but also extend them to yourself.
Dear younger me,
I wanted to write you a letter to tell you some things I should have probably told you when I was you. But I'm going to take the time to say them now. There will be a lot of apologies, but once I'm passed that, there will be a lot you needed to hear a long time ago.
So here goes....
First, I'm so sorry for how much pressure I put on you. I know how hard things were for you and how completely alone you felt, and I for sure made that worse instead of better.
I'm sorry I made you feel like every mistake, no matter how small, was unforgivable.
I'm sorry I never let any success small or big feel like it was enough to please me. I would never have done that to anyone else, and you deserved better.
I'm sorry I constantly held you to a set of standards that no human on earth could live up to and then punished you when you failed to meet them.
I'm sorry I never let you get truly close to anyone because I was so scared of being hurt.
I’m sorry I wasted so much time comparing you to everyone else instead of celebrating who you were and letting that be all you needed to be. I'm sorry for all the pain I added, when your heart was already badly bleeding.
I also want to say I forgive you for lashing out instead of reaching out, which only made healing take that much longer. You were dealing with very adult things every day that no one knew about. There is no way as a teen you could have known how to deal with them. You still pulled yourself up and kept going, kept fighting, kept dreaming, no matter how hard it got. You even faced your fears and accomplished things and overcame things you never shared. You know and I know how amazing those accomplishments were even if we could not celebrate them. I will always be so proud of you or that! I wish I could have told you then that you mattered. That even though it felt like it, you were not alone.
I wish I could tell you the hard things you are facing right now will be the hardest you ever go through, but I can't. You will experience loss, tragedy, heartbreak, fear, sickness and so many struggles I can’t even fit them all right here. Each thing will feel like it's going to kill you, destroy you, but I promise they will not. And the strength you are learning in the struggles you face right now, will be what gets you through the hard times ahead of you.
I want you to know that you never give up, never stop fighting, never stop dreaming or believing. You end up become best friends with a guy who changes your life and you are now very happily married to him. I'm happy to tell you that despite your pain you become a very kind, very loving, very compassionate person, you and I both can always be proud of that. You learn to not only love beyond your hurt, but because of it. You learn to open your heart in ways that you never dreamed possible. I want you to know that learning, growing and changing on all levels never stops.
The greatest lesson you learn though is to be okay just being you, that not fitting is a thousand times better than being just like everyone else. I want you to know that you still believe in God and talk to Him every day, but now you’ve come to know His love and mercy and grace very differently, there is no judgment there.
I want you to know that even though you lost it for a time, you are still singing and writing. That passion and love and drive never fully goes away. I want you to know that you still talk all the time, and you are still obsessed with random facts that no one cares about, but now people love you for it haha.
I want you to know that you don't hate yourself anymore. Your bleeding, broken heart is finally healing. All the pain you've endured, you will use to help other people find their way to healing. You may not be liked, seen or understood by everyone, but you are liked, seen and understood by the ones who matter. You like, see and understand yourself. You've taken all the bad things you've gone through and re-built them out of the wonderful memories woven in between, and you are just getting started.
I want you to know that all the pain, all the brokenness, all the aloneness is what gave you the superpower of seeing those people that no one else can see and that it was worth it. It was worth it because you can now go into the darkest places of hurt in others and help them see enough light to find their way out, that is more magical than anything you can imagine now.
So I want to end this letter by telling you all the things I couldn't tell you before now but that I know you need to hear more from me than anyone else:
I love you
I forgive you
I see you
I understand you
I believe you
I believe in you
I'm proud of you
It's ok to not be ok sometimes
I know that in spite of all the things that try to take you down you will be okay and if you need me, I will see you in the mirror