Dear Teen Me

Dear Teen Me,


        Where do I begin? If only I could sit by your side and tell you that you’re doing just fine. You’re intense for a reason, and that’s okay. It hasn’t exactly been easy, as you know, but you’ve survived up until this point. Be proud, not ashamed of the person you are, “flaws” and all. Your resilience will one day become apparent to you, and your journey will give you the gifts of empathy and compassion. 

        You shouldn’t need to – and you don’t need to – compare yourself or your life to anyone else/anyone else’s. Your journey is different (as is theirs). It will help shape you and your future, including your career. By the grace of the universe – or whatever it is looking out for you (or maybe it’s just your wiring, or luck, or all of the above) – you have managed just fine. You will one day be truly grateful for some of the choices you’ve made. And as for those choices you're not so proud of (like the time you hitchhiked)... You'll thank the universe that all turned out okay. 

        You’re going to go to college. You won’t just go, you’ll graduate with a four-year degree. Yes, you will. You’ll even study abroad – in Paris, of all places (a dream come true) – and get your master’s degree. I know, I know, but you’re smart, and one day you’ll know that’s true. You won’t feel as much as though you’re fooling everyone by having a seat at the proverbial table. Though, admittedly, that imposter syndrome stuff will never fully go away, even when asked to fly places and give speeches for achievements you’ve made. 
        And while we’re on the topic of not being “stupid,” – (I hate that word, by the way; but you seem to use it about yourself quite a bit) – there are other hateful words in your vocabulary that need to go, that you use as weapons against yourself: ugly, fat, unworthy, untalented... I wouldn’t use any of these words to describe you (or anyone, for that matter). One day you’ll have physical proof that these terms don’t define you. And, P.S., bodies come in all shapes and sizes, as does physical beauty. There are many forms of intelligence, plus learning never stops. And, as far as “talent” goes, hard work, perseverance, and passion are just as important, in my opinion. Bottom line: stop giving away your power by letting others define things for you. One day, you will see I’m right on all of the above and realize how unkind you’ve been to yourself.

        Lastly, know that, as an adult, some things will get much, much better, but also that life will ebb and flow. There will be highs and lows, gains and losses, and surprises of all kinds. And, yes, you’re strong and resilient, but even the “strong and resilient” need help sometimes. Remember that. Don’t be afraid to lean on and receive the loving kindness of others, because you are worthy, and you will do amazing things. You’ll screw up too, and that’s okay. Pick yourself up, learn from it, and keep moving forward, as you always have. I hope this helps.
                                                                                                Much love to you,
                                                                                                Your adult self


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