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Dear 16-year-old Me

I write letters on this blog a lot. I’ve written one to the woman on the escalator, to the bug from my garage, to the class of 2013, to my music teacher, and even a letter to future me. So when I heard about the Dear Me link up that Emily from Chatting at the Sky was doing, I could hardly resist. I’m a little nervous and a little excited because, to be honest, I’m not really sure how this letter is going to go. Here it is, a letter to the 16-year-old me.

Dear 16-year-old me,

Wow! Can I just take a minute to say, you are adorable. I know you don’t believe me. You look at this picture and you hate that your hair is frizzy and your cheeks are rosy. I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to have to just get used to that. I know your older family members have assured you that your rosy cheeks will go away when you get older, but they are wrong. At 30, I’m still dealing with cheeks that turn beat red when embarrassed or cold or hot or sick or, well you get the point. I will say this, eventually this won’t bother you as much. The truth is, at some point you are going to realize how great your skin is and be thankful that you only ever need to deal with the occasional zit or two. No uncontrollable acne for you my dear girl, just rosy cheeks that you will never need to apply blush to. It could be worse.

Can we talk about boys for a second? Here is the thing, I know that 16 has been a good year for you. You’ve had a boyfriend for most of the year and I’m sure you’ve noticed that your self-esteem has elevated because of that. There are days ahead when you will find yourself single and you will question your self worth. Please hear this: your value is not determined by how many boys want to date you. This will be a hard truth for you to learn. You are awesome but you will frequently assume the worst about yourself when you don’t receive the attention you desire from the boys you like. Do you want to know a secret? You aren’t any prettier just because a cute boy says you are. Stop waiting for others to praise you and start finding things to praise on your own. You are far too beautiful (both inside and out) to wait around for some teenage boy to figure that out.

There is another thing I need to bring up. You have some great friends and you will meet some more in the years to come. Years from now, you will still be incredibly close to some of these girls. But it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows between here and there. There will be fights and tears and even some times of silence. One word of advice: a little grace goes a long way. You are not as perfect as you proclaim to be. You have not walked in the shoes of these friends you are chastising. In some ways it is admirable that you would risk your friendship to confront someone about their behavior, but you don’t always engage in these conversations with a loving attitude. Self-righteous would be a better way to describe your attitude.

I’m really excited for you. You still have a lot of great things ahead of you. Don’t stress too much about the worries of today. Trust your gut. When something feels wrong, it probably is. You’re a smart girl. Stop doubting yourself so much.

Love,

30-year-old You