Swing in the park for hours, daydreaming about a boy you will never marry. Go ahead. I dare you. That boy doesn’t enter your life until 2011. Go crazy. Pretend to go to the mall to shop, while you’re secretly people watching. [ I still do it today ] Go for walks to nowhere at 3AM. Drive just to drive. Wander in circles a little, get lost somewhere new. You don’t always have to be thinking about your growth [ you’re making progress even when you don’t realize it ]. We are our worst critics, but without everything we have gone through, we wouldn’t be here; the person we are today.
Don’t worry too much. Life gets better every day. Do what you love.
Have some useless hobbies. Give yourself the space and time and the go ahead to do a few things that aren’t going to directly improve your life. Dance when you hear music; alone or not. Sing by yourself on the floor of your living room with your hairbrush. Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t feel like you always need to impress. Don’t worry if it doesn’t always seem like you’re making progress. You are. Everyday. You will live a satisfying life [ at least until you’re 24 ].
“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But, the way I see it, you can either run from it… or learn from it.”
Just enjoy life and the way it is evolving before you. You don’t need to worry about others. YOU. DO YOU. 88% of them won’t matter in your life in a couple years anyways. [ for real ]
You are not a human doing. You are a human being.
Its okay to JUST BE! You have a whole life ahead of you and you do not need to rush into anything. You are beautiful and talented and the only one of YOU. [ there is no copies, or retries ]
Let yourself be freakishly happy. Learn to push your own buttons. Inspire yourself. Too many people feel guilty for being happy so they go to all kinds of wasteful ways to damage their own happiness; without even realizing it. Remember this always: it’s okay to be happy! Ridiculously happy. Take it and run.
Happiness doesn’t just happen, it’s a mindset. You won’t always be perfectly happy, nothing is perfect. You’ll have to learn to minister your own happiness, to fight for it in the right ways. Sometimes you need to lose hope in all things happy so you can really understand what an exceptional and sparkling gift happiness truly is. You’ll have to learn that no matter how miserable you get, you can always fight your way back to happiness. It is always at your fingertips. But it is all up to you and how you administer it. Eventually you will realize that happiness is inside of you, not outside. And that even when your life seems like it might kind of be a wreck, it is okay to fight for that happiness back.
Listen to yourself. You DO know best. Even if in that moment of question, it doesn’t seem like you know anything at all. Listen to no one, no one but yourself.
There will be a whole whack of people who will weigh in on your life. You learn from it ALL. Some of them will have your best interest in mind. Others won’t. It will be hard to tell the difference between the two right now. Don’t let other people rent space in your head for free. That’s cherished space. What other people think of you is none of your business. [ TRY TO FORGET IT ] Be you and let it go. This is a tough one for us. It requires constant practice. We struggle and trip over this one at times; maybe a bit more than we should. We learn through your own experiences. But either way, when it comes to taking advice, not all advice is created equal, and you need to know this. Take it all with the great assault. Even those with the best of intentions might be blind to how they are guiding you to the place that is best for them, not necessarily for you. And they know it. It’s a cruel world sometimes.
Your perception of things is inexplicably accurate. Not always precise but surprisingly good at pointing to something important, beautiful and true. One root of wisdom you can always trust is your inner wisdom; that still, small voice. Don’t let your own voice be drowned out by the noise of the world around you. The more you listen to that still small voice, the louder, more clear and more reliable it gets.
“If everybody were like everybody else, how boring it would be. The things that make me different are the things that make me, Me!”
– Piglet and Eeyore, to Winnie the Pooh
Learn to say no. No, I would not like to go out with you. No, you may not have my phone number. No, I do not want to have sex with you. [ !!! ] No, I will not text you a picture of myself. NO NO NO. No to a lot of other things, too, but those no’s are especially important. You are smart. You know the meaning of this two-letter word. Make it powerful. You do not belong to anyone except yourself. You do not have to do anything you don’t want to do. I’m not sure why this feels like such an overpowering lesson when it seems like it should be so basic. You are your own person. Your life is your own. Do not let anyone else think they get to choose for you.
Learn to stand up for yourself; as soon as you can. It will be tempting to sit around, waiting for somebody or something to make you feel what you’d like to feel; like you matter, like you’ve made it, like you’re safe, you can be you. But the truth is this waiting is USELESS. Not that those ideas or opportunities or people will never come, but that there is no feeling the world which compares to doing it yourself. Mom always told you to be independent. BE IT. I do not mean you shouldn’t ask for help; which may be one of the bravest things you do. I simply mean there is no feeling like the feeling of taking ownership over your life. Of supporting yourself. Taking care of yourself. Standing on your own two feet. Don’t wait to be rescued, have the courage and the talent to rescue yourself.
Say what you want. Say it exactly and specifically. Don’t let people guess. Don’t tiptoe. Just say, “I would like you to leave now” or “I want more time to myself”. Say it to your parents, or to your friends. It doesn’t even have to be a request. It can just be a statement. The things we speak out loud tend to find a way into our minds and lives and hearts.
You will be hurt. [ you will be so hurt, you take it all to heart, even today. ] Anyone who lives life with an open heart will be hurt. So, practice forgiveness. Forgive your brother and sisters. Forgive your parents for not being perfect. Forgive the one who tried to love you but couldn’t. Forgive them so you can move on. Don’t dwell on it, they don’t need to be reminded and neither do you. And when I say, “practice forgiving” I mean, literally. It takes some serious practice. Start with the little things so you are not so caught off guard when the bigger ones come, because they will hit you like a train.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh a little, shrug off the small things. Learn to laugh at yourself, more than everyone else. Learn to fail, the world isn’t going to stop if you can’t succeed [ try, try again ]. You got to keep going. As you learn, you will find a way to success. There is a lot of space in this world. Especially for you.
Be a little louder than necessary. Eat too much every now and then. Don’t shrink down or back off to make other people happy. Laugh your ass off. Every now and then, remind yourself that you have choices and that you can do what you want and that no one else gets to make those choices for you. Don’t worry too much about stepping on toes. Most toes are durable. And the ones that aren’t could use a little stepping on now and then. It’s good for them. Builds strength. And whatever you do, never forget that you deserve to take up space in this world.
“Just keep swimming!”
You are bold. You are brave. You are small and that’s okay.
So, to my 16 year old self, who stumbled into the reality of the world world after her parents divorced [ having it all flip her world, believing her life was about to fall apart ], to the 18 year old high school graduate, to the 22 year old mother of two, to the 23 year old wife, and finally, to the 24 year old, tangled up in the safety net writing to herself today, well done and I’m proud of you but wish you learned to love yourself at an earlier stage.