A Letter to Sixteen Year Old Me

Dear Sixteen Year Old Me,

I know life is awful.  You are unpopular and often ridiculed.  People say things like "high school is the best time of your life" and you worry that if this is the best then what hell is going to happen next.  You are berated and picked on for your looks, your interests, even your work ethic.  The boys you like never like you back.  You work long hours after work, which almost saves you from having to explain having no social life.  Sometimes even against your nature, you cry before school because it's such a misery to you.

You won't believe it, but in the years to come, this will be a small blip in your rear view mirror.  You will grow and thrive in adult situations, having been prepared for this throughout your childhood.  You will leave high school a capable person, academically accomplished but also with a practical knowledge about the world that will give you peace of mind.

You are counting the days until school is over, but your educational journey has a long way to go yet.  You will literally "master" certain concepts, you will go for decades on a continuing education journey.  But those days will not involve being bullied in P.E. class.  Instead, you will be a valued, logical contributor. 

Embrace all the ways that you are different from everyone else.  Everything that makes you a "loser" in this environment will make you a winner in the future.  Retain your outspoken nature!  The ridicule you face for speaking up in tough situations now will be of such value to you in the future.  You don't know it, but you are gaining courage by doing this!  In years to come, you will take hard stands on important issues, and you will be able to do so without trepidation.

You sit here staring blankly into a math textbook, but you will make decisions down the road that will make not only make you a "whiz" but you will gain confidence in overcoming such a huge mental hurdle in your life.  Believe it or not, others will look to you for tutoring help in math.  You can do anything you put your mind to.

The boy that targets and harasses you, pushes you and belittles you will grow up to be a deadbeat, and you will grow up to be accomplished.  Don't let his behavior change how you feel about yourself.

You have one friend in high school, and I can tell you, she will be your only friend from this era of your life.  But she will be a lifelong friend, as close as family, and will stand by you during your darkest and toughest times.  Cherish her.

At sixteen, you are neither plain nor a typical "high school beauty."  You worry you blend in, then you worry you stick out like a sore thumb. Learn that beauty is subjective.  But do not worry, you will soon learn that confidence is the most beautiful feature any woman can have, and you will soon be draped in it.

You are so far ahead that you are lapping others, but you only see it as if you are behind.  Just be yourself.  Don't hold back who you are.  You are building a foundation that will one day make an impact in people's lives.  Be happy!  You will find success and love and a balance of self-contentment and ambition that will give you a full life. 

Do not let the darkness of this time in your life put out the fire in you.  Shine on!

You in Twenty Years


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