Dear Teenage Me,
You’re going to get a lot of different messages about what a relationship should look like. These messages will come from many different places—from your friends, family, and from movies, television, and music videos. Please remember this: only you get to define what you want.
You’re also going to get a lot of different messages about how important it is to be in a relationship. And, at times, you will feel like there is something “wrong” with you because you are not in a relationship, especially when all of your friends are in one. Nothing could be further from the truth. Never feel like you need someone to complete you, or that you need someone to make you feel worthy and valuable. You don’t. You are complete and whole and perfect just the way you are. In fact, being single—or as I have come to think of it—being awesome—will end up being some of the best and most meaningful experiences of your life. Slow down and enjoy it. The next best thing is not necessarily right around the corner. Sometimes it’s the person looking back at you in the mirror.
That reminds me—try your best not to caught up in all the media scrutiny and fixation with women’s bodies and thinness. Thin does not equal healthy. Thin does not equal beautiful. You might not realize it now, but you’ll have much bigger and more meaningful things to do with your curious brain then distract it with that body-scrutiny garbage. Love your body—it has taken good care of you. Please take good care of it back.
One last thing: When the time comes to shed your skin and you say goodbye to your relationships, please be kind and gentle to the people you are letting go. They have loved you. That have trusted you. You have loved them. And, you have trusted them. You both deserve respectful goodbyes. They will hurt. You will hurt, too. But, you will know in your heart when it’s time to walk away. Doing the right thing can be scary, but it’s during the most difficult moments that we find our strength and our purpose.
You’ve got one amazing life to live kid. So, go live it with joy, curiosity, and an open heart.
Love, your 36 year old self.