Dear Teenage Me,
It has been a decade, but I still think about you. When I look in the mirror these days and see the new strength there, I remember how you used to stare back at me from the glass, fear and shame in your eyes. We’ve been through so much since then, and I had a few things I wanted to share.
First: I want you to know that feeling sad is okay. It’s OKAY, and you don’t have to hide your feelings to get other people to be near you. I know you’ve had some people pull away when you attempt to let them in, but TRUST ME, from the future I can tell you there are so very many other people out there… people who will accept you for who you are.
Sometimes you let your fears and shame drive you towards relationships where you are hiding yourself, trying to love someone else enough that they will stay with you. Sometimes you put yourself down, and let other people define who you should be. Dear one, what is the real payout there? It can feel so nice to be cared for, … but it isn’t real if you aren’t being your genuine self and/or if they aren’t willing to be open to your genuine self. That is just bad bargaining. From someone who really bought into this plan for a long time, trust me. It just won’t work out.
Oh, teenage me. You were hurt a lot before you got into this dating thing, but this is NOT your last chance. In fact there is so much ahead of you that it will make your head spin. So many good things, but also a few hard things. There is a future and new places and new people… and most of all, a long journey where you will start to find the acceptance for yourself that you so deeply want from other people. It will take a bit of courage to get there, but I know you have it. One day you will wake up up and everything will be so much better than you thought possible.
Keep your chin up, and be gentle with yourself.
-Me at 27