Dear 16 year old Jenn Jenn,
I’m writing you to let you know that no matter how hard life seems right now – it will get better. I know you are frustrated, and that you feel alone. You feel uncomfortable in your own skin and unsure of what the future holds…but believe me when I say it’ll all be worth it.
Those kids making fun of you for being so skinny and not wearing make-up – ignore them. Because soon enough you will grow into a beautiful, independent woman who will be so strong-willed that you won’t take that kind of crap from anyone anymore.
You will know your worth, finally – and you won’t settle for anything less than you deserve.
Keep writing. Write down every thought and feeling that comes your way. Carry around a notepad because you will never know when inspiration will strike. It could be a sudden warm breeze that you feel through your hair on a summer evening that’ll inspire you to write about how free you feel, or it could be those late nights you spend lying in bed wide awake, mind racing, when you’ll be motivated to share your deepest secrets. These inspirational moments can strike at any time and you want to be prepared because that’s when the good stuff comes – when you least expect it.
Stay true to who you are. Don’t change your beliefs and your morals just to fit in. It’s ok to be different, it’s better that way. You see things, the world, in a different perspective.
Keep that optimism and faith in humanity, because lord knows we need more of that.
When it comes to dating and relationships – slow down. Slow down, and before you even begin to think about allowing someone else to love you – learn to love yourself.
Love yourself enough to know that your validation and worthiness does not stem from the attention you are so eagerly seeking. All these boys you think are ‘oh-so-cute,’ and are ‘in love’ with, trust me – there will be plenty of that in the years to come. And one day, you’ll find someone who makes you a better person; someone who will feel like home.
Love yourself enough to know that what you’re feeling is normal. It’s normal to be scared; it’s normal to question yourself. It’s also normal to have urges and desires. It’s normal to want to try different things – but never, ever let someone else pressure you into doing something you are not comfortable with or ready for.
Throughout life you will be faced with challenges and opportunities, and it is up to you to realize that the decisions you make today will affect your life from that point forward. No matter how insignificant they may seem at the time – they will, I promise you that.
Learn to forgive. I know you have been hurt. Things have happened to you that no child, or adult, should ever have to deal with. Never forget what has happened – but dig deep, really, really deep – and search for the strength to find forgiveness. Know that while there are some really horrible people out there – there are actually good ones too.
Not everyone is going to hurt you, but if you hold on to that anger, that disgust, you may be blocking off the chance to allow the good people in.
Those endless nights spent crying yourself to sleep, those nights where you’re too scared to go to sleep…scared of what comes to you in your dreams, and what wakes you as you lay in bed – those are the nights that are building you. They are making you a fighter; a survivor. I know you feel weak and powerless, I know you feel like giving up – but don’t. Know that deep down you will be a better, stronger person in the end.
Use your sensitivity as strength. You are kind and compassionate – never lose faith in yourself or humanity. Always try to find the good in people.
Every thing that happens to you, both the good and the bad, will contribute to making you who you are supposed to be. Take the lessons you learn from each situation and apply them to all aspects of your life. Find the strength to overcome the hardships because you can use your experiences to help others who are struggling to find that strength.
You are meant to do amazing things. You are meant to be a voice for people who feel as though they don’t have one of their own. You are meant to do amazing things – and you will, because you will overcome each and every one of these hardships. You’ll power through, strong and resilient, coming out better than you were before. It won’t be easy, and it’ll take time – but you will push through and find that strength. If not for any other reason than finally realizing that you can.
Spend more time with your family. Right now you feel as though they will always be there, but they won’t. Right now you feel as though your time would be better spent out with your friends, but it won’t. These friends may come and go – but your family is there for life. Sit down and have genuine conversations – and actually listen. Ask to hear about their childhood; their teen years. Learn and soak in everything you can about your family’s past.
Finally – laugh, a lot. Laugh a lot and laugh often. Embrace your loud, infectious laugh – and laugh as often as you possibly can.
Keep happiness in your heart and continue doing what you can to spread that happiness with those around you.