Hi. I am you, 16 years and 11 months from now. Don’t we look good? 🙂 Guess what? We are happy! We have found joy beyond measure. There are some things you need to know that you could not possibly understand right now, and that is okay. You’re not supposed to. I am here to show you. Let’s begin.
First of all, mind your appearance. Will you please stop wearing black?! It is not flattering. Also? Smile more. Seriously. I know it’s your face, and it’s not your fault, but try. Smile. It is contagious. You look sad. All. The. Time. Stop it. No one wants to be friends with Betty BlackShirt all the time. Also? Do your hair. And actually do something with it. Your hair will come to define you in many ways: short and pixie-ish feels the most like you (can you imagine?!), chin-length and wavy is the style of the moment. It will be every color in the book, except black. You will meet your husband on the first night you ever rock a blue Mohawk. No, really. You will. So, wash it. Do it. DO something with it. And enjoy it the color it is now; your first pregnancy will change that, among other things.
Secondly, enjoy your friends, but know they won’t stick around for the next 15 years of your life. You will talk to very few people that you talk to now. It happens. And start being nicer to people you’re not friends with. There will be this amazing tool called Facebook, and it will reunite you with those people whom you never imagined you would be friends with, ever. Trust me. So be nice to everyone, even if they are rude to you now. They will reach out to you later on, and you will become closer than you ever thought possible.
Third, love openly. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. Don’t be afraid to express emotions of love, affection, and caring, even if they don’t make sense right now to you. Little in life makes sense to you, and that’s okay also. It’s not supposed to. But don’t be afraid to explore your opportunities and options for loving relationships. It doesn’t matter who you love, but that you love.
Please be kinder to your parents. I know you think that they don’t understand you right now, and I know you feel like they never will. But they will. They do. They will be the ones standing when everything else falls down. They will be your biggest fans, and they will become your anchors in the storm. Trust me when I say this, your mother is not always wrong. In fact, she’s right more than she’s wrong. Believe me. You have to have faith in them and their abilities. Yes, they may not always seem fair, and yes it may always seem like someone else is getting more than you in some ways, but be nicer to your parents. They will become your strongest allies and your best friends.
Be kind to your siblings. They will be around for you a lot, and you will need them to be. You will not always get along with them, but they will always be there, and you need to relish that. Not everyone gets the chance to have siblings, so don’t abuse the privilege. Be kinder. Sweeter. Don’t fight it.
Trust your instincts. You’re a smart cookie. Trust your gut. Know who you are and own it. It will be one of your most endearing qualities as you age. Knowing who you are, what you believe, and standing up for yourself and your beliefs will be the one thing many people know you for. So start now. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are, what you believe, how to think. Own your junk. Serve the under-served. Even if they don’t want it, fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. Give them a voice. It will serve you well.
You will know love. You will know joy and pain at the hands of others. And it won’t be just once. You will know how to find happiness. True happiness. It is not found in a relationship with someone else. It is found in your relationship with yourself. Love yourself. You are not what they say. You are beautiful. You are worth it. YOU matter. You will fall in love, and out of love, many times, only to marry the one person least like you than you could ever dream. You will have babies, and they are beautiful. You will be the mother of three amazing daughters, so start working on you now, so you can be ready. You have to teach them how to love themselves above all others. It is your job to teach them to use big voices, and to speak big words to fight for what they believe in. You have to teach them that it is okay to love and lose, as long as they love. And you will teach them what a strong, beautiful, and brilliant woman looks like. You will be who they want to become.
You will teach others how to tell their stories, so you need to know how to tell your own. And it won’t end with, “they lived happily ever after.” It will end with, “and she lived her life the only way she knew how: loving until it hurt, laughing until she cried, and honoring herself and others, no matter the cost.” Start knowing your story, pay attention to your surroundings. So take notes and be ready to participate in this thing called life, no matter what happens to you or those you love. Time flies, and that’s a fact. You will be where I am sitting before you know it. And let me tell you, from here, the view is awesome.
Never forget who you are. And you will never take for granted where you go.