Yesterday I noticed a lot of the people that I follow on Twitter tweeting with the hashtag #tweetyour16yearoldself. I tried all day to think of one small thing to say to my former self and couldn’t think of only one that was good enough. My 16 year-old self and I need to have a sit down and say more than 140 characters can hold.
Dear 16 year-old me,
I have some things that I need to say to you. I’m not going to chastise you for skipping school those two times to go to the movies or all the pot you smoke. I’m not going to tell you to stop partying and drinking so much because, you really don’t do it a lot and all in all, you are a good kid. I’m not going to tell you to stop messing around with other girls’ boyfriends because you think it is less complicated and less dramatic than an actual high school relationship…you’re actually right about that. The things I want to tell you are things that are meant to save you. Save your heart from being broken by people you love and trust. To save you from yourself when the resentment of these foul people starts to eat you up. I want to help you be whole and happy.
-Never underestimate your ability to love and be loved. No matter what people tell you, no matter the harsh comments made to you and about you, you are actually a pretty swell girl. One day you are going to love and be loved more than you thought possible. Just hang in there.
-You father doesn’t love you and he never will. I’m not saying this to hurt you or to be dark. It’s a fact of life. It’s a shitty hand of cards dealt to you. My telling you this now will save you from all those years of trying to make peace with him. Don’t try to make time to see him or spend with him because it will be a one-sided endeavor that will result in your finding out that he is using that time with you to make snap judgments about you and telling people what a bitch he thinks you are even though you are being as charming and nice to him as you can muster. It’s too late for me to save you from growing up to be a girl with serious daddy issues. Your future husband is going to have to deal with a lot of your issues and he’s going to have to work really hard to get your trust. None of this is your fault. The things done to you and said to you will never be recognized. You have good reason to resent your father and your efforts to have a relationship with him despite what he’s done to you won’t be appreciated or wanted.
-You have thin skin as a result of the way some of your family members have treated you. When people in your life hurt you and you react (even if the hurtful act was petty if not cruel and deserves no more than an eye roll) don’t let anyone tell you that your reaction is wrong. You have a heart that pumps blood as red as everyone else’s and your feelings get hurt in the same way.
-It might be worth it in the long run to tell some of your teachers (and the principal) to kiss your shiny white hiney. Refrain from giving them the finger, though.
-Laugh. The ability to find humor in shitty situations will be something that saves the lining of your entire digestive system.
-Enjoy the relationship you have with your brother. Not all siblings enjoy the closeness and easiness you two have.
-Go easy on your mom and remember that despite everything, she loves you.
-You’re always going to miss your grandma. As you get older, your reasons for missing her are going to get more complicated. Losing her never gets easier, your life just becomes accustomed to being devoid of her mouth-full-of-food-and-talking presence.
-Let your defenses down sometimes. If I could travel back in time, I’d give you a hug because I know how much you need one sometimes, but other people don’t realize that you need hugs because you can sometimes come off as hard and flinty. A lot of people don’t need to see the squishy inner you, but some people (particularly those close to you) need to see it sometimes.
-Don’t be eager to give your trust to people simply because of the role they have in your life. It comes back to bite you in the ass more times than you’d like. That indignant smartass attitude of yours that keeps you cynical and suspicious of people isn’t always a bad thing.
-Anyone who throws God in your face as a way to make you feel guilty for the way you are have skeletons in their closets that make your skeletons look like fuzzy kittens. Ignore these people.
-You’re a neat person. Nobody your age is immune to self esteem issues and self-doubt. You grow out of most of it. Not all of it, but you do get to a point where you can be comfortable in your own skin and can see the greatness in yourself.
-Last but not least, you are right to not jump on the I LOVE BRAD PITT bandwagon. The man doesn’t age very well.
Who else would like to go back in time and give their 16 year-old self a big hug and tell them things work out to be alright in the end?
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