Where do I even begin? Your life is so much greater than you could ever imagine that it would be at 17. I don’t even know how to recount the numerous adventures and changes that you have gone through that have brought you some of the most precious things you will ever have. First of all, I want to remind you that it gets better. You feel so alone right now, surrounded by people who do not see the real you and would judge you if they did. You are uncomfortable in your own skin. In fact, you hate your body, but I promise that you are going to find freedom in self-love. Those “friends” that you give your heart and soul to but receive only judgment from in return, they will fade. In a few years you will discover what true friendship actually feels like and it will hold you tight. I can’t even remember how many times you have been telling yourself you will never find love. And it isn’t your fault; you hear it enough from others every day. You have begun to doubt yourself. You are doubting your beauty and you are doubting your worth. You are beautiful and worthy; you just haven’t met the man who will worship those things about you yet. So, hold on and keep believing in true love because I know you are about to give up.
Speaking of the man of your dreams, he is fantastic! He is every fairytale you have ever wished for and every prayer you’ve ever said. He loves you unconditionally and with the passion that you’ve always wanted but never believed that you really deserved. And he’s searching for you too.
Remember that high school isn’t everything and even though you are unhappy, you panic at the thought of going to college. Accept the wonderful change ahead of you because it is so much better than anything that you are leaving behind. Don’t forget to cherish these moments, though. Remember the way your heart races when you walk across the stage and win so many awards for your intelligence (and stop being embarrassed that people think you’re too smart) and savor the adrenaline rush when you step onto that volleyball court. Enjoy your time here but know that the future ahead is blindingly bright.
Please start taking care of yourself. You are going to find friends who accept you and encourage you and a man who loves you with his entire being, but until then, step away from the treadmill and stop skipping lunch. Nourish your body because it going to take you to so many wonderful places. Stop punishing yourself for not being Barbie. You deserve so much better than the hate that you give yourself. You’ll learn to love and nourish your body, but start taking steps now.
Finally, never say yes to anything that you do not deserve. Stop saying yes to the judgmental friendships, or the silent treatments, or the feelings of unworthiness. You deserve more and I promise you will find it. There is so much more that I wish I could say, but I want you to experience all of the love and laughter along the way. Stay strong. I promise you’re going to make it through.
*Disclaimer: I know this is a different (more personal) post than I normally do but I think writing letters like this can be very healing. I also wanted to share some of the encouragement and lessons that I wish I had known when I was younger and perhaps inspire you to write your own letter.