Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Me,
Forgive yourself; the things that have happened are not your fault. I’m really sorry they hurt, but none of them come out on top. Although they have a knock on effect for the next few years, you get through it. I know that nobody has really told you that, but you will be okay. We are okay. Even though you can’t imagine right now how they possibly could, and you can’t see a way out, things do get better. One day the unbearable pain you feel now will serve you in greater ways than it was given, and you will draw strength from it daily.
You have not lost who you used to be, nor who you are — you’re still a funny, smart, passionate young woman who is filled with a rainbow of ideas and ambitions. You may be going through a (very, very) rough patch right now but I promise you that the wall you see between you and the person you want to be will crumble. Just, don’t hurt yourself. You’re strong enough to deal with the pain without hurting yourself like that; you just need to find the strength. I promise it is there.
You’re not alone, even when you think you are. You’ll make friends that will make you laugh, and that will make you love yourself, and your family loves you more than you think they do. A lot of the things you think are unspeakable actually aren’t. There is nothing that will horrify the people you love, and the sooner you learn to be honest with people, the happier you will be. Talk to them; they’re there for you. Also let them know you’re there for them too.
Love without fear. People leave and things happen, which means you spend a while trying to heal and learn to love again. It’s not the end of the world (we’re young, for goodness sake), and there are more important things out there than having that someone to love and cuddle you when you’re sad. If you do need a cuddle, go to mum, or dad, and your best friend on four furry, adorable legs is always there.
You see the good in people, and we still do now; but, sadly, not everybody is a good person, no matter how much you try and hope they are. Don’t stop believing people can be good, just be wary and realise not everybody can be.
You spend a lot of time searching for reasons for all the horrible things that happen in the world. This isn’t something you can ever understand, unfortunately. Relax and accept that you can only change yourself, not the whole world. You’re doing everything you can, and that’s so admirable, but it’s also okay to feel helpless sometimes.
It’s important to stand up for what you believe in. Even though you always want to melt into the background like a tiny fragile snowflake, don’t let yourself be persuaded into thinking like the masses. Your opinions and beliefs are valid. Shout them from the rooftops. If it means you have different views to friends and family, don’t panic. They’ll accept you for you who are. The rest don’t matter.
Believe in yourself.
Do more of things that make you happy.
Keep reading and writing and deepening your love for literature.
Don’t hate yourself for mistakes you make; they’re completely necessary for you to become who you’re meant to be.
Expand your horizons; the world is bigger than your pocket of low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety lets you believe.
Love yourself, love others, and remember to be grateful no matter what.
When you climb into bed exhausted after another terrifying, daily battle with the world, feeling like you’ve lost all hope of seeing that sunny horizon once again, remember that I love you and so does your family. We always have and we always will.
Lastly, remember, time heals, and you are a strong, bright, wonderful young woman. I believe in you.
Me. You. Us.
Katie-May currently lives in the UK but is constantly dreaming of all the places that lay waiting across the horizon. Currently a university student, she often still wonders what life would have been like had she achieved the dream her three-year-old self had of becoming a blackbird. More than anything, she enjoys reading, seeking out adventures, dancing to Fleetwood Mac, expertly miming to ABBA, and secondhand bookshops.