Below is a letter I wrote to myself when I was 16. I wrote a letter to myself the year before, but it got lost somewhere along the line. This one is important though. I read it every once in awhile to remind myself of where I was. It was a few months after my mom died, and I was struggling to feel normal. I was having problems relating to friends or my family. I isolated myself a lot. I was holding a lot of things in and pretending I was fine, but I really wasn’t. I don’t know what made me want to change things, but I wrote this letter with the intent of moving on. I put it in an envelope, sealed and wrote 5-19-14 on the front. I opened it a little late, in July of 2015 when I started packing my room up for college. I had forgotten to open it or even write a new letter in 2014, but I’m kind of glad I opened it when I did. I really needed to remind myself of these promises. I still do. I need to remind myself of new promises, so I’m going to write a new letter and put it in an envelope and wait a year. Or two. I think I’ll open it exactly when I need to.
Well, this year wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. I never though Mama would be gone. It’s okay to miss her. It wasn’t okay hold everything in and to try to look strong for everyone else. I’m struggling with this a lot right now and I don’t have a clue how to deal with it. Just, never forget her. Read her writing, look at her pictures, listen to her music. Remember the good times especially, when she was happy and healthier. Little details are important. Don’t fixate on things you regret or things that will never happen now. You’ve been forced to grow up a lot in the last year, but it’s important to just be a teenager sometimes. Control your temper. It will get you in trouble. I stand by what I said in my last letter. Your friendships will always be more important than a boy. Dance is so important to you, work on it constantly. Don’t defeat yourself, don’t give up. Show Ms. Mel, Ms. Christel, and Ms. J how much you want to improve. Show yourself. Stop hating yourself. There are so many wonderful things you ignore about yourself. Don’t lose sight of that. Some things may seem unlikely now, but you can never know the future. Don’t get impatient with Linda. She’s sick and can’t help that. She loves you. Just be patient with her and with daddy. They both expect a lot out of you, and that’s a good thing. I know how hopeless things can seem. I’m sitting here crying right now because life just doesn’t seem worth living without Mama. And I’m so confused and terrified of what’s going to happen next. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In any situation, ever. It sucks right now, but life is worth living. Don’t give your time to people who don’t give you any of theirs. Your real friends make you laugh when you don’t want to. They listen. They won’t get offended or become judgemental when you’re honest. You know who you can count on. Those people are your friends; treat them like it. I can’t lie to myself. Everything is harder now. But I believe in myself to keep going and get better. Some advice:
- Always always always be kind to other people.
- Be patient with everyone.
- Be realistic in your goals, but don’t limit yourself because you’re afraid.
- Be honest, to your friends and yourself.
- Never half ass anything.
- Surround yourself with positivity.
- Do what makes you happy, even if it doesn’t make other people happy.
- Keep your damn room clean.
- Don’t mess up your perfect GPA in AP English. Make an A, please, please, please. 🙂
Allison B. Bradshaw