A Letter to My Teenage Self
Dear fifteen year old me,
Hello from eight years in the future. I’m at a coffee shop in downtown Calgary and you’re in the stairwell at your high school, skipping class. I know exactly how you’re feeling because, well… because you’re me and I’m you! I wish I could tell you everything that’s coming next in our adventure but that would wreck all of the surprises. Instead, I’ll tell you a few things that we’ve learned over the years, things that would really make your life so much easier, in the moment:
Harsh sounding, yes. But let me explain. People are not paying attention to you as much as you believe they are. Think about how much energy and time you spend worrying about what others think of you. A LOT, right? And guess what? Everyone else is spending the same amount of time and effort focused on themselves! That blinding spotlight is a figment of your imagination, a trick of the ego. Everyone else is too fixated on themselves to give nearly as much thought to you as you think they do. Free yourself from the speculation of a phantom audience. Who you are should make YOU happy!
...You are enough.
You are smart enough, pretty enough, fit enough, creative enough, brave enough, fast enough, strong enough, loving enough. You are ENOUGH. You always have been and you always will be. I know you think your self worth is based on what you look like and what you are achieving.This belief is exhausting, damaging and completely false. You are worthy and deserving despite your physical appearance or achievements! So don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be original, your success does not have to be tangible to others, believe your boyfriend when he tells you you’re beautiful, look in the mirror and smile at yourself sometimes, and please stop tearing yourself down! You are a masterpiece simply for being you, simply by existing.
...Don’t starve yourself.
Being thinner will not make you happier. Trust me. You are going to go to France and starve yourself for eight whole months but it is NOT going to be worth it. Your hair will fall out, you will lose your personality, you will break your family’s hearts, you will think you are destined for only failure, and sometimes you will pray to not wake up in the morning. The starving part will be easy and addictive but escaping from the claws of your eating disorder will be years and years of struggle. Refer to the previously mentioned reminder that YOU ARE ENOUGH and don’t fall prey to the demons of anorexia and bulimia because it will not bring you the control, self acceptance and worthiness you are actually longing for.
...Be open to others.
Connection to others is so important. It is opportunity, it is growth, it is meaning and it is colour! You’ve labeled yourself as an introvert but let’s be real, honey- you’re shy. Scared that others will judge you as much as you judge yourself, perhaps. People are strange creatures and yes, they will probably let you down. But trust me when I say that they are always worth it. You have so much to offer others and they have so much to offer you! Relationships in all forms are like a mirror for self discovery and besides, experiencing life is just so much better when you’re with someone else. You won’t find soulmate connections with everyone you come across, but that’s okay! Be a friend anyways. Build as many bridges as possible. And once in a blue moon you will find a truly kindred spirit. Don’t risk missing out on them!
...You are making your own map
You are so guided, so safe and so supported by those who love you, by the cosmos, and by your intuition. I know the pressures of growing up and having to choose your next steps in life. It is easy to grasp on to what’s safe and to always be second guessing your decisions. But please know that you don’t have to map out your entire skyline in one instant. Everything you experience- negative and positive- is becoming a constellation. These individual points may seem meaningless within the moment, but know that they are stars in the network of your story. Interlaced and meant to be. Remember this when you feel lost, frustrated or directionless. Any step at all is a step in the right direction, even if it’s only to show you a different trajectory. Listen to your inner voice and always move towards what sparkles for you. You won’t go wrong and you will eventually be able to look back and see how perfectly everything connected.
I love you and you’re going to be just fine,