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To my 15 year old self,

You will be loved. Have patience. You will feel the warmth of friendship in many cups of tea. You will find glimpses of peace and happiness among family, a slow reconciliation, mending one step at a time. Open up and forgive. Let go. Trust. You will fall in love when you’ve finally grown used to being alone. You will know the beauty of being kissed by someone who means it with every breath. You will not be forced to give up any part of yourself in return. Don’t give in. Wait for the fairytale. It will come. Fight for it.

You will love yourself. It will take time. It will take many trials, and many errors. You will lose a lot on the journey to get there, and you will cry the first few times you’re able to look at yourself in the mirror and smile. The first time you’ll wear a bikini will be in four years, and it will be a tentative question, and a statement — a sign that you are finally done waiting for permission to your body.

You will feel pain. You should’ve listened the very first time an adult told you to go see a counselor, back in grade 8. You should’ve taken those dark clouds seriously, learned to meditate. Too much weight to carry, but I’m afraid I still have no right answer. Collect the things that keep you calm. Follow wherever your passion anchors you. Let go of jealousy. Strive to the light. Find the sun. Hold the ones you love tighter than you hold your pride and independence. Remember that it is never the end until you choose it, never a night without the dawn. It will be better in the morning. Look up. Smile at the sky and the snowflakes, even if it’s cold.

Win with grace; lose with grace. You will learn that it is possible to be both kind and successful, both humble and strong. It will take time to reign in your fire, control it, and to find your voice without burning out. You will be stronger than you could’ve ever expected. You will lead and you will grow. You will learn, and you will love it.

I think you would be proud of me. It says a lot that I can say that. I hope you soak in every moment of sun, every moment of happiness. I can’t say this ride has been an easy one. I can’t say your next four years are bliss, but I wouldn’t change them for all the stars. I hope you never lose your belief in true love and magic in this gray world of glazed screens. Your passion defines you, even in the face of fear. Take it in, even if it hurts, even if it feels like your world is going to end.

It will be okay.

Love,

L.N. (age 19)

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