Dear Me--A Letter to My Teenage Self


A letter to my teenage self… 

When I look back at you I remember a fun loving but cautious girl. Don’t be so hard on yourself…because this is who you are and you are likely going to still feel this way for the rest of your life.  It is okay to be quiet.  You will grow to embrace your introverted side in time.


When you see those girls with their hair perfectly in place talking to those cute boys…know you have yet to bloom. One day you are going to find your beauty. And you are going to appreciate it so much more because it didn’t come easy. You are going to meet an amazing man to marry and he is going to make up for all those boyfriends you never had and all those school dances you never got asked to.


It might feel like even though you try so hard you don’t always get it right. That C you got in Algebra 2 isn’t going to matter. You are going to excel in college. Your professors are going to recognize and appreciate your work ethic. You might even be awarded a scholarship for your hard work and it will be one of your proudest moments in college.


And yet though you will finally feel recognized for working hard, for being creative, and for being proud of the woman you become, you were perfect just the way you were at sixteen. You don’t need to be recognized to know your worth. It is okay to not be perfect all the time. You don’t have to have it all together.


But even though you will begin to find a road to walk, keep on writing in those journals, keep on organizing your room, and continue being creative.  Just because a career in teaching seems like your place, you will be surprised that in those quiet moments where you are all by yourself…those will speak to your real passions.  Be true to what you love and don’t feel pressured to take the route the world tells you to take.


In a short few years you are going to mentor a whole bunch of young girls looking for someone to look up to.  It is because you are different that is going to reach them. They will watch you then but I bet they continue to watch you as you become an adult (there is going to be this thing called Facebook and though these girls will move on and grow up they will still be watching from afar--give them something to look up to).


It is in being true to yourself that you will truly excel. You will feel so different. Out of place. But in being out of place you will be true to who you really are. And that is going to be what leaves a mark on this world.

Life is going to turn out a whole lot different than what you ever dreamed it to be. Because it is going to be so much better.  Hang in there sweet girl.  Your time to shine is coming.

Love,
Your imperfect, messy, out of place, 28 year old self

*****


I have been crying all week.  You know, that deep choke in your throat kind of emotion.  Emily Freeman just released her new book written for young women, Graceful.  I ordered two books for some young women in my life but found myself reading it instead.  My sixteen year old self needs some grace.  Twelve years later I still feel like I am healing from the pain I felt from feeling out of place. 

Emily's words in Graceful has the power to give young girls of today hope and freedom from this pressure filled world.  I thought sixteen was hard twelve years ago but it is only getting harder for our sweet young girls of this decade.  Let's spread some hope.

Perhaps you know some young women who could use some more Graceful in their life...or maybe you are like me and your sixteen year old self needs to read it for herself.

Would you take a moment to watch this trailer for the book?  It is powerful.  Choke in your throat kind of powerful.


Linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky with a Letter to My Teenage Self.  Hop on over to read more or to write one yourself.

6 comments:

  1. I love this post. That video is beautiful! I am going through a small group/class right now that reminds me of this. You go back and write letters from who you are now to the girl you were at different stages. It is so powerful and healing. We pick up so much baggage in life we don't even realize! I want to let my balloons go too!

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  2. I love this post. That video is beautiful! I am going through a small group/class right now that reminds me of this. You go back and write letters from who you are now to the girl you were at different stages. It is so powerful and healing. We pick up so much baggage in life we don't even realize! I want to let my balloons go too!

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  3. Ashley, what a beautiful letter. Can we even imagine how different that time in all of our lives would have been if we all could have just realized that we were all suffering in our own ways, and that so much of the suffering we put each other through was to hide our own sense of fear, rejection, not feeling good enough, etc. It's amazing of you to write this letter and put it out there for the world to see -- bravo to you!

    Thank you for the book recommendation. Even if it's meant for younger women, I'm always happy to absorb some wisdom. Just downloaded the sample!

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  4. For someone who felt so out of place as a teenager, you certainly have a firm grip on what it means to be rooted now. Your creativity is definitely an inspiration, but I think what people are most drawn to is your ability to be raw and open about who you are. Not everyone has the willingness to let people see what is really inside and I'm sure you were an amazing mentor. I suppose we all need a reminder sometimes to give ourselves a break, both present and past. Great post!

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  5. I love this post. There are so many things I wish I could say to my 16 year old self.

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  6. That video gave me chills. I worked with the girls in my church youth group for several years and saw so much pain/hurt that they just couldnt let go of ( and honestly I think we have all been there). It is amazing to see where those girls are now. I will totally be picking this book up to add to my library.

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