An Open Letter to My Sixteen Year-Old Self

Dear “Me”,

Based on further life experience, I think there are a few things that you deserve to know.

First of all, he isn’t the love of your life. No matter what your gut tells you, you’re wrong. You’ll find someone else one day. Trust me, I know. I’m already there. And you’ll get there. But right now, you need to walk away. Because he’s done nothing but hurt you, and that’s all he’s going to continue to do.

Also, just because a boy is scarred, it doesn’t mean you have to fix him. Sometimes, men don’t want to be fixed. They might just be a bad person. You can walk away from that. They aren’t going to kill themselves. They aren’t going to hurt you. Teenage boys like to bark, but they don’t bite. Don’t be afraid to slam the door in his face. He doesn’t deserve you, and he never did.

When it comes to your family, forgive them. You’re going through a lot right now, but you have to remember that they’ve been in your shoes. They know how you feel. But they’ve never been parents of a depressed teenager before. They are learning with you, and they are trying to figure out how to help you without hurting you even more. Sometimes, they don’t say the right things. Sometimes, they don’t do the right things. But try to think about it in the same way that you think about those scarred boys. Just like you try to help them and sometimes feel lost, your parents are trying to help you. Don’t be the person that refuses to change.

By the way, your mom is pretty smart. She isn’t always right about everything, and she isn’t always right about men. But, for the most part, she’s right about you. In so many ways, she knows you better than you know yourself. If she sees you happy and smiling, she’s going to try to keep you that way. Your best interests are in her heart. Stop pushing her away. You ┬áneed each other.

And you aren’t the only one with problems. Look past yourself for a few minutes. Your parents are struggling, too. Your brother is struggling, too. Your sister is struggling, too. Everyone around you is struggling and, whether or not you think it’s better or worse than what you’re dealing with, they deserve acknowledgement, too. You might be hurting more than words can describe, and I understand that. But you don’t need to hurt everyone around you to make it easier.

Thank you for making good choices. Thank you for not smoking, not drinking, and not sleeping around. Thank you for continuing to get good grades. Thank you for staying involved in school. Thank you for not giving up. Yes, I have a lot of advice for you, and I have a lot of things that I wish you would do differently. But, if not for your strength and courage to keep going, I wouldn’t be here to write this letter. You are your own hero, and you deserve all of the praise that comes with that. And, if no one else is going to say it, I’m proud of you. Other people will say that, you know. You should believe them when they do.

And, when a boy tells you that you’re beautiful, believe him. I know you want to be cynical and angry. I know you don’t want to believe it. But you are beautiful. And you are attractive. And you are talented. And you are smart. And, no matter how much you doubt that, you deserve to know it.

More than anything, I want to make a promise to you. Maybe I’m one of the only people who really can. In a world of promises that people can’t keep, I can promise you that everything is going to be okay. I can promise you that you aren’t always going to be alone. I can promise you that you stay strong, and smart, and hardworking. You don’t give up on your morals or your values. You don’t let the hate take you over and destroy you. You keep going. So, yes. I promise that you’re going to survive.

You’re a sixteen-year-old survivor. And, one day, you’re going to be normal. And let me tell you something. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world.

Good luck out there.

-Cassie (2016)