Dear Fourteen Year Old Me,
As I creep up on age 38 and my daughter is inching towards middle school I have been thinking back to you. I have decided there are a few things I think you should know.
First of all, relax. Very few of the things you stress so deeply on today will matter in 25 years. Or 10 years. Or 1 year. For instance, your braces. I know you’ve worn them for what seems like forever but you are going to be so happy when they come off. You’ll still have big teeth but they’ll be straight and make your smile part of who you are.
Also, acne. It’s never going away. Take your medicine, stay out of the sun, don’t pick and don’t stress. Everyone gets pimples from time to time. If not, they’ll get something else like wrinkles or freckles or skin tags or…. Let it go. You seem to think everyone looks better than you. They don’t. You and your friends are going to lament face conditions for the rest of your life. Embrace what you’ve got.
And that guy? The one in the picture? He’s going to break your heart. Along with a long string of others that follow him. Don’t let it jade you. And especially don’t let his opinion (or anyone else’s) of you color who God has created you to be. He’s just a kid and he’s not going to know any better than to treat you bad. None of them are. It’s not you. You are precious. Don’t try to change yourself to be what someone else is wanting. Look for friends (and boys) who can see the greatness in you. One is going to come along very soon who is so special. You’re going to make fun of his white jeans and hoop earrings but try to go easy. You’ll be buying his pants for him one day.
Maybe try to not roll your eyes at your mom so much. And quit slamming doors. It doesn’t make you look cool and it breaks her heart. She’s strong and very tough and can take a lot now but there’s going to come a day when that’s not the case. You’ll wish you had more time so take it now. And pay attention when she makes gravy. It’s never going to be your forte and you’ll wish you’d watched.
Stop perming your hair.
Spend more time with your friends and less time with boys. And tell your friends the same. Those girls will be in your life forever in some form or fashion even though you’ll spread out across the country. You’ll celebrate weddings and babies. You’ll cry over heartaches and pray each other through tough times. Those are the people you need to invest in.
That size 3 you are wearing may never happen again. But next year, when you are a size 4, you need to know that you aren’t fat. You are strong and healthy. You will have to work to stay healthy and, in the future, your body will fight against you. But you need to know that whatever size you are, 3 or 12, you are worthy of love and you are beautiful.
Don’t waste you money on dying shoes ever again. You’re going to step in a big puddle and ruin the ones you have on.
Slow down. Time is a priceless currency. You’ll never feel like you have enough (except in history class and that’ll feel like eternity) and you’ll always wish you had spent it wisely.
Try your best to be thankful for all you have and ask God for grace enough to see all he’s given you as beautiful – both the easy, the hard, the good, and the bad. He can redeem anything for good.
Oh, and quit smearing baby oil all over yourself. Try some SPF. You’ll thank me later.