November 10, 2013

dear me

If you could write a letter to your fifteen year old self, what would you say?

Dear Fifteen year old Anna,

You are so strong. I know it doesn't seem like it, in the midst of losing your first love and the panic attacks and the mind blowing numbness, but trust me... you are the strongest person I know. Fifteen is rough. You learned how to drive that year, you got super into Allen Ginsberg and lugged around that heavy book of his journals for comfort when life got too hard. Your friendship with Noelle grew tenfold that year, through your last Haylofter's kid show and the hard stuff that life always throws at you. She is your best friend, your forever friend, and you will always fight for her as she fights for you.

Remember when family as you knew it exploded forever? Find comfort in your mother. You need her, and as much as she seems like she has it all together 100% of the time, she needs you too. Make her your rock, but support her as she has always done for you. Realize that she is human and she cannot bear all the suffering alone... Remember the introduction of pasta for Christmas dinner, and all the times watching and re-watching Juno on the couch. A hug from her feels whole, at a time when the both of you are breaking.

Take that little film camera everywhere. I know developing film is expensive and you hate scanning the prints (but nothing compares to the eight rolls you send in two summers later after a two week writing camp), but all the documentation is so 100% worth it. When you run out of film, out of inspiration to take pictures, pick up a pen and let the words flow out of you. Write all of that garbage and self-hatred and all of those feelings out of your head. Write the letters that need to be written but never need to be sent. Write down that night over and over again until it becomes bland. Start writing your story, the romance and the mundane and the victimizing. I know it's hard to say it out loud right now, but things will get easier.

You need to learn how to say goodbye, and it hurts--trust me, I know how bad the heartache feels and how, right now, you're confused and babbling and on the phone at 3AM wondering if you're making the right decision. That relationship needed to fall apart so you could separate them, fall out of love with both of them and stop romanticizing your pain, so that you can take the necessary steps to put yourself back together again.

You're so unsure, insecure all the time and listening to the sad songs and trying to figure out where it went wrong. Please trust me that everything will work out in the end. Look past the end of this year, look ahead into the future. I'm waiting on the other side, with a smile so big you could light up the world. And you will. You'll light up the world someday, kiddo, and I love you for that.

xo, Twenty-one year old Anna

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