write a letter to your younger self: day seven

“This writing prompt is more instructional. It’s a rant, basically. Write something that you wish someone would have told you 10 or 5 or even 1 year ago. Pay it forward. Share your best advice with the world. It can be for you, your children or just for posterity in general.”

It’s funny to think of Stephanie from 10 years ago, because I’ve been looking at her a lot lately. I recently transferred a mess of Hi8 tapes to DVD through this really great service up in Chattanooga, and so I’ve been coming home to little time-capsule-y packages of myself and my life from 2005. I was gifted/cursed with my own camcorder for my fourteenth birthday, and while a lot of my filming style/ability is sort of like a love-child of Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project, it brought so many memories back. I was so young, so naive, so unassuming–I’d never been hurt by the world and it was a totally safe place for me. That’s the Stephanie that I’m writing to.

Dear Stephanie,
Hello, you little darling. You really are darling, even though you feel everything but these days. Yes, you’re taller than your best friend and most of the boys you know and you’re afraid of your body and how fast everything around you seems to be changing. You don’t know it now, but you’re a precious little cinnamon roll.

First of all, a few things we need to get out of the way. The pro of being from the future is that I can give you a few heads up on stuff that’s going to happen to you–me–us. The boy you’re crazy about right now? He’s not going to pick you, and he’s going to tell you why. It sounds like the worst thing in the world to be too wholesome and not enough fun when you’re fourteen, but trust me, he’s not a good match for you anyway. You went to his wedding last year, with the girl he picked instead of you. She wasn’t the bride either, though. And everyone was happy, truly happy. It’s sometimes the biggest blessing in the world when you don’t get what you want.

Second of all, you’re going to be crippled with fear at the prospect of starting college in two years. Yeah, I know. College at sixteen sounds like something that’s only for the “smarter, older kids in the home school group”, but it’s for you too. Don’t back down–you’re not going to be sure why you “rushed through all your college years”, but all your hard work helps you graduate a year early and that frees you up go live overseas for a year. I’m getting ahead of myself, but basically what I’m trying to say is God doesn’t waste anything. All the late nights of juggling work and classes and homework pays off.

But enough about future things to happen to you. I won’t lie, there are some darks days ahead, but they will be significantly less devastating if you learn to forgive yourself for not knowing everything about everything all the time. Sometimes you believe people when you shouldn’t. Sometimes people take advantage of you because you really do believe the world has more beauty than evil and you’re an easy target. You’ll have things pulled over on you and you’ll feel like a fool for not knowing and it will teach you how to protect yourself better.

But there is light and beauty and truth and love–friends and places and feelings and opportunities that you could never even imagine at your stage. Your life will be a series of miracles and moments that you get to own and cherish, and it’s all because God looks out for His own. All your good things, they’re His. Get excited, honey. You don’t even know what’s coming.

And please, no matter what you see, no matter where you go, don’t lose that Pollyanna light that you have. It’s my favorite thing about you and the biggest thing I miss these days. It is better to be like you. The world has enough of those who are broken down and tired with the weights that have so easily beset them–don’t take them with you. I won’t lie, you start to pick them up. Even now, I’m having a hard time letting them go. But hold on to your spirit. Hold on to the way you are. Don’t let the world change you, even if everyone thinks you’re a giant dork right now.

Plus, puberty will be pretty kind to you and big eyebrows have a been a thing for a few years here now and tall is the new short. Good things are coming, little one. Hold on to hope. Hold on to love. Hold on to light.

I love and miss you,
Stephanie

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