On my 16-year old self

Dear Lyka (circa 2004),

Ten(ish) years from this point in your life your life will not be how you expected it to be, and that’s OK. As your older self, I can tell you that your life changes for the better. You will face many challenges, but I want to let you know you become a stronger woman because of it.

At 16, you were emotional, dramatic, and just a typical 16 year old girl. You won’t grow out of that emotional and over-dramatic thing, for the record, but you learn to hone it.. most of it. It’s ok, it’s a part of you and you will find that the right people accept you as you are. You will outgrow most of your friends, and it’ll be an extremely hard pill for you to swallow, but the friends you get later in life are amazing people with whom you have more in common– and you will always have a place in your heart for your old friends. Always.

Your heart will break several times over– you will do things you shouldn’t have done and will laugh later at why you would ever let people get to you so much. You learn that while people may hurt you, and you cannot help how you feel, you can control how you react– that lesson took a long time, but you will eventually get there. There will be several moments where you think this is the end of the world, and I’m letting you know it really isn’t. Not even close. You will look back at the couple of guys you were so in love with and thank God that it never worked out, because you really change a lot in your 20s. Like, a lot. You will unfortunately become a hardened and bitter woman because of your experiences, but in your mid-20s you realize that perhaps instead of looking at your exes as mistakes and look at them more as.. learning experiences and you grow from it. There is winning, and then there are learning experiences. Don’t beat yourself up for going after what you wanted in the moment, and then learning it wasn’t a good fit for you– it’s how you learn about yourself. I mean.. so Dad was right about that boyfriend of yours that was no good.. a girl’s gotta learn right? The older you get, the better your intuition becomes and the sooner you accept the validity of your inner voice– the more you’ll flourish. While I can’t say that you found someone 10 years from now, I can happily report you won’t settle for less than what you deserve, girl!

Even at 25, you are still learning about yourself, and you’re getting better at accepting the quirks of your personality. You are really quite charming… in an off-color, awkward sort of way, if I do say so myself. Wink. You just have to learn to accept yourself. So your brain never shuts up– you learn you’re introverted. So you’re quick to pick up things about people– you’re an intuitive person. So you like doing random things and going to random places– you’re quite adventurous when you’re not wanting to nap. So you lolly gag a lot when you should be doing more important things– you won’t grow out of that procrastination.. I’m serious, don’t hold your breath.. but you do get shit done at your own pace and no one else’s. You eventually quit fighting your nature, and that’s where it all begins. I can also happily say that no matter how cynical you think you are or appear to be, you really are an optimist. You really believe in the good in people, and when you’re looking for good– you’ll find it.

You will grow so much more outside of the myopic view you have of yourself. Don’t worry so much, life gets much better. You will learn not to need other people’s validation, especially a guy’s validation. You will learn not to care so much about petty things, and focus on becoming a better person for you and you only– not because some guy tells you you can’t do something. You will learn to weed out the negativity in your life and fill it with love. You will eventually love yourself, even though it will be a bumpy road getting there. Last thing, don’t be so hard on yourself.. you are doing so much better than you ever give yourself credit for– embrace those small victories because you will go much farther than you can even imagine.

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