Prompt: Dear 16-year-old-me. Write a letter to yourself at age 16. What would you tell yourself? What would you make your younger self aware of?
Background info: At the early age of 16, I had already started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. I believe I began experimenting with other drugs later that year too. And my dating life was in full swing. Panic attacks would rarely hit, but when they did they were bad enough to make me feel faint and unable to be around others.
Dear 16 Year Old Me,
Your beauty is unfolding, but you still believe that you look hideous. Your family life is in constant turmoil and instead of talking about it, you cover those feelings by getting drunk or high. Your refuge is going out on the weekends and going to school (as much you tell everyone you hate it). Able to eat anything and not gain an ounce, you cry wishing you looked normal instead of thin. The teasing by girls and even worse by boys is incessant and you take every jeer to heart.
Look around at those friends who love you, who stick up for you. Those are people who care about you. When your parents fight, it isn’t your fault. Don’t take the blame. Learn to accept them for who they are: incapable of giving affection, but loving parents with issues of their own. If it gets to be too much to handle, talk to your favorite teacher. She would listen and get you help.
When you feel that fear creeping in, don’t stifle your feelings. Let your mother know. She understands because she has anxiety too and so does your younger sister. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Eat and enjoy it! Think of what those bullies will look like just 5 or 10 years from now. While you’ll stay thin for a long time and have curves in the right places. They’ll be wishing they could be like you when the pounds start adding on.
Live in the moment, naturally. You never know what the future will bring and that lesson will come in very handy one day.
And most of all, love yourself. You are funny, smart, a good friend, a loving daughter and sister, and pretty.