Dear Me.

on September 12, 2012 in AnnieWrites, I heart books. with 32 comments by

A letter to my teenage self…..

Dear Me,

The longer I sit here, the less I want to do this.

It’s not you, it’s me.

Well, that’s not really true. It’s not me.

It’s you.

. . . .

I wrote this letter once already. And I wasn’t nice. I was mad because when I get the most honest with myself, I’m mad at you. Like, really mad. I’m mad at how you handled things and how you let lies eat you alive and you never told ANYONE. I’m mad for what it did to your family and to your friendships.

Why didn’t you just say? Why didn’t you just tell your parents what was going on in your head? Why did you feel like you had to keep it all inside? I can’t tell you how much hurt and pain [and money spent on counseling] you could have saved if you would have just said.

If you would have just said how ugly you felt.

If you would have just said the things that made you so worried.

If you would have just talked about the things you heard in your head- about your body, your face, your future. All of it.

If you would have just told the truth.

I mean, if I’m being honest, I’m still writing emotional checks for lies YOU purchased. I’m still fighting battles that you should have fought instead of cowering. And it’s not fair.

I like myself these days, by the way. These days are full of truth and fun and joy and beauty.

I like me.

But I’m still not sure I like you.

. . . . .

Then I went to find pictures to use in this letter and I found this one. And I see this face. This sweet face. And all I do is cry.

This girl who always wore a ponytail and balled up as best she could in every picture- knees up, arms crossed – with the hopes of not looking significantly fatter than the rest of her friends, I can’t be mad at her.

I can only apologize.

I’m so sorry. I’m so. so. sorry.

I’m so sorry for how hard these years are for you. I’m sorry for all the ways you feel like too much and all the ways you feel like you aren’t enough.

I want to hug you. I want to grab you by the shoulders and look you right in the eyes and say, “Annie. Sister. Fight. Don’t give into those lies. Say them out loud. Bring them to light. Please. PLEASE.”

But I can’t do that, 16 year old Annie.

And I’m more than sorry that I can’t.

But you know that I want to, don’t you? Can you feel that? Can you somehow know that 32 year old Annie would rescue you in a heartbeat? So would my friends. So would my family. We would all come back there and rescue you.

We both know the truth of the Gospel- how Jesus is a rescuer and a healer and He isn’t bound by time. I’m grateful for that. Somehow, He has rescued you, when no one else could, and He rescues me all the time. And that, honestly, is the air I breathe and the truth that has set me free.

But today, even in freedom, I am sad. What I thought was just going to be a fun letter to the girl I used to be has actually broken my heart.

I’m really sorry.

Sincerely,

Annie

. . . . .

I just texted Emily, the instigator of all this letter writing biz. I told her this didn’t go the way I wanted it to, or expected it to. [But it is honest, which is everything I wish teenage me would have been.] She said that’s okay. She’s full of grace. It’s kinda her thing. Her book Graceful is Perfectly Unique‘s twin sister- born on the same day.

And it is WONDERFUL. I can’t tell you how much I think you should read it. Really. Go get it. Teenage Annie would have been a different gal if she could have read this book. I’m sure of it.

32 comments

  1. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 8:50 AM  |  reply

    Wow, thanks for the early morning cryfest over here. I love this letter! And your writing. : ) You are AWESOME.

  2. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 9:22 AM  |  reply

    I love this! Your honesty and beautiful writing as always . . . Also, you sister goes to my church here in Atlanta – I just discovered this and was pretty excited about it 🙂

  3. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 9:23 AM  |  reply

    Seriously. I don’t even know you, (well, now I kind of do), but I got a lot teary over here. Good, good stuff.

  4. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 9:23 AM  |  reply

    I absolutely love this. Your writing is so beautiful.

  5. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 9:31 AM  |  reply

    That’s me too, girl. And I thought people wouldn’t understand that I have hard (real) feelings toward my younger self. Like you, my feelings toward her are bipolar, but more than anything I hurt for her brokenness.

  6. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:35 AM  |  reply

    Annie? This is amazing. Poignant and real. Looks like we have more in common than chai tea and Victoria magazine.

    I love you, Annie. You are all kinds of beautiful !

  7. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM  |  reply

    You are reminding me how we all are such a beautiful wrecked up mess. Awesome.

  8. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:59 AM  |  reply

    Beautiful. I am challenged to go have a talk with that sixteen-year-old I used to know.

  9. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM  |  reply

    Thank you for this Annie. Now I don’t have to write a letter to my teenage self. You said it all. I don’t even really know you and I know you are beautiful inside and out. Hugs to you today as you put your heart out there.

  10. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM  |  reply

    Oh, Annie. I’ve debated writing a letter and linking up, but I worried it might come out all anger and “what were you thinking”. But, this? This is it. The real thing. You’re the real thing.

  11. kathleen
    posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM  |  reply

    Teenage Annie was and still is one of my heroes. I always wanted to be brave like you…
    Knowing now how you were hurting inside…well, it makes me sad. I wish I had known. You’re doing good things for all those girls out there who are hurting just like you were.

  12. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM  |  reply

    Ohhhh Annie … This is beautiful. You are beautiful. Then. Now. Tomorrow. You are so soul-deep beautiful that it pours through you. I wept as I read … so touching … honest … thank you for sharing you.

  13. Shana
    posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM  |  reply

    I loved teenage Annie and I love you, 32 year old Annie. You are a light, and I’m so thankful to know you.

  14. Danielle M.
    posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM  |  reply

    Love it. Love your honesty. Your letter to your teenage self was read by me and reminded me of my teenage self who was always insecure about being bigger than all of her friends, too. And now, oh how I would love her. That girl who was horrid to herself and built up walls of perfectionism that imprisoned the grown-up me for a loooooooooong time.

    Sweet redemption? I have a young boy in my life who is very, very much like the teenage me. And I’m getting to speak some massive truths to his sweet, fertile ground heart to counter-act what he might be tempted to believe.

  15. BTC/FM
    posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 2:07 PM  |  reply

    Just look how proud your Dad is standing next to his beautiful daughter !

  16. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 2:19 PM  |  reply

    Thanks for having the courage to be honest, Annie! Teenage tonya was an awful lot like teenage Annie, I think. She tried to express some of the pain to others but it wasnt understood or perceived correctly and caused more stuffing. twenty something tonya is still trying to like herself, it’s a proccess. Maybe thirty something tonya will?!

  17. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM  |  reply

    Crap, Annie. I’m weeping over here. Not because this is so beautiful, which it truly is, but because I hurt for that precious, balled-up, lied-to garla And I just love her. I love her so much. I’m so proud of and thankful for who she has become that I can’t see straight. Thank you for sharing this with all the other balled-up, lied-to girls. We hear you and we’re grateful.

    • posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM  |  reply

      garla? That would be girl.

      Good. I needed a chuckle.

  18. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 2:21 PM  |  reply

    Thank you so much for being ao transparent and honest in your writings. Your letter sounds a lot like how mine would sound to a younger me. I still have some of those same feelings that my younger self had. At 34, I still keep much (too much probably) bottled inside and I know it isn’t healthy but that’s just what I do. Thanks for the words and the act that reminded me to think of how different I am today than I was then.

  19. Emily
    posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 2:26 PM  |  reply

    I so connected with this letter this morning. Thank you.

    Also, I wonder if these books, like Graceful and Perfectly Unique, are actually written and meant for some of us young/middle-aged adults to read as adults so we can find healing for the teenage girls inside of us. I read a lot of Christian inspirational/self-help books like these as a teen, but I found that they don’t always resonate as much in the moment (when I was a know-it-all teenager) as they do several years later. I’m finding that I can’t go back and say “I wish I knew then…” because it is just part of growing up–I think people tried to tell me certain things that I just wasn’t able to comprehend/believe at the time. And I’m not sure what would’ve changed that. Anyway, just my thoughts and experience speaking. SO grateful for the words both you (Annie) and Emily have written as they are really helping me FORGIVE my teenage self and live differently today.

  20. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 3:05 PM  |  reply

    *tears* Lots of tears streaming down my face. I completely identify with your letter, Annie. Oh, how I wish I had the guts to write a letter to my teenage self. I don’t like her. At all. So I sit here with tears streaming down my face and praise our Abba Father for His Faithfulness!!!!

  21. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 3:22 PM  |  reply

    Annie, my heart is breaking for that 16-year old you, too. I get this. My story is different — but my heart is still wrenched from the journey I took anticipating trying to write a letter to my teenage self . . It sounded like just a fun assignment . . And it has been so good for me be invited into it, as it became obvious that the Father has more healing in store for me around my high school years. I wrote about that today, and I am raw. So I understood your words poured out here and the surprise at what surfaces — the sorrow and the anger and the frustration of it all. And I know the hope, too. And that, also, is what makes me so sad, looking back. I so wish that I had known then, what that hope was. . . And oh, how there might not have been so much pain because of that! Thank you, Annie, for beautiful, glorious you. The you right now and the you then. Bless you.

  22. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 6:31 PM  |  reply

    You have me wondering what I would say to my young self. I know we can all relate to your beautiful words.

  23. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM  |  reply

    I just want to give Now Annie and Then Annie hugs. Can I do that?

    My letter to myself didn’t turn out the way I intended or expected either. But still, I think it was good. This is a good exercise. A made-me-cry-half-the-day exercise, but still, a good one.

  24. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:27 PM  |  reply

    Well, you write so well that it makes me never want to write again. So there’s that. 🙂

    You are infused with truth, sweet friend. I resonate so deeply with your words – the only difference is that I think I’m STILL the balled-up, fearful, lie believing version of myself.

  25. posted on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:43 PM  |  reply

    I love your writing, Annie. Your honesty. Your you-ness.

    I used to hunch my shoulders over to hide myself. And so much more I’m not sure I know how to pinpoint right now. (Still considering how to write my letter.)

    Thank you for sharing this.

  26. posted on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:56 AM  |  reply

    Your letter breaks my heart, Annie. I tried to write a Dear Me letter without reading anyone else’s first, but it was too hard. So I gave up (for now) and came to read yours. And I’m wondering how many teenage girls I come in contact with each and every day are struggling like this? Thank you for your honesty.

  27. Angelica
    posted on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:13 AM  |  reply

    Annie, this blog post is perfect! I wish every teenager could read this so they could accept change into their lives! It has really got me thinking!! :)) Annie you are on of the most joyful people I know, whenever I think of smiles and joy I remember your laugh! You make me so happy! You are one of those people that I will always trust because of how real you are! You don’t hide behind a glass door hoping to please people’s ears! So thank you for being genuine! Thank you for being YOU! I love you Annie!!

  28. posted on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:25 AM  |  reply

    I look back at my teenage self and also get mad and sad. This is such a beautiful and honest letter because I think it encapsulates the heavy teenage heart most of us toted around all those years. Congratulations on your book! I wish yours (and Emily’s) had been around for my own teenage self. : )

  29. posted on Sep 14, 2012 at 4:18 AM  |  reply

    […] Annie from Annie Blogs […]

  30. posted on Sep 14, 2012 at 8:11 AM  |  reply

    Thank you for this! Stumbling upon your letter gave me the courage to publish mine. After writing it, I realized it was a lot more negative than I intended, and more than the other letters I read, so I nearly didn’t publish it…but seeing your letter gave me the courage to. Mine is actually quite similar, except that I still haven’t arrived in a place of confidence, at almost 30…maybe in the next couple of years I will get there as well 🙂

  31. posted on Sep 14, 2012 at 9:40 PM  |  reply

    Oh Annie, we are so much alike. Thank you for writing this (and your book). Your words touched the high school me tonight.

    On a side note – I was also on homecoming court my senior year and it was a nightmare in my life also. I didn’t win, thank goodness. I’m pretty sure I would have run out the door if I had. But I did have my first panic attack that night. I had never ever “met” anyone else who was haunted by their homecoming court. Thank you for sharing your experience in your book. Love you!

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