A letter to my teenage self…..
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.
. . . .
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.
. . . . .
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.