Dear Scared and Overwhelmed 16 Year Old Self,

One day you will grow to recognize your power, your beauty, your worth.

Oh, you’re laughing?

I know, so cheesy. But you can let that smile come in, you can look up at me and trust me. Listen now: those thoughts in your head that tell you otherwise were never yours to hold.

You don’t have to always be so angry and upset at how unfair the world seems, that your childhood was “different” from what your friends experienced. That you seem like the only one who didn’t get to be happy. The suffering will become the path to healing because the road is from pain to peace. Your strength will lie in all the struggles you’ll overcome.

I mean that. Your strength will lie in all the struggles you’ll overcome.

You get stronger little by little every day. You will learn that emotions won’t and can’t consume you. And even though you’ll still have strong emotions, they will move where they need to. There will be silence between those thoughts one day.

And you don’t have to rely on others to be safe.

I know why you feel helpless and hopeless right now, and it is hard to feel like you have no tools and skills to cope. It’s a losing game to depend on others for your happiness.

So just do your best. Forgive yourself and others as you learn to navigate relationships more healthy than what was modeled within you and around you.

That’s all you can do.

There is no more perfect body, perfect mind, perfect heart, or perfect moment than exactly what you have right now.

Please love all your parts, especially your beautiful, strong and able body.

I feel like I shouldn’t tell you this, but I’m tired of holding the secret in the family for all these years…

Especially love your body, because one day you’ll regret how much you hated and abused her.

It will be a very sad day when you’ll recognize a lot of what you were living was a lie that you have been taught to believe is truth. And when you find the truth, it will hurt a lot less if you can sit with the reality of it and not try to escape. It hurts more up front to sit with it OK?

But you must let it pass through you. You must feel it all to ever fully heal at all.

You must feel it all to ever fully heal at all.

And you know what? You may never fully “heal” in this lifetime. And that’s OK.

Stop chasing whatever you think healing is. Let go of shame and embarrassment for all those things that you wish you had done better or been better at.

The past is gone.

One day a friend will say something to you that is the truest words you’ll ever hear. That day, upon hearing the whole of your story, she will say to you, “Holy Shit, Nicole. You’re a fucking miracle.”

You are. So is she. We all are. Especially those of us who have been placed upon the rocky road and asked to walk it barefoot. When you recognize that miraculousness in everyone, life will taste sweeter. The bitterness and anger will fade. You’ll thank God for this precious life and all of its journey, and will savor every moment.

Love You,

Your 34 Year Old Self