“I write not to be known, but to know myself”
– Lang Leav
To My 18-Year Old Self,
Sometimes you are like a distant memory and sometimes it feels as though I am living your life all over again. A decade has come and gone, yet I could still remember the overwhelming emotions I felt when I was you. 2009 was the year where life threw us so many curveballs at us; it was the year where we experienced an immense depth and range of emotions we are not quite ready to face.
But we will. And we have.
There are lessons that I want to share with you but it is important to respect the time of learning and trust the process of healing. I wish I could take the confusion and disappointment away but there are some experiences we have to go through, emotions we have to feel and heartbreaks we have to endure, in order to grow.
For the longest time, pain is all I could associate with this year. It seems like something is broken inside you and no matter how hard you try, you can never fix it. There are going to be days where you replay the year, wondering where you did wrong or what you could have done more.
You are just doing the best you can with the information you have at the present moment. And sometimes, things just happened to you. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The best thing that you could do for yourself, for us, is to embrace these feelings. Your experiences matter, even if it may pale in comparison with the stories you hear.
Some days, you’re going to look at this year and see it a little differently. Grief means that you feel unconditional love. Betrayal means you trusted your friends. And heartache means you believe in the magic of love.
There is a reason for the way things work out. You may not understand it now, or see it immediately but one day you will become the person you desperately needed when you feel so lost and alone. All the while you were searching for an anchor, you become the person you needed when you couldn’t reach out to anyone. You become a beacon of light and pillar of strength for people close to you, and mostly, yourself.
You are not broken.
You are a survivor.
It may seem that you’re hauntingly alone in this world. You will meet and resonate with people with similar vibrational energy. Be gentle with yourself as you open your heart to new people and experiences. The ability to feel emotions in multifold is a blessing, not a curse.
As the years go by, there will be some bad days, but don’t let the bad ones outweigh the good. Continue to see good in everybody, but do not be blinded by the evil. A heart like yours is so raw and pure, a rare gem. And the world we live in could use some of that kindness.
I’m writing this to tell you, my past self, that I love you even when you don’t love yourself that much now. Our story may not be glamorous but it’s a journey of self-acceptance, healing and growth.
Remember to have a little faith, and be gentle with yourself in the process.
Your Future Self.