If Only You Knew

A Letter Dedicated to My 13-Year-Old Self

Dear Baby Girl,

You are not a baby anymore. Today is your thirteenth birthday, and you are finally a teenager. Everyone is going to start asking you, "Where do you see yourself ten years from now?" Well, this letter is coming to you from ten years in your future, and it is important you read this because thirteen is going to start being a significant time in your life. This is a time where everything changes for you.

I know you are having a difficult time now because you moved away from a place you've known all your life. You are doing the best you can to readjust to a new home and being the new kid in school. You miss your friends, your family, everything you once held near and dear. You are struggling because, even though you still have your parents and brother with you, it still doesn't feel quite like home to you.

You will notice that a lot of things are beginning to reach a turning point: some good and some bad. You may not always like the changes right away, and that is okay. Yes, the time is coming when your parents are going to split, but this won't mean your family is breaking up or it's the end of the world. The road ahead is going to lead to a lot of happiness. Just keep focusing on being the best daughter and sister you can be. I promise you that you will always be able to find a positive no matter the situation.

Do not get discouraged. You will return to the place you once called home sooner than you think, but understand that when you do it won't be the same. As time changes, so will everyone and everything around you. Even you will change. It will all be a part of your growth, and it will all be for the better.

I know you may be thinking that when you finally do move out of there you'll never be living in that city again. Well, the saying, "Never say never" exists for a reason. In ten years you'll come back, but your comeback will be stronger than ever, and you're going to start accomplishing some pretty incredible things there. Even some of the talents you possessed but buried away will resurface, and as long as you keep God first you will become successful in those things as well. Don't let these moments haunt you or stop you from achieving your goals. Let it be the fuel to help keep you moving forward. Every success story has its rough moments.

You left some people behind, but the ones that matter will return to you right when you need them. Also, you're going to make new friends. Some will come, and some will go. Everyone isn't meant to ride the journey with you. If they want to leave, let them. Also, be wise with who you choose to let back in your life. Every person who approaches you isn't always coming with the best intentions. However, you've been blessed with good intuition. If the connection feels off, believe in that because you'll find that 95% of the time you're right. Trust your gut feeling. It is there for a reason.

Never let a guy make you feel or believe you are unworthy of love. Some guys are going to enter your life and really hurt you. Some are going to be incapable of giving you the love you need and deserve. Do not remain angry with them. These moments are lessons. In fact, forgive them whether you receive an apology or not. Letting it go is the most liberating experience. I can't tell you how good it feels to see someone who has hurt you and they no longer have any affect on you. If you don't get it now, trust me. You will one day. Plus, every guy out there is not a bad guy. There are some pretty incredible ones out there. A few will become some of the best male friends you could ever have. A few may go beyond a friendship. Some may have hurt you in the past but will surprise you later in life. True love will come when it is supposed to. It will not be rushed or forced. It will come naturally, and it will feel right in every aspect. Always remember that you are enough.

Also, you're going to start thinking about college pretty soon. Try not to stress yourself out with big decisions like that. Everything happens for a reason, and everything will work out the way it is supposed to. Again, trust your gut. If it is too much stress or if you face too many roadblocks, then it is not the path for you. Also, college is going to be a time when you really begin to grow up. You may even surprise yourself with how much you mature. It doesn't mean you're not going to make some mistakes. Some you'll continue to make over and over again until you finally learn the lesson. However, do not regret a single bit of it. The good and bad moments will all add to you becoming a better version of yourself.

Not many people talk too much about life after college. Let me just say, everything isn't going to go according to what you may plan. Actually, you're going to find that it's better not planning out every aspect of your life. I know that when you were younger you thought you would be married by age 24 with your own house and by 26 you'll start having kids. I hate to burst your bubble, but I am 23-years-old now, and I am nowhere near that. It doesn't mean it still couldn't happen, but it is the least of my worries right now. This is a time when you're finally going to start getting a taste of the real world. It won't be easy but hang in there. Just one year after college you'll find that you'll overcome quite a bit.

It is important for you to know that you do not have to have your entire life together by the time you graduate college. In fact, that is the time when your life is only beginning. Everything is not going to fall into place right away. It will come together in pieces, but you have to have patience in order to survive. There is a time and a place for everything, and it will all happen in its due season. Also, understand there are different seasons in your life. Just like Spring is a different time than Autumn, every season in your life isn't going to be a time of growth or prosperity. However, you would never see a flower get upset during the Winter. It remains patient and rests until its due season. So, never lose faith or give up hope. Stay in the fight, and you will see your dreams come to pass.

You do not have to carry the entire world on your shoulders. You do not have to do it all on your own. It is great that you will strive to be independent and not constantly rely on your parents and friends anymore. However, do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when you really need it. You have been blessed to have some pretty incredible people in your corner. You have God, your family, your friends, and loved ones to stand with you and help you carry the loads that are too heavy to carry by yourself.

There will come times when you may feel weak or helpless. Do not underestimate the strength God gave you. You may appear meek to some, but you have already survived so much. By age six you survived being bullied due to the color of your skin. Since age seven you have been handling your peers and even some adults making fun of you and putting you down because of your body type, with class and grace I might add. By age eight you had survived and overcome being a victim of rape, and I'd hate to spoil it for you, but you are about to overcome so much more. You will survive Hurricane Sandy. You will survive your grandfather's passing. You will graduate from college and will go to graduate school. So, do not think any less of yourself. I know you are capable of withstanding this life. You are destined for greatness. If only you knew, and in ten years you will.

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If Only You Knew