Being that we were so very young, this child was the first among all my friends, so she immediately took a special place in my heart. Not to mention all the other factors around this child's life.
For the first few years of her life, I was very close to her. I took care of her part-time while her mom was in school and I spoiled her with presents. I even hand made her an Easter dress, making the pattern as well. After holding her in my arms for hours, I could draw a pattern to fit her little body perfectly.
As time passed and our friendship changed, as most relationships do, my friend and I have not been as close. I rarely see her and speak to her just as infrequently. She pops in and out of my life randomly.
I have always felt a special love for that little girl. She turns 13 in a couple of weeks.
I planned to send her a card with a note and then I got an email stating that her aunt, my friend's sister, is compiling a scrapbook of letters from strong women who have touched the girl's life, whether in a big or small way. She asked us to write a letter to our 13-year-old selves and tell that girl anything we would tell her if we could go back in time.
This is just a part of what I have written:
Never let anyone make you feel like you aren’t enough. You are. You are good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, thin enough. YOU are enough. Anyone that makes you think otherwise is not good enough for you.
Don’t let people make you feel like you have to do things you may be uncomfortable doing. Just because it’s cool or they think it’s fun doesn’t mean you have to feel that way too. Chances are that if they are trying to make you feel weird about not wanting to do it, they really are afraid to do it too.
Live with no regrets. That means that you don’t do things just to fit in or make someone else happy. That means you live as authentically as you can. Be who you are and do what makes you soar inside.
Do not let fear control you. While some fear is healthy and can keep you out of danger, other fear is debilitating and can stop you from growing, progressing and truly experiencing life.
Trust your gut. Always. God gave us all gut instincts. Most people do not trust theirs. Always go with your gut. If you learn to do this, it will never let you down. If your gut tells you to do something that you are afraid will hurt someone’s feelings, don’t worry about that. Do what your gut tells you.
Cherish your friendships, but know when to let unhealthy friendships go. Some people are soul-sucking, learn to let those people out of your life. And some people are only meant to be in your life for a period of time while others are meant to be there forever.
Realize that everything in life happens for a reason. Even the really terrible things that you think you can’t survive. Every experience, good or bad, happens for a reason. Sometimes you won’t know what that reason is, sometimes you are not meant to know, but there is a reason. Embrace the good and bad. It makes you the person you will ultimately become.
Don’t waste time being unhappy. It takes a lot of energy to be unhappy. It is so much easier to choose to be happy.
Learn to forgive. It is hard. Harder for some than for others, but you need to learn to do it. Holding on to grudges is unhealthy for you and it serves no purpose. Forgiveness does not mean you forget or even stay close with someone who wronged you terribly, but forgiving them frees you.
It’s okay to do things for others as long as you truly live for yourself.
Don’t let experiences slip by, but also do not be in such a hurry to be an adult. All those things you think make you an adult really don’t. It’s the time that passes and knowledge you gain with each experience that makes you an adult. Doing the things does not. You will be an adult before you know it, so let yourself be a kid while you are one. Once you are an adult, you will be wishing you had some of that time back.