February 19th, 2018

Dear 17-year-old me,

It’s a difficult time for you I know. You are busy planning for college, trying to make it through those last few months of college, and dealing with all that you are dealing with at home. I know you are struggling, but I promise you will make it through. I know you had plans for me. You had goals and ambitions and I admire you greatly for that. I tried to listen to you the best I could, but it just didn’t work out.

I know you are strong because I see all that you overcame. I see the pain and the hurt that is in your heart because it is still there. You are still a part of me and you always will be. I thought once I turned 18 and moved away to college you would go away. I thought I would forget about you because remembering is too painful. But no matter how hard I tried I cannot forget you. The truth is you are the very best part of me. When I feel weak, I remember your strength. When I feel sad, I remember your heartache. You get me through my very worst days.

Now I don’t want to forget you. You are a very big part of who I am and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am who I am because of you and all that you conquered. But don’t forget that I am still human. I am more human and more real now than I was when you were dreaming of me. I know you always dreamed of getting here, and well kid, you made it.

You wrote in a letter to me that you wanted to encourage me to push through whatever I am going through and remind me that life isn’t always easy. I still remember. I look back on those days when you were writing that letter, and even before then, and I thank God that that struggle happened. It wasn’t easy, but we made it through. I am glad you endured all that pain so I don’t have to. My life is much easier now. I am happy.

I remember your fear and anxiety. I remember how alone you were and how lost you felt. I remember those days of just barely hanging on and surviving. But you did it. And I am proud of you. I know it wasn’t easy for you but you hung in there just like I am. We’re not that different you and me. I know we are the same person, but in a lot of ways we are not. And though I am thankful for your existence, I’m glad we are not the same. I am glad to be happy and live the life I always dreamed of living. I have you to thank for getting me here.

Right now I am sitting in my dorm room. The one you dreamed of having. The one you couldn’t wait to be sitting in. You anticipated not having to worry about those things anymore and I am here. So relish in that.

I am so proud of you for sticking it through this far. It is astonishing how far you came and how much you grew. Everything led me here and I am happy for that. I am glad you chose to push through and work towards me. I am not perfect, but I’m happy. That’s more than I can say for you. I am excited for the future because if I made it here I can go anywhere. Thank you for choosing me and choosing to survive it all. You almost didn’t, but I can honestly say I am thankful you did. I can’t wait to see where God leads us in this epic journey.

*The letter to my future self was written on June 13, 2015.*