Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dear Me at 16 Years Old

Dear 16 year old Tracey,

A friend of mine just wrote a book addressed to teenage girls.  As part of her promotion she wrote a letter to herself at 16 and asked her friends to do the same. 

First things first, stop wearing so much flannel and grow out your bangs.

Seriously, I wanted to talk to you about a couple 3 things. School, Church, and Family.  But before I do, I want you to know that I am not asking you to change anything.  Every experience you have had and will have has shaped you into who you are today.  You are a better person now because of what you are going through now.  I just want to give you some encouragement and some insight into the future.

Right now, you really don't like school.  You spend your time there pretending like you are shy and quiet.  You are very aware of your complexion and your clumsiness.  Your complexion gets better.  Unfortunately you still walk into walls and tables all the time.  Sorry. 

You are going to school at a really good high school.  I mean it's a 10.  What this means for you is that you are not quite the smartest but you are above average.  It puts you in a very weird in between place and you can never really find where you fit.  Just know that there will be better days ahead.  You are going to go to college where you are one of the smartest people there.  They will reward all your hard work with lots of scholarships.  Your 34 year old self is really thankful for this and so is your future husband because it means you don't have college loans to pay back.  Nice work!  You and Matt can continue to joke about the "dumb corner" of the honors classes because deep down you know it's not true.  Trust your instincts and keep working hard.

You will go to a few dances and have one boyfriend who will break your heart.  You will go to college still broken hearted but don't worry.  It changes really quickly.  By October of your freshman year, you will have met and started dating the man you are going to marry.  You're welcome.

This is not the heart breaker.  But I had to post it because you are wearing a velour dress.  Lovely choice.

You go to a good church.  Your family is there all the time.  While your parents know that being at church is not being a christian, you somehow miss this.  You will spend the next 2 years making sure you are at every event and every service when the church is open.  You will quit track and basketball to make sure you don't miss any youth groups.  You will regret this, but it's ok.  Someday you will learn about how it's not about being at functions and doing things.  You will learn it's about grace and mercy.  Which reminds me, you should read Emily's book.  It would help you with all of this.

One really good thing that comes out of your church life is your friend Kate.  You have already known her for many many years and you are only 16.  You already recognize her importance.  Just know that she is still around in your life.  Actually she's the only one that you are close to from this point in your life.  You will have "Facebook" friends from this era but you won't really be friends with them. (Side note, Facebook is coming in the future and will be a huge time sucker.  It's ok though...I'll let you learn about that on your own when it comes)

Right now you don't really like being part of this family.  Your sisters are both at college and you are home by yourself.  You don't really have any relationship with them right now.  It's ok.  You will even though one lives 12 hours away and the other lives a continent away in Africa. 

Give GiGi as many hugs as you can.  She won't be around forever and you really will miss her.  When she dies, you will get a few random things from her apartment.  One of those things is her umbrella.  You will still have it many years later.  It sounds silly but you love that umbrella.

Your mom right now is pretty awesome.  You recognize that.  Be extra nice to her.  She is going through some rough times herself.  You really don't have a clue about any of it, but an extra hug or 2 from you might be really nice.

Which brings me to your dad.  If you hear nothing else I say to you, I want you to pay close attention here.  Right now things are rough.  Your dad and you don't get along.  You bicker and fight about little things.  It always escalates to screaming matches that end up with both of you with really hurt feelings.  Your mom will do her best to referee (again an extra hug for her would be helpful).  It's not going to get better for some time yet.  Don't worry though, it does.  And boy does it ever.  You need to think about this like you would Easter.  Easter is amazing.  It's the crux of the Christian faith.  It's about redemption and forgiveness.  But yet you can't get to Easter morning without first passing through Good Friday.  This is your Good Friday.  It's hard.  It sucks.  You both are miserable. 

But Sunday is coming.  You will reconcile.  You will learn how to love each other.  Your relationship will be one of your favorites down the road.  And I have a secret.  Someday you will have so much respect for your dad you will name your son after him.  Shocking, isn't it. 

Here's a little peak into how beautiful this becomes because you really need the encouragement right now.

I just want to finish up this letter with one last encouragement.  You are a really cool girl.  You will find yourself some day really soon.  And when you do, you are going to like who God made you to be. 

I love you and your bangs and your flannel.

Your 34 year old self

*This post is part of a promotion for Graceful by Emily P Freeman.

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