Brittany, a letter to my 18 year old self

Dear 18 year old me-

You are on your way! You just graduated and are ready to go off to college. You chose a big school so that you could make a name for yourself. You chose a college that would expose you to new things. You chose to go to school out of state, for the challenge of figuring life out for yourself.

You have been through challenges in high school: dad’s cancer diagnosis, tough coaches, hard classes, etc. You have been forced to face some difficult situations that have laid the foundation for how you will face the future. You feel ready to take on the world and face new challenges.

For the most part you are, but I am here to warn you. You will be faced with some even bigger obstacles to come: a friends attempted suicide, active campus shooter, a shattered ankle. The worry that something will go wrong with your dads treatment, your grades won’t be up to snuff, or what you are going to do career wise will never go away. None of these things are easy to cope with, but through them you will learn who your friends are and who will stand by you no matter what.

You will find yourself questioning some of the beliefs you were raised with and I am here to tell you that is okay. Keep an open mind and be willing to accept change. This questioning will allow you to break down old beliefs and build stronger foundations in new ones. It may lead to the loss of a few friends along the way because of your new views, but be strong. Kia Kaha. Love yourself for who you are, and don’t be afraid to change your view of yourself. Be willing to accept slip ups (but learn from them), be willing to accept that you will never be a size 2 (your body just wasn’t built for it and IT IS OK!!!), be willing to accept who you choose to love (the answer may surprise you). Because as in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:

“Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” 

-and-

“Today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no one in the world more youer than you.”

 You are off to a very liberal minded school and city that will show you acceptance to other people’s way of life is how we grow stronger. Remember when you build walls or shun people for who they love, what they believe, or what their ethnicity is you create conflict, fear, and hate. This world is already hard enough that we don’t need more negativity.

So as you head off be ready for the hard hurdles ahead, but also enjoy the ride. You have one life to live, live it the way you want. If people can’t accept that then they don’t deserve to be in your life. This will be a hard concept to accept, but you deserve to be happy. Even if you have to write it on your mirror to convince yourself of that fact, know that you are loved and deserve to be happy. You will meet some amazing people along your journey that will help you feel accepted and loved for who you are today. They will be the ones to stay in your life and don’t worry you will know them when you meet them.

From your 28 year old self

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