Monday, November 18, 2013

A Letter to Myself

Dear Sweet 17-year-old Amber,

High school doesn't get any easier... I know, the teasing gets old and is so hard on you, but hold strong. It creates character, adults say. It does.

Stop giving such a damn. Those cheerleaders are hormonal and bitchy and jealous. I know, it hurts. But they're immature and don't mean it. Believe it or not, you'll be friends with them later and the hurt will be forgotten by you AND by them. Your heart is genuine and your actions abnormal to other teens, but that doesn't mean you're wrong. Stick with it, you will be rewarded.

Texas, although beautiful and so southernly hospitable, is too far from those sweet little brothers with which you have been blessed. Plus, there are big things for you to do in San Diego. I know it's going to break your heart when USC and Stanford send you letters of rejection, but there's a plan, a grand plan... And you'd hate the LA traffic anyway.

Dad isn't going to be here forever. Get over your bratty teenage angst and get into the depths that relationship promises. Enjoy those Monday date nights, leave that phone at home, and tell him the stupid little details you don't think he'll care about because you won't always have him to talk to about the interesting and the mundane. He cares whether he expresses it or not.

When he gets sick the family will stick together like glue -a stronghold type of glue that's unbreakable regardless of what comes its way. You and Mel are going to be good friends. I know, you can't stand how she knows so much and you're so immature in comparison, but you're ten years younger and she's got lots of knowledge she can share. Keep that heart open, you're going to need her in ways unbelievable right now.

Speaking of sisters, join that sorority. Put yourself out there and believe in the good that others bring to your life. Because they do in ways that you need. Let them add to your soul and to the lyrics of your life-song -no song is complete without some backup singers. You're going to become part of an amazing family where God will grow you in ways unimaginable. When they say sisters for life you'll roll your eyes, but it's truth that you will lean into post-graduation.

You're going to lose some friends. You're going to win some too. That's life. It happens. You'll be disappointed and you'll be a disappointment. Remember grace -for them and for yourself. No one's perfect and sometimes hurts are too large to mend. But time comes in and does so. You lost a few friends who knew your soul deeply and, while you can't imagine that being healed, it is. In a beautiful, honest, tender way that challenges your 24-year-old self. Challenge is good for you.

That boy you're dating, he's not The One. He's cheated once, he's going to do it again. Please know God has such a greater gift for you. Please, oh please. There's a better one coming, better than you could ever possibly imagine. He won't look or act like you're expecting, but usually assholes end up being assholes in the end so give the sweet guy next door a chance.

Happily ever after doesn't look how you imagine it. And, really, it's overrated. Because in trial and loss and love, faith is magnified and hearts are transformed. Remember people are watching you, looking to you for a glimmer of hope. And your heart is full of that regardless of the circumstance. It's hope that keeps you smiling now and it'll be hope that keeps you in joy later. Hope: an anchor to the soul.

Amber, life feels hard some days and it'll continue to do so, but you're doing your best at it and that's enough. You're young and eager and bright-eyed, don't let that be dulled by others. Surround yourself with beauty and it'll fill you.

I'm proud of you Amber as unsatisfied with yourself you may feel. Know your heart is good, your humor is dry, and your words are genuine -all wonderful, unique things.

Older, but only slightly wiser, 24-year-old Am 

All this to wonder: what will my 30-year-old self say to the today me? 


  1. I want to hug this 17 year old girl and tell her what an awesome woman she will become. You are so loved.

  2. aren't we all so different from our 17 year old selves? sometimes i just want to head-desk at mine. but then i realize she is the foundation for me, and so i still love her. even if she was dumb a lot of the time. i think our 17 year old selves would have gotten along just fine too.

  3. I just love this so much. Me at 17 and you at 17 would have been great friedns :)

  4. They say hindsight is 20/20 and how how that is true! I really do wish I could go back in time and save my 17 year old self a lot of heartache but I they say everything happens for a reason...

  5. Kathy@Vodka and SodaNovember 18, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    i absolutely LOVE this post! man, i can't even remember what it was like being 17; for me that was 20yrs ago (OMFG) but i was probably a hormonal biatch walking around like i was the shiznit :\

    Vodka and Soda

  6. When I think of how dramatic I was at 17, I just shake my head! But as Erin said, that 17 year old is so much of who each of us are today- and you are a strong, beautiful woman who did something right as a 17 year old or you wouldn't be who you are today!

  7. I am SO thankful for the experiences I had from 17 to now... But there are times it would have been so helpful to hear from an older me to say, it's going to be okay, you'll make it through this and then some! :)

  8. Isn't it funny to think back on how you were and how you are now! What will I say to myself in seven MORE years?!? :)

  9. I'm so glad for the risks that girl took and the one's this girl is taking today... They all feel just as scary and vulnerable, but are equally as rewarding! And, at thirty I'll get to look back and say, hey, you sweated some stuff that meant nothing and you didn't sweat other stuff that ended up being big, you go girl!

  10. So different. And you think oh, it's just been a few years how much could I REALLY change? But you do!

    I believe we would have been friends. Oh such dear friends. :)

  11. That seventeen year old girl would probably have been freaked out (at first) but changed for the better by you. Just like the 24 year old me is.

  12. I believe there's a great friendship that would bloom now... AND THEN TOO!

  13. You are such a good writer ! I wish I could be that wise ! :)

  14. Oh mannnnn do I wish I could talk to my 17 year old self. But hey, I could've turned out worse. ;) I love this... the part about your dad made me want to cry.

  15. loved the 17 year old. loving the 24 year old. looking forward to loving the 30 year old with lots of little feet gathered around her.

  16. Couldn't we all have done worse!?! I'm so thankful that I have the chance to look back and reflect, then apply myself in a forward motion! :) Plus, it helps me keep myself on track for the now.

  17. Oh Anna, thank you for coming back to leave some love... It means the world to me that you read and it meant enough to revisit! :)

  18. The 17 year old loved you but not as much as the 24 year old does... I can only imagine how the 30 year old will feel!


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