An Open Letter to My High School Senior Year Self

Dear Senior Taylor:

I wish so badly that I could actually give you this letter. I wish so much you could know everything I know now. How different would life have been if you could just know what was coming. I wish I could share with you the person you were going to become, the people you are going to meet, and the life you’re only a couple of years from. But I can’t. And I know that I’m writing this for me and not actually for you, but every once in a while you should look back and make peace with your former self.

Senior Taylor, you are so confused, so just starting to figure things out, and so ignorant of both of those facts. Your favorite store is Goodwill and you spend as much time trying to look like you don’t care as everyone else spends actually caring. I love your power and your rawness. I appreciate what you have gone through to get to that point and just wonder why it is that you haven’t put all the pieces together yet. Yet, I’m still in awe of you. There’s something that you have that makes you special and real and a totally different person than the person I am now.

Senior Taylor, you are so much a part of me in so many ways. Adrift in friends that weren’t really friends and relationships that didn’t make any sense no matter how hard you tried, you thought you were figuring out the world. You were. You were figuring out how to make yourself work and exploring what it meant to be you. Unfortunately, you were equally adrift in anxiety and depression. It’s because of you that I know what makes me sad. I know how unhappy I can be and I know how strong I was to pull out of it. You suffered so that now I can enjoy every day and never let a day go by without appreciating how far I have come. And you suffered so much. You didn’t really have it together so well and you were always getting hurt by people that didn’t really care one way or another. You mistook your pain for depth and based your validity as a person on the fact that you weren’t the other people you went to school with.

You lived a life of comparison. You were never who you truly were, you just made sure everyone knew what you weren’t. You didn’t know who you were so you just did the opposite of what everyone else was doing because somehow you thought that made sense. But somewhere down your long path of indecision, you forgot to even look for what made you happy in this world.

Senior Taylor, you wonderful, fire-engine red haired beauty wearing all black and ripping up shirts so they would look more edgy, you inspire me every day. Senior Taylor who screamed the lyrics to Paramore in her car on the way to school in the morning, you made me strong. Senior Taylor who ate Taco Bell and Qdoba for every meal you made me appreciate health when I found it. Senior Taylor, who was miraculously still open to new experiences, even though you’d been hurt a thousand times, you are me.

And I have a secret for you, you make it out.

Not only do you graduate from the high school that made you so miserable, you go on to Boston University, where you really become someone happy. You’re going to meet a boy, and you’re going to keep your mind totally open, and he is going to change your world forever.

And I know that you hate that sentence because you’re in a place where you don’t think you ever want to date again, you don’t think you want someone to be a part of your adventure, after all its yours right? You don’t want anyone dictating your schedule or life, but he won’t. He’s 10 doses of exactly what you need in your life. At first he’ll be a friend, then a shoulder to cry on and tell everything to (maybe a little too much at first), and then he’ll be your helping hand into a completely new life that will actually give you the happiness and satisfaction out of life that you deserve.

Here’s your first shock: You’re going to go to the gym. Now I know exactly what you’re thinking, “ME? GYM? Hell no, I don’t buy into that junk. I don’t even own a pair of tennis shoes! Or leggings! I love my body just the way it is.” Okay, okay, I see your point, but actually getting healthy isn’t a scheme. He’s going to bring you here, and you’re actually going to love it. You’re not going to even try to lose weight, it’s just going to happen. And you’re going to buy yourself a nice pair of tennis shoes, and then leggings, and gradually you’re going to find yourself happier and happier.

You’re also going to dye your hair back to its original color (blonde), start wearing bright colors you never wore before, like pink and light blue, and you’re going to start wearing MUCH less makeup. And it’s all going to make you really happy.

Then you’re going to join a sorority. I know you never thought you would, but that’s besides the point now. And you’re going to meet the most incredible, life-changing group of women that you have ever met in your life. You’re going to meet friends that you’ll never want to lose and you’ll be inspired by your sisters to be a better woman. You’re going to get the world’s most wonderful Big and the craziest, but cutest Little and you’re going to love your whole family so much it hurts. And you’re going to give your all because this group means more to you than you will ever understand. You’re going to have some of the best friendships you’ve ever had and then, before you know it, you’re going to realize that you really like yourself and the person that you’ve become.

Self-confidence is going to take the place of anxiety and constant, radiating happiness is going to take the place of your depression and you’re going to love being you. Life is so awesome and you’ll appreciate every second of it because you’ll remember what it was like to be where you are now.

And if you’re wondering, yes, the boy is still in the picture. He’s stuck through it all with you and he’s going to be so much more than a boyfriend. And even though you did all those things yourself, you’ll never let a day go by without thanking him for seeing in you the person that you are now. And every single time you say it, he’ll remind you that you were incredibly to him beautiful then, and you’re incredibly beautiful now and he’ll tell you that he didn’t do a thing except watch you become the person that you are.

Now I won’t mislead you into thinking I’ve got it all figured out. I won’t guide you to thinking that a couple of years has given me the answers to exactly who I am and what I want, but I will say that the difference between me now and me in your place is that I’m happy. I have a foundation of happy in my life and even when things get stressful or upsetting, I know that they will only be this way for a while and I will soon get back to normal.

So thank you, Senior Taylor for being everything that you are and knowing everything that you know so that I could flourish. Thank you for struggling, thank you for hurting, and thank you for getting so close to not making it, because you are incredibly strong and you are a force to be reckoned with and no matter how many times my hair changes, or my clothing, or my friends, or interests, or hobbies, or makeup, I know that deep down there is my Senior year Taylor inside of me, resilient, independent, and strong.

Love,

Sophomore in College Taylor

Senior Year

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year