Dear Sixteen Year Old Me,
You’re probably sitting in Advanced English II wondering when the bell is going to finally ring so you can go home. You continue going through the motions: a forced smile, fake laughter, a half-hearted wave. You haven’t been yourself for a while. You think no one notices so you just keep it to yourself.
Listen to me, someone cares about you. I know you think no one cares, but so many people do. Please remember that things get better. It doesn’t seem like it, but it does. Hold on to that hope.
I know you think you aren’t good enough. That you aren’t American enough for your friends, but not Filipino enough for your family. You feel like you’re not smart enough, pretty enough, just not enough. Listen to me: you are enough. You always have been enough. Do not measure your worth based on other people.
Listen, the world will tell you it’s not okay to kind. They will try to make you hard. Don’t give in to that. Let people know that it’s okay to be kind, caring, soft. Anger and hate have never looked good on you. Show the world a smile still goes a long way. You have always been the girl who still sees the good in others. Keep doing that.
Start where you are. Don’t wish your life away. Don’t wait for the next year or when you graduate. Start with the resources that you have, your working hands, and your caring heart. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t change the world. You can. You absolutely can. It doesn’t matter how small the steps you take are– you just need to start somewhere. Maybe all the opportunities you have been looking for are right in front of you.
Keep loving with your whole heart. Keep believing in fairytales, magic, and the good in others. Keep fighting for what you think is right and never, ever take no for an answer. Walk around life with your eyes wide and your palms open. Call your mom more. Listen to your dad. Watch your sister’s favorite movies with her. Tell your brother you’re proud of him. Say thank you, always. Forgive, forgive, forgive. Life is good– no matter what life throws your way.
I want you to know that you make it out alive. Good things are coming your way. Continue to grow, bloom, and keep trying. And remember: love goes a long way.
Love, Your Future Self