1. Be kind to your mom. I know you can’t see it now, but she really is your biggest cheerleader and has given you everything. You’ll fight with her, and that’s OK, but don’t ever question how much she has sacrificed for you.
2. Stop worrying about who your date will be to prom. Actually, stop worrying about boys in general. Even you, you who feels so ugly and so unlovable, will have plenty of guys in your future. But at your age…I promise, boys don’t matter. And they will never have anything to do with your beauty and your worth. Do you understand? Boys do not define you!
3. Quit giving the mirror so much power. I know you don’t look like all of your “skinny” friends, and I know you wish you could squeeze into Hollister clothing…really, I get it. But you’re playing with fire and you’re going to get burned. More on that later, but just trust me, what you see in the mirror isn’t what you actually are.
4. Your sensitivity is your strength, not a weakness. It just means you care, and the world needs more of that.
5. You are going to miss the family vacations that seem a little lame to you now. Enjoy them while you can.
6. You’ll never stop missing your grandparents, or your aunt, or your cousin. But don’t feel guilty if you aren’t thinking of them every second of every day. It doesn’t mean you love them less and it doesn’t mean you are forgetting them. All that means is that you’re finding a new normal, which is exactly what they would want you to do.
7. Don’t feel weird for spending your free time at church. Your faith will get you through every difficult day, and that’s not something you ever have to explain or apologize for.
8. Just because you thought someone would be in your life forever doesn’t mean they will be. People change, they grow, and sometimes they leave.
9. Your anxiety isn’t just nerves. It’s serious and I wish I could say “you’ll grow out of it” like people have told you, but you don’t. Stay in therapy, take your medication, and keep taking each day as it comes.
10. When someone compliments you, just accept the compliment instead of trying to convince the person that they are wrong.
11. Remember how I said your obsession with the mirror would come back to burn you? Well, you’re going to get sick and you’ll find yourself in the hospital. I’ll spare you all the dirty details, and you do come out the other side, but I’m begging you, stop looking in the mirror. I cannot stress that enough.
12. Try and say “no” just a little more often. You don’t need to always do things for people and that sure as hell won’t make them like you more. You know that saying “don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm?” Remember that.
13. I’m sorry to tell you this, but your father won’t change. He won’t be there for you, he won’t support you, and he will never be proud of you. It’s harsh, I know, but stop trying to make things different. You can cry and you can be sad, but don’t let it consume you. You’ll be surrounded by so much love and so many people to help fill that void he has left you with.
14. If you don’t tell people what you need, you can’t expect them to give it to you. It is OK to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak, it means you’re strong enough to know your own limits.
15. No matter what happens, everything is temporary. Every triumph, every defeat, and every little thing in between is going to pass. What you think is the end of the world…well, it isn’t.