This letter is part of series hosted by Emily Freeman, who has a great new book for teenage girls called Graceful. Visit Emily’s blog to see the rest of the contributors and link this blog post to Facebook for a chance to win a copy!
Dear 16 year old Christi Dawn,
I see you now in your light aqua room — the color of which you picked on a whim and loved immediately. The Chinese characters you attempted to paint on the back of your bedroom door stare back at you as you lounge on your bed. You flip through the Seventeen magazine you keep stashed away so Dad won’t find it.(He will.) You tear out every article that promises to “Tighten your abs overnight!” and religiously grunt through every crunch. Don’t stress. You look terrific. And quit throwing your dinner out your bedroom window. The dog is getting fat off your starvation.
I know that right now everything seems out of your control and you don’t handle it well. You’re grasping at independence but it’s just out of reach. Relax, you’ll get there. Decisions will come that are yours alone to make and though everyone around you may think your wrong, you’ll stick by your guns. Trust yourself.
You know that place you drive to when you just can’t take it anymore? With the gazebo and the pier and jetty? There’s only two names carved into the gazebo right now, but #4 will be the last. Ever a romantic, you are. #4 will be the only boy you bring to that sacred spot — though you’ll get lost on the way because so much has changed.
In three-ish years you’re going to start dating a different boy. You know him, but don’t worry about who. You’ll be head over heels, but you’ll break his heart in the end. A few months in you’ll say the L word but instantly regret it. Don’t ignore his calls and don’t beat around the bush. Just tell him that you spoke to soon out of pure impulsiveness. Talk to him. Don’t use the physical distance between you two to just drop out of his life. You will forever regret the way you walked away with no explanation. He deserves better.
Cut your dad some slack. He’s overprotective because he loves you so much and can see how your enthusiasm for life can get you into trouble. You’re spirited and stubborn, and he doesn’t trust that he has raised you well enough to make the decisions you want to make; he’s scared of the consequences. Don’t fight him. You’ll have plenty of off campus parties in college that will more than make up for the ones you missed in high school.
When you’re 20 years old, you and a friend won’t be able to find anyone to buy you Smirnoff — tragic! Go ahead and call your boss. You know he has a crush on you and that he’ll buy ;) He’s going to show up at the nightclub that night and though you’re determined not dance with him, dance anyway! He’ll be worth it. A few short months later when you and he elope, wait until his 3 year old daughter can be there. You’ll have to wait an extra week and neither of you really want to, but it will be worth it. You and he will always wish you had waited until she came back from her mom’s house so that she could be there with you. And speaking of her mom, cut her some slack too. No need to stand your ground right away. Things will go much more smoothly if you are gracious and patient. You will save yourself a lot of headaches if you just act in mercy instead of reacting in frustration. The time spent attempting to undo that reputation is not worth the satisfaction of getting the last word in. Don’t be critical of small things.
You’ve got a great life ahead of you. You’ll enjoy being a wife more than you ever thought possible and being a stepmom will take you completely by surprise. You’ll love her more than life itself. You’ll experience heartbreak and lots of tears, but the great joys of your life will overshadow them. So relax, it will all work out exactly as it should.