Open Letter to Myself at 18

Dear Amanda,

I know life seems confusing right now. You are in a new place, nearly 1,000 miles from the place you have always known as home. There is a part of you that feels free, and a part of you that feels trapped. This week I have been recalling those days and remembering the limbo you are experiencing. You feel you are so different from the world around you, as though you do not even belong here sometimes. You look at yourself and do not know who you are or what you want to become. For these reasons, I have decided to write you a letter.

In this letter I will not tell you details about what your experience will be over the next 10 years. You will even curse me someday for not warning you of what is coming into your life, but when you reach today you will understand how everything happened exactly as it was meant to. Telling you the future may change the course, and that is something you do not want to do, trust me.

So, I am going to give some words of encouragement to the 18 year old girl sitting in a dorm room staring at the sky while wondering if you have a purpose.

The confusion you feel is leading you somewhere. When you reach the darkest part of your journey (you'll feel it when you get there), remember the light you once carried and know it is still there even though you cannot seem to find it. I promise you it will be ignited again someday.

Along the journey your heart is going to be shattered, your mind will be tormented, and your soul will feel crushed. Just know that at present your heart is still beating and able to love, your mind is creative, and your soul is soaring. Everything you have been through and will go through are preparing you for something. In each experience is a lesson meant to be learned. Embrace these lessons by releasing the resistance and allowing yourself to feel so you can heal.

There will be times of great danger, great sorrow, great loss, and great pain. For years, you will try to hide both the physical and emotional scars these events leave on you. Actually, you become so good at hiding them that you yourself cannot even see the enormous amount of strength you possess in order to carry on after these events. Someday, you will meet someone who brings these scars to the surface, but in seeing the scars you will be reminded of your strength. This person also helps you learn that home is found within yourself, not in a place or another person.

This person, along with others, come into your life to help you learn these lessons. Some of them you will come to love and appreciate very deeply. One of the hardest lessons you will learn is to let those you love choose their own path, even if the path they choose does not have room for you. Love them while letting them go.

You long for freedom, and you will go down many paths trying to find it. The funny thing about freedom is that it comes from allowing life to flow, rather than running after what you believe you need in order to obtain freedom. It really is as simple as staying true to yourself, even when others do not understand it. If the only thing you succeed in is staying true to yourself, you will have accomplished something most never even attempt. Rest in this truth.

Dear girl, someday you will realize the greatest tormentor you have carried with you is yourself. When you have this realization, extend the same love and forgiveness to yourself that you have so freely given to others.

While these words might seem overwhelming, I promise you this journey is not all dark difficulty! You will go on adventures, see other countries, experience new cultures, meet so many people, learn to dance, find a purposeful existence, write so much your fingers hurt, and encounter Love in all of its beautiful forms.

Tomorrow is your 29th birthday. There is still much you are learning, and you’re not exactly where you thought you “should be” at this point. The life you have now is far different from any you have imagined, yet you are at peace knowing you are exactly where you are meant to be. This is important for you to know so I want you to read it again and again - someday, you will be at peace. This morning your heart was more full than you can even imagine at the time of reading this letter. This afternoon you gathered with people you love to celebrate your birthday. Tonight you will be dancing, twirling, and laughing the night away with some incredible souls. While I do not know what tomorrow will hold, today made every step of the journey worth it. This I promise you.

I’ll leave you with this. When it all feels too much, I want you to do something that a beautiful mentor recently taught me. Place your hands on your heart, close your eyes, and repeat to yourself, “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be peaceful. May I be free.”



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