A Letter to My 13-Year-Old Self

A Letter to My 13-Year-Old Self

If only I had learned this earlier.

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You and I, and everyone in the world, have heard the quotes "hindsight is 20/20" multiple, numerous, and way too many times to count. Well, it's true. If there's something I would have wanted to tell my 13-year-old, freshman self it would be this:

Right off the bat, don't compare yourself to others. Everyone has heard this whether it's from their friends, parents, teachers, or some inspirational self-help book, it's pretty common knowledge. But, you know as a young teen it's definitely harder to change your way of thinking to this.

To my 13-year-old self, I wish I had listened harder to this. Hadn't walked into school somedays wondering if I was as pretty or skinny enough as the "popular" girls in school. Sounds cliché I know, but it's true. This mindset led me down a rough road that included battling anorexia and body image issues for many years after. Even now, it's hard to not compare myself to those succeeding around me, but it's a little bit easier than it was back then.

Another thing is: don't stress so much about where you're going to get into college. Starting in freshman year, the idea of only 2 short years until you start taking the ACT or SAT for your college apps was daunting. It didn't hit me until the summer before senior year, but I really was freaked out about where I was going to end up. It starts with questioning your worth measured in grades, extracurriculars, and awards and doesn't end until you receive all of your college acceptances or rejections. All I'd want to say along with that is: you will end up where you belong. For most people, I feel like they do end up going to the college that is the best for themselves. They grow into the community and culture there and never ever remember the worry-filled nights they had in college surrounding college apps. Everything does happen for a reason.

The last thing I'd want to tell my younger self would be to not be embarrassed about what you're passionate about. In high school, around 14-15 years old (and still recovering from that eating disorder) I started to be inspired/look up to female fitness influencers who weightlifted. I'd always been active and had been in cross country in high school but stepping into the weights section of the gym was intimidating at the very least. As silly as it sounds, I was even secretive to my parents and friends what I did at the gym. I didn't want to say that I used the weights because what if people judged me? What if they asked me a question and I wouldn't be able to answer them? Would I look like someone who doesn't know what they're doing? I would honestly say that this hesitation is what made me take so long to "get into" weightlifting, which is something I regret. I want to shake my younger self to not be afraid of what other people would think about myself.

So, as a 19-year-old now, I don't know everything about the world and life, but I can say that even while struggling with things before and even now, going through these obstacles has made me into the person I am today (as cheesy as that sounds, it's true though).

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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Dance Marathon Helped Me Understand What It Is That I Stand For

What do you stand for?

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The weekend of March 1, 2019, I stood for over 20 hours for the kids. Yep, I am not lying.

Dance Marathon at FSU is a 40-hour event split into two shifts of 20 hours. My freshman year, I earned sit times throughout the marathon, which I was incredibly thankful for, but this year was something totally different. I was on the internal team this year, which means, I worked behind the scenes of Dance Marathon since September. Since I was on the internal team, I did not get the opportunity to get the set times that I did the year prior. I was worried about this because I was not sure if I would be able to do it.

Spoiler Alert! I did it.

There were many times during the marathon where I thought that I could not stand much longer, but then some thoughts came into my mind. Who was I standing for? I was standing for the kids who had to get their leg amputated because they had osteosarcoma and could no longer stand on both legs. I was standing for the kids who are bound to their hospital beds right at this very moment because they are not strong enough to walk on their own. I was standing for the children who needed me to help them win their fight.

This is what kept me standing. This motivated me so much that I did not complain once because I knew who I was doing it for, and I was not going to let them down.

There were multiple people who kept complaining. Every word out of their mouth was about how their feet hurt, or how they were so tired. A large part of me wanted to turn to them and tell them, "Do you know how tired Grayson was when he had to have his many rounds of chemotherapy when he was just one-year-old?" I did not say that to them because I realized something. I knew what and who I was standing for, but maybe they didn't. My goal this year is to help all of those people understand WHY they are doing it.

20 hours on your feet may seem like a long time, but to watch $2,210,165.21 go up at the end, nothing compares.

Like the musical group Fun. once sang, "What do I stand? What do I stand for?" To that, I say, "I stand for the kids."


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