Dear Past Self,

I never imagined I would grow out of you. For quite some time now I really did not want to. You were essentially what I was known for. I was the girl who would give and give and give, but never take. Your phone would remain on ringer late throughout the night, and money was never an issue. If anyone ever wanted anything, you would make sure that they got it. No questions asked. You would drive 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there, but never asked for anything in exchange. The worst part was the you let anyone say anything they wanted to you. You sat back and came up with excuses for them or agreed to the harsh words they spit at you. Even after they did you so wrong, you went right back anyway.

In a way, I am glad I grew out of you. Yet, in a way I am not. You were the sweetest girl, so pure and kind. You always had the most genuine of intentions. It was as though making others happy was your purpose. Nothing ever got in the way. Honey, do you not see what is wrong with that? You were empty. Broken. Underappreciated. You were loved by so many, but in so little actions. You had a few solid relationships, but you tried to please everyone. You had not yet realized that at only 15 years old, you could not fix everyone; no matter how hard you tried. You did not realize that at only 15 years old, today would be so different.

At 15 years old you thought you had been through hell and back. Then, you suddenly turned 18. You had felt heartbreak, you had seen death, and you had eaten multiple days of hospital food. You said goodbye to your family just to say hello again. You go weeks without seeing your best friend. You fall in love and struggle to make things work. You study your hardest and you still fail. You find the cutest pair of shoes, but you just do not have the money right now. You have to work on a Friday night instead of hanging out with your friends. I am sorry, but we all have to grow up some time.

At 18 years old I have seen more than I thought I would have. I said that in a way I was glad that I grew out of you, and I am. At 18 years old, I see things more clearly. I value deeper relationships over the quantity of them. I value my education over winning a game I cannot play forever. I value my family more than I did three years ago. To them I apologize it took me this long to understand your importance. I value love. Not puppy love, not lust, not infatuation. I value the friendships that do not change when we do. I value my inspiration, the reason for every word write. I value my supporters, who have never doubted my success throughout this long road. At 18 years old, I have made my fair share of mistakes and will continue to make many more. The only difference now is, I can defer between a mistake and a choice. That was something at 15 years old, you could not do.

At 18 years old, I finally figured out how to be independent and quit the sentimentality. I figured out how to study after 16 years of school, but sometimes it still does not turn out how I planned. Somehow at 18 years old, I still love to do things for people. Most times they still go unappreciated, as they did to you. Three years have gone by, but some things never change my dear. You will always be a part of me, I am just figuring out who I really am now.

I want to thank you for showing me what I deserve. I want to thank you for going through everything you did because it made me a better person. I want to thank you for getting good grades because I am getting my higher education now. I want to thank you for struggling because you made me a fighter. I want to thank you for never giving up because you made me who I am today. Thank you for everything, I would not be who I am today without you.

Love, Me.