Dear Syd,

You just entered high school! Congratulations! I know how excited you are to be out of middle school; those last few years were super tough. You really made yourself known there, though. When you go back and visit Pinecrest, one of the teachers will tell you that you had the best style, and if they could've done what you did when they were a kid, they definitely would've. All you were doing was sewing your bright green skinny jeans to be skinnier, coloring your white Vans rainbow, wearing boxers and showing them off by sagging a bit. You even cut your hair short and had the bangs cover the side of your forehead, sometimes hanging over your eyes. It really was cool, and never forget that. You were trying to rebel against mom, who said you weren't allowed to cut your hair short, but you did it anyways. Coming out to her was hard; she didn't want to believe it in the beginning and I know how much that tore you up inside. Even when you had your first girlfriend at home all the time, she never seemed to notice. Don't fret! You two will have such a strong relationship down the line, and she'll apologize for not taking you seriously then.

I know how scary it is at this new, humongous high school. You loved the fact that you could walk home, though! Pinecrest never let anyone walk off campus after school; you were confined inside the fences, watching people leave, waiting for mom to come and pick you up while you blasted your music on your portable speakers. Now, you don't have to wait for her to get you. Such freedom! Everything about it was so different than middle school it freaked you out a bit, didn't it? Kind of caught you like a deer in headlights. You made some friends fast, though. I know you don't see it, but there are people who are beginning to care about you. Even though that boy doesn't want to go with you to the dance anymore, don't fret. He doesn't know what he's missing! I know it's hard to keep that positivity, but you'll get through it.

The best people you'll meet will be at the tech club after school. Never forget when Troy first spoke to you at the table in front of the gym. He asked you, "So are you joining tech?" to which you reply with, "Yeah, I wanted to be on the sound crew". His reply: "You're on lights". That was the start of a great friendship, so don't forget to go there during lunch break and sign up! There's one specific person who will stay with you up until now, but I'll let you figure that out. Tech will be like your home away from home, trust me. I know how much you're getting into photography now, so bring it to the club! Make memories of the fun times you have and cherish every moment with those people. Watch the theater programs with excitement, knowing that you made it possible for the show to go on. You put the lights up and helped the sound crew; you worked all over the place for that club! You'll even get an award for your hard work, but I know you're only in it because you love doing it. I know that you just want to get a girlfriend, but these people are better than all the flings you'll experience during this time in high school. It seems a bit foggy and dim now, I know, but you'll notice it eventually.

I know how hard it is dealing with all the emotions you're going through. You're going to want it all to stop so you can sleep forever. I know how hard that decision was; waiting for mom to leave and your friend to pick you up, knowing exactly where the pills were, taking them to school with you...that feeling of dread after they hit your stomach, walking back to class and finally blacking out... I know how much you wanted it to end, how much it hurt that you went through it it. The pain was too much; coping with dad at that time was the worst time possible. You are not alone. Those people in the tech club? They really care for you! Troy even asked your grandparents if you were alright when word got around the school that you had an accident. When you return the next week, it might seem like they're shaming you. They're not; they just want to help you get better and make you smile. Always remember that night when one of the plays was showing, when Troy sat with you in that dark room, put his hand over yours, and said he loved you, that he'll always be here for you, and you can talk to him any time you need to. That moment will one you cherish forever; you'll never forget him. Those words will keep you going throughout high school. You will know love. I know it's love from the wrong people, because I know how badly you want love from your dad, but these people love you and always will.

I know how hard high school must seem after coming back from that, and I know you're going to not try your hardest, but don't fret. You'll still succeed in high school even if you don't go to a campus. Home schooling isn't bad! The one thing that will sucks is that you won't be able to see everyone in tech anymore, but don't fret. You'll see them when school ends, during breaks! They'll be in your life long after high school ends. You'll have such hilarious times with Nicole and Jen; such wonderful times with Gabe. These people are here to stay. When you get past the idea that you need to be talking with someone 24/7 in order to stay friends with them, you'll realize that they aren't going anywhere even if they move away for college. They'll always be in your heart, and you in theirs. They'll be the ones to send you funny snapchats of themselves, and you'll send an even funnier video reply back. Even if you're not talking to Gabe all the time like you used to, they're still with you in your heart. Do not fret about that. They love you.

Enjoy your teenage years! You'll have depressing times, and you'll even have very happy times. You'll party your heart out with your "squad" when you're 17, doing what you always thought would never happen to you. You thought none of this would ever happen to you; you thought you would have no friends to go out with. I know how shy you are, but you'll end up having such a great time when you start opening up and becoming the social butterfly you really are. Once you see it, you'll truly believe it. You will have such a great time with everyone that you'll be making memories that you'll never forget. After you do all that, it might get tough for you. It's the hardest transition to go through when you're a young adult. To go from a bunch of friends to only a few that you talk to seems devastating, but don't fret; you're just finding out who your true friends are. You'll get lonely. You'll even get angry about it. But the one's who truly want to be in your life will stay in your life.

It seems like everything is falling apart, but it isn't. Things are just hard for you, and you know what? You're going to be so strong. I know you keep telling yourself that you're not going to make it past 16. Guess what? You do, and you keep going even after you tell yourself you won't make it past 18 when you're 17. It seems like the world is testing you to try and disappear again, but don't fret. As the years go by, you will become a great woman, a friend to many, a lover to one, and a great daughter as well.

P.S.

The only thing your present self is bummed out about is you starting cigarettes so young, because the present you is going to be dealing with quitting in her 20's. So...don't start!