Dear Thirteen Year Old Self,
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Dear Thirteen Year Old Self,

If only you knew the half of it...

Dear Thirteen Year Old Self,

Hi there! I hope you're doing okay. I know that you definitely are not having the best time in school right now, but I promise that will change soon. It's middle school, specifically it's 7th grade for you, and it could be better. Spoiler alert- the acne does go away eventually. You already have a great group of friends that you'll continue to love as much even more than you do now even in your 20's. Some of them won't stick around, some will become too busy, and you'll move which makes things harder but the friendship will always be there. Trust me, you picked a great circle who help you through a lot.

Anyways, middle school is rough, but it isn't all bad. Do you know that one guy that bullied you endlessly last year? Yeah well later this year, you both end up in the dean's office for sticking up for each other against another bully (who never disrespected either of you afterwards). You two don't become best friends, but you find a mutual understanding for each other. Same goes for that one girl who picks on you so she could fit in with the popular girls. It takes years, but you both still talk to each other from time to time, and she has an adorable baby now.

You end up dating someone you already know, but that won't be for a few years, and it breaks your heart when you move because you knew you guys were going to break up. He really was one of the sweetest guys you ever met, and has such a sweet family.

While we're on the topic of boyfriends, you are right around the corner from meeting your first boyfriend, and this is where things start to get interesting. Later down the road these events will start to blur together: Momma got married, he moved in with us in Florida all the way from South Carolina, you go through school and live for the moments when you get home with everyone, school ends, summer camp begins and you're a counselor (this is where you meet your first boyfriend), you start dating, things start to change around the house, summer ends, school starts back up, and one day you come home to find dad gone. Your heart broke that day, but again you had a great circle to help you through it all.

Things start to go back to normal, and you live the typical high school student life until half-way through your Junior Year when you move to Charleston, South Carolina. You become the new girl to a class of around a dozen students who have been together forever so it's already hard, but you make it through. The goal you had made was to move back to Florida as soon as possible, but life changed it all. You met your best friend at your first job working at a plantation together one summer, and you get best friend tattoos together. Florida starts to become just a part of your story that you think you have to close that chapter on... that is, until you move back to go work at two major companies in the Orlando area. You work, you live, and you meet someone.

Now I'm not going to spoil it, but you meet a very special someone who shares a lot of the same attributes of your story. You meet someone who you share a lot in common with, but also balances you out in opposing factors. This person makes the bad days turn to not-so-bad days. Even when you get the news that you have to move out of Florida again.

Your life is complicated, but so is everyone else's. Thirteen is such an awful and awkward age. Things do get better. You will have a great family, amazing friends, a sister, puppies running all over the house again, a boyfriend, and life lessons that you will carry with you forever. Of course I did skip some parts of the story and you will go through some bad things, but you make it through. Thirteen is just the start of it all.

growing up

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