An Open Letter To My 17-Year-Old Self

An Open Letter To My 17-Year-Old Self

Believe me, you have changed in ways that I did not even think were possible.

Dear 17-Year-Old Me,

Hi. How's it going?

You are probably waiting by the door for college letters to come in the mail, and it's almost Christmas! It's an exciting, yet extremely nerve-wracking, time for you. I promise it'll all work out; you'll know what your plans consist of by March or so. Keep up the good work!

By the time the spring rolled around, you could not wait for senior year to be done with. That's totally understandable, as it was a long, long fall and winter. It seemed as though time had froze, and it was not the most enjoyable year for you. However, the light at the end of the tunnel was fast-approaching: graduation. You had been counting down the days since September 1, so the wait was worthwhile. You could not have been happier to say that you were no longer in high school. That is definitely still the case today.

Fast forward to summer '16.

That, too, was a period of lots of patience and waiting to get going with another chapter of life. You were so excited to go to college and start a new life for yourself. You worked toward this for 4 years, and you sure as hell earned it. However, the adjustment period was just as chaotic and confusing as your senior year of high school. It was its own kind of crazy, but it definitely changed you in ways that you would never expect. Change is not the worst thing to happen, though. Although it may not always feel right, it makes sense as to why college has affected you so much. You have been exposed to so many different people, concepts, and ideas that are completely new for you.

I bet you wouldn't have pictured yourself wanting to spend time at the library on a Thursday afternoon to get work done and clear your head. That's OK, though. Keep doing you, because you are doing the best you can. That is all I can ask for, and I hope you keep working toward improvement.

Believe me, you have changed in ways that I did not even think were possible.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.

It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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8 Things You Learn When You're Related To A Drug Addict

1. No one is obligated to choose you.

Being the child, or family member of a drug addict can be hard but depending on how you look at it, it can also be a blessing in a very weird way. Here are eight things you learn about life from being the child or family member of a drug addict.

1. No one is obligated to choose you.

2. When people choose you, you know to cherish it.

3. Not everyone is going to understand your situation.

4. People have very skewed opinions about families of drug addicts.

5. People can change.

6. Not all people choose to change.

7. Being selfish is actually a lot of work.

8. Don't judge a book by its cover, or a person by their family members.

There are many things you learn about life, often sooner than most, when you're related or close to a drug addict. In my case, I have many members of my dad's family as well as my dad, who overdosed when I was young, who are addicted to drugs. Seeing people choose substance over blood at a young age is eyeopening, and hard to understand. As you get older and begin to understand the severity of the situation; life becomes clearer. You don't trust everyone you meet, you try to stay away from risky behavior, and family that chooses you becomes all the more important.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

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