A Letter to My 5-Year-Old Self

A Letter to My 5-Year-Old Self

Words of wisdom to my favorite 5-year-old.
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Hi sweet girl,

I hope you’re doing well. It’s been a long time since we talked, but I wanted to update you on our life and share with you some words of wisdom because a lot has changed since I was a bright eyed five-year-old with unruly hair and pink skorts.

You’re going to move. A lot. To different houses and different states. And the first day is always going to be scary and intimidating, but there will be a person at every school who reaches out and invites you to sit with them and their friends. Hang onto those people because they will become your best friends.

You, as you probably have already figured out, will be an outspoken and confident kid. Do not let anyone take that away from you. It is not your problem if they don’t value a girl with a strong voice. It is not your responsibility to mold yourself into their idea of a perfect person.

The camp that was your second home, the camp where you accepted Jesus into your heart, is also going to be the place that makes you leave Christianity. But it’s okay because you’ll finally be able to love the people your big heart was always meant to love.

Your mom and brother will become your best friends and biggest inspirations. Spend every minute you can with them.

You will find peace in the sunshine and on the water, so take every opportunity to be outside.

You will have a love/hate relationship with your body. Please try to remember that your curves and tummy are beautiful, and take time out of your day to rub your belly. It helps more than you think it would.

You will feel every emotion so intensely, and that’s okay. Crying is good. Laughing is good. Being angry is good. Your emotions are valid, and you should never feel like they aren’t.

You will fall in love with a boy, become really good friends with him, and receive many mixed signals. And when he comes out to you because he knows you’re a safe space, you’ll be so happy that he gets to live honestly and fully and with the person that he loves that it won’t even matter that he didn’t (couldn’t) love you back in the first place.

Your life will forever be impacted by the TV show “Glee." And you will post an obscene amount of Facebook posts using all capital letters and too many exclamation points. But it will teach you that “being a part of something special makes you special," and you will join theater and choir to find your inner Rachel Berry, but you will end up finding yourself instead.

You will spend your senior summer around many bonfires with good people, good music, and good food, and that will feel more like church than your actual church did. Cherish those moments because they will go by quickly.

You will go into college feeling hopeless because your big dreams seem out of reach. Please know that you are capable of doing absolutely anything you set your mind to. You are so much smarter than you think you are, and I never want you to feel like you can’t pursue your dreams because you feel like you’re not good enough or that you don’t deserve it. You deserve the world.

Finally, please know that you’re going to be okay. I know that it may not seem like it right now, but I promise everything works out the way it’s supposed to.

I hope that you’re ready for these next thirteen years, Little Emma. They contain some of my favorite memories. Keep doing everything in your power to feel confident, proud, and strong, and I promise I’ll try to do the same.

Cover Image Credit: Emma Pinkham

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Working On My Emotional Health Is At The Top Of My To-Do List

I'm finally realizing the importance of my mental and emotional health.

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The month of April has been so eye-opening for me. For the first bit of the year, I felt like I was in a slump; like I was just going through the motions and not fully living my life.

I was letting boy drama, school stress, and my poor actions to deal with those issues take over my life. I was allowing the anger and shame from those mistakes bubble up inside me until I was just about ready to explode.

I was allowing myself to go back to old ways of coping with problems that I knew weren't healthy, but I knew would be a short-term fix.

I simply wasn't living.

Then, one day I woke up and told myself I needed to change, and that if I didn't, I'd be on this same path ten years from now... or worse. I told myself I needed to get my life back on track with the Lord and with who I want to be as a rising senior in college.

After meeting with one of the leaders at my church (btw, everyone needs a Mrs. Jenny in their life!) and with my therapist, I'm starting to realize how important my emotional health is. My way of dealing with problems hasn't been working all that well, so I know it's time to try something else.

It's all going to be a huge learning process (and at times, an uphill battle), but I know working on my emotional health now will build me to be the best I can in the future.

By learning to become more open to healthier ways of dealing with issues as they come up (like not avoiding problems and actually facing them head-on), I know I can become my best self, and that is something I'm willing to work on with my whole heart.

So, I'm learning to let go of needing to control everything in my life because honestly, wanting to control everything puts me more out of control than when I first started.

And, I encourage you to do the same.

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