To the person that I used to be...

I needed to be you to become me. I watched you suffer so much heartache on your way to becoming me.

I remember.

I remember the nights you had to literally pick yourself up off the bathroom floor. Those nights happened often in your teen years. I remember the nights you slept there on the cold tiles because you felt safe there. Where their words couldn't hurt you anymore.

You hid on the floor and wore your tears as armor against the rest of the world. I watched you wipe your tears in the mirror and gaze into your own eyes, not knowing who she was looking back at you.

I remember the silent, quiet prayers that softly crept past your lips when you had lost all hope. You asked for guidance. For strength. For help. For love. For healing.

I remember your heart physically hurting from the heartbreak you felt and the bruises on your chest you gave yourself from squeezing your heart too hard because you thought if you didn't, it might fall out of your chest.

I remember the hurt you endured to become me.

The lessons you learned and the battles you fought. I remember the long nights where sleep didn't exist, but the nightmares did. I remember the cuts where words that were spoken left marks where they fell on your heart. The places they fell are just scars now, but sometimes they ache in memory of the past.

The you that I endured to become myself today is someone I do not mourn because she still exists. She is the me inside that swells with pride when I look back on the past and know I've moved on.

She is still me. I respect her. I learned from her. She was buried and planted so that I may bloom and grow.

So to the me that I used to be,

I am still you. But because of you I was able to grow, adapt, and learn.

My heart has long healed and wears its scars proudly. She does not flaunt them, but she does not hide them. They are a part of her as much as the freckles on her cheeks.

She is me, and I am you.

And I am proud of you. Then. Now. Always.

And to the person, I want to be... I will be you. One day. And she will still be here. My past self, rooting for you as always.