Middle school, for me, was a mess. It was a time full of angst and hormones and when some family issues were added in, it was downright awful. It was like high school, but worse. If I could go back and give my younger self the information that I have since acquired, I would.

Dear Me, circa 2011 to 2013,

I know that life is hard, and you think that Mom and Dad are trying to make you fail at life, but really, they are just trying to teach you how to be a decent human being. They will love you no matter what, but that does not give you the right to treat them as though they are less than. Love them as much as you can because in a few years you will regret not doing it.

Stop trying to be popular. It's not going to work and you don’t need “popular” friends to succeed in life, you just need real ones. Don’t pretend to be someone that you aren’t just because you think that makes you “cool.” You have known the same 300 people since kindergarten and they all know you are kind of weird, you need to accept it and embrace your weirdness. Don’t turn your back on people in their time of need just because “feelings are sticky.” Feelings mean you are human and they aren't something that you can evade.

Cheerleading. Bad idea. Don’t do it, you’re uncoordinated and the coach is not a good person. Scholastic Bowl is a better option for you. But, you cannot just go through with the motions. You need to gather your courage and speak when you know the answer to a question.

Don’t try to ignore your disability. Ignoring a chronic illness cannot make it go away. Take your medicine and take care of yourself so you can avoid flare-ups and further destruction of your body.

You are not fat. You were not created to be ninety pounds and will never be model-sized. You are you and you don’t have the choice to be anyone so, be the best you that can possibly be.

All in all, be yourself, love yourself, respect others and try to contribute to society in a positive way. Life doesn’t end after high school is over. In my opinion, that is where life begins.

Love, You

I have discovered in my short 18 years that you learn from the mistakes you made and most of those I could and will never regret because they made me into the semi-respectable person that I am today. But, there are a few mistakes I have made that I wish I could take back, and I won’t dwell on them because I know that I cannot get that time back.