Dear younger self,
Your most critical age was probably around middle school years, maybe 12-14 years old when you were between middle school and entering high school. Huge changes were going on, not only were you starting to transition to a new school, but you were also figuring out so much about yourself. You were always smart in school but not the smartest, but you tried your very best and it always was enough in your eyes.
There were times when you were stressed about your friendships, relationships, grades and even smaller things like your appearance, and all these things seemed so catastrophic when they were happening. At 14 even, you still had so much growing to do and were your biggest critic.
You are now about to turn 19 years old in less than a week and so much has changed and happened, but truthfully, in many ways, you are still the same. Your relationship with your mom still is like no other, and you have gotten so much closer with your little sister; who looks up to you and also supports you in every way. The person you were with at 14 is no longer who you are with, and with so many changes, you have grown so much from experiencing heartbreaks and setbacks.
Some days I wake up and wish I was still your age, I wish that I could go back to having little to no responsibilities from the outside world. Now, you are juggling 3 jobs and being a full-time student, and some days you really just feel like running away from it all. A trait that I know you have always had is ambition, and it is a huge reason why now you are being pulled in a million different directions because if you want something, Athena, you WILL get it.
At 14, you may think that the world is ending because your hair isn't quite right one day, or you haven't talked to your best friend in a week, but quite frankly, there are many days were I have to throw my hair up in a messy do and keep to myself for months on end.
By now, you have experienced heartbreak and have endured trust issues like no other, but it's not the end; you have met someone that has begun to build you up again, and you were finally and truly experience love at 18. Through the years, there have been ups and downs but none you haven't handled and always do you grow from them.
Some advice I can give is to stop worrying about the little things so much and enjoy being a kid because it doesn't last forever. I am now in the working world, juggling work, school and trying to keep a positive balance to keep myself healthy. I just want to let you know that it is okay to not feel okay sometimes and that we have made it this far. Stay strong.
Your older self.