A little over 2 years ago, I published my most widely viewed blog post ever, An Open Letter to My Daughter’s Bullies. Including, But not Limited to the Mean Girls. It was a very small glimpse into my own private pain and thoughts towards my daughter’s bullies and the heartbreak it was causing our entire family. Today marks an anniversary of sorts– It was 3 years ago on this day that Casey reached her breaking point and left public school for a year and a half to be homeschooled. Recently she was asked to write a letter to her 13 year-old self, and that’s what I’ve posted here today. While parts of her letter are difficult, as a mom, for me to read, I could not be more proud of who she has become–as a young woman, as a person, as a writer. You’ve come a long way, baby~ and this is just the beginning…
Life doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. It doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. But you’re going to be able to handle it. You’ve already gone through some tough stuff. Some might say too tough. And they might be right. You’re going to go through things heavier and darker than you deserve. And again, you’ve already braved circumstances that you’re too young to have to deal with. You’re only 13. But you’re going to get through all this. How do I know all this? Because I’m you. The 16 year old you. Believe me, I know that life just feels too heavy and hard and hateful right now for you to bear. But you don’t see the hope in store for you and you don’t see the wonderful things coming your way.
Right now, you can’t look past the rejection. You can’t see ahead of the depression that’s so mercilessly eating away at you these days that you’re living through. You’re unable to overlook the sting of your bullies’ cruel words. You’re unable to look past the constant crying, the restless nights, the disturbing nightmares, the weight of that hopeless feeling. But there’s a bottom line to all that– it’s NOT YOUR FAULT.
You’re not to blame for your own trauma. You are not to blame for being unwanted and unaccepted by your peers. You are not accountable for the eye rolls, the girl that trips you in the locker room, the boy that hits you and shouts verbal abuse at you, the girl that says that you never do anything right, the girls that say that they hate you and that they don’t even want you in the same school as them. These are merely actions carried out by hurting people, even though their own pain does not justify their abuse on you.
You are only responsible for you. Make sure you take care of yourself, whether it means crying and letting it out or if it means finding the good in yourself, because there’s more to love about you than you realize. And there’s more hope for your future that you won’t get to know until the actual time comes. You ARE going to bloom and thrive and mature. But most importantly, you WILL learn to love yourself. You don’t know how that feels yet, but that’s okay. After the hate and dreariness you’ve endured, even thinking about loving yourself is excruciatingly challenging. But your craziest, wildest, most beautiful dreams are going to become a REALITY. Your soul and mind will be at an almost alarming peace. You will make friends that love you and accept you 100 percent for who you are. And you’re going to find a long-deserved happiness that you’ve never known before. There will come a day when you don’t question your presence on this beautiful nightmare we call Earth. There will be a day where you know that you deserve better than arms lined with self-inflicted scratches. There will be a day where you can look in the mirror and love the strong girl smiling back at you. Hang in there. There’s hope ahead even though you can’t see it. Yet.