To My Younger Self: I Am So Proud Of You

Dear you—or should I just say hi? I’m not quite sure how to start this off, but I will say this is needed.

I would like to start off first by saying I am proud of you, because those words were not said often enough to you, especially after everything you have been through. I can’t remember when, but there was one point when you decided that the bad in life wasn’t always going to last, and so you made sure to always keep that smile on your face no matter what you were going through, and there’s not enough words to tell you how much that has helped me down the line. I am so proud of you.

Speaking of the bad, I am sorry. I am sorry that you had to go through things that stole away your innocence and made you see the world in a way that no child should ever have to see it. I am sorry that it is because of this, you grew up way too quickly, being forced to become an adult when all you wanted to be—needed to be—was just a child. You were not ready to take on such a burden. I only wish I could have been there to protect you, to help carry such a burden and allow you to be a child again.

It hurts to remember the dark places you went to, and I won’t tell you such experiences have made you into a stronger person, because that is not true. There are still scars that have yet to heal, they have just become easier to wear. You deserved the world, and if I could go back, I would have loved you in the way that you deserved.

You were never inferior or beneath anyone, never ugly or unattractive, you were more than enough, and you will come to realize that soon enough. There is something about you that is unique, the way your eyes wonder at things that others see as mundane and ordinary, and your heart’s capacity to love in every circumstance and situation despite everything. I have yet to see anyone love the way you do, and maybe it’s a defense mechanism, to give love in its entirety. I am still figuring that one out, but I will tell you, it is and will always be your greatest strength.

You are the best thing that the world has to offer. Be you wholly and unapologetically—you’d be surprised how much the world needs more of that. And I don’t think I need to tell you that the past does not define you, you did what you could with the abilities you had at the time and that is all anyone can do.

One last thing: I love you. I love every bit of you, and will continue to do so. It’s been a long time and it will be a long time before those words even cross your mind, but the time will come.

I would only hope that if you could see me now, you’d be in awe of the person you have become. That you would be just as proud of me now, as I am of you then.