A lot of days I wish my wingspan was 6 years long so I could reach back to my sophomore year of high school and tap my insecurities on the shoulder. I wish I could float back there like the guardian angel 16 year old me always prayed would show up. 16 year old me with shaky hands and the leftovers of other peoples opinions for a backbone. 16 year old me wearing regret and fear instead of my new sundress, bringing my burdens to the party instead of the champagne. I’d tiptoe back there and say-
I know you feel like a pen with no ink, a clock who's hands completely forgot how to keep track of time. I know you are drowning in the hand-me-downs of the clothes society gave you and told you to look good in. I know you are quite literally suffocating in this existence that you haven’t a clue how to wear. I am not here to tell you that it gets better quickly, or all at once. It does not. You will have hard days, days that chew you up and spit you back out. But I’m here to tell you this,
6 years from now you will be sitting on a beach. You will be so full, not one part of you will feel hollowed out. You will look around and you will see the sun shining out of all the places you once saw fear. You will be wearing your skin like it is your favorite sundress. You will be proud of the marks left behind from these paralyzed years. You will look back on these days with truth in your eyes and handfuls of light that you hand picked from them. There has always been so much more light than you think, you were just too afraid to take your sunglasses off.
I need you to know this too; You will never be everyones cup of tea. In fact, it will be rare that anyone ever takes you without sugar or honey or something to sweeten you a little bit. But please, my dear girl, please remember that this is not your fault. This is not because of you. You will learn that people make us into things and they dress us up how they want us in their heads because that makes them feel better. They can sleep easier thinking that we’re one thing, because that’s more comfortable for them.
So let them look at you a little funny, let them scramble for ways to understand you. Leave the costumes they give you at home and put on your personality that is five sizes too big and walk out that door with a perk in your step. People won’t know how to swallow that, they’ll make you out to be some oddball because that makes more sense to them. And maybe you are, maybe you’re a complete weirdo, totally offbeat, but thank God. Thank God that’s what you are. You will thank yourself later for letting yourself be that way.
I know that right now you are a tourist in your own skin and all of the popular attractions are just mediocre. I know there are a lot of strange little tourists wearing fanny packs and snapping pictures of the things you hate the most about yourself and they're hanging them up all over the place for everyone to see. I know you feel like all that everyone is looking at is your flaws. But I promise you my dear, I see you. You are seen. The beautiful mess that you are is so seen and so cherished.
And lastly, little 16 year old me,
I know you stand barely five feet tall and I know that you feel like a shotgun without ammunition. But oh my girl, if only I could tell you about the punch you will find. If only I could tell you about the grace you'll be taught of and the earth shattering love you will find. I can't wait for you to feel what I feel now.
Just take a deep breath and go write another poem, soon you will discover what they do for you. The life they give you. People will read them someday.
Older (but still slightly awkward & irresponsible) you