To the younger version of me:
You are loved.
Despite what horrible words you may hear around you...you are loved. That will never change, no matter what you say, what you do, or how hard you push.
No one is perfect. It's that simple. The people who love you...will make mistakes...just as you will. Do yourself a favor and learn that as quickly as possible. Also learn that there are always things going on beneath the surface that you don't see. You may never see them...but accept that they are there, and move on. Be understanding...to a fault. When you get mad at someone that you love remember that things can change in an instant. Before cutting someone out of your life...wonder how you would feel if they were gone tomorrow. Because as dad's death will tell you...you never know when someone will be gone forever. If you can't live with that thought...you are not ready to make such a life-altering decision.
Protect yourself. From yourself. Don't make things harder than they have to be. You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to be anything you don't feel like being. Do your best...and be happy with that. Don't spend unnecessary time trying to make others happy with you. Either they will be, or they won't. There's is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
Boys are not going to fill a void. It's really that simple. You might think they will, and you might love getting the attention. But accept that you have daddy issues. It's not a bad thing...it just is. Be more cautious about the men in your life...because as a girl without a father...you will be influenced to give men more than you should. You will overlook their massive flaws, and accept things you shouldn't. Don't be that girl. Be the girl that you will grow up to be...one who thinks for herself, respects herself, and doesn't need a man to make her feel good or happy. Be happy on your own.
No matter how hard you push some people away...they will still be there when you get older. They will still love you unconditionally...and all that has happened in the past will be forgotten. But try not to take too long to learn that...because while you're pushing them away...they are missing you.
You can't get time back. You can get relationships back...friends...family...it can all come back to you. But time won't. Once it's gone...there is no possible way to bring it back. You also can't get words back...so do your best to watch what you say. You never know when your outburst is going to hurt someone close to you irreparably.
Make your own decisions. I can't stress this one enough. Shut up the voices telling you different things...shove the devil and angel off your shoulders sometimes and think for yourself. Weigh options based on what you KNOW...not what you've been TOLD. I go back to earlier in this letter...remember that sometimes the things you KNOW...have other things going on beneath the surface. Always keep that in mind.
I know you think you know it all right now...and you have made decisions based on all that you think that you know. You are a crazy smart kid...but you still don't know it all. You will see that one day...and you will look back at yourself and WISH you'd had more information.
Family does not mean what you think it means. Family is not necessarily blood...it's the people who won't leave you behind. Unfortunately a lot of times...people who are blood will leave you. They will love you...but conditionally. You have to learn to decipher between family that you are born with, and the family that you choose for yourself. On that note...always know that is it OKAY to reject those who don't treat you the way they should. It doesn't mean that you don't love...it means that you love yourself.
I wish I could talk to you.
I want to explain so many things. Explain why I have had to make decisions as an adult that may not make sense to you...and why I'm not the monster you have decided I am. Unfortunately in some situations it seems as though history is doomed to repeat itself...and I hate that there is no way for me to stop it.
Our dad sucked. And that's not fair.
He hurt people in different ways. He hurt the younger generation in a much different way than the older generation. But the fact is that everyone walked away from the situation hurt. Recovery from his choices has been going on for years...and it will only continue. I'd like to say that it gets easier...but it doesn't. The birthdays, the anniversaries, the weddings, the births of babies...that he will never be there for...they don't get easier.
But a few things do get easier.
Learning who will help you through those times.
Dealing with the anger in constructive ways.
Letting down the walls between you and those who love you.
This world isn't what you think it is. Your relationships aren't what you think they are.
I will never discredit your feelings...because I too have felt them.
I know they are real...and I know that they can be overwhelming.
But I will always encourage you to see the big picture...where things aren't as they seem.
I will tell you that those feelings will one day change.
And the cool part about me saying that?
I know. I lived it.