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I see your struggle, and I hear your pain. I was 16 once too, remember? I’m writing to you as if I was writing to my younger self, because I would want the younger me to learn from my mistakes sooner rather than later. I made many stupid mistakes when I was your age; I did bad things I shouldn’t have, I hurt people, and I hated our family. I wished so badly I could disappear in hopes that someone would notice or care. I wanted a dad—or a father, to be in the picture and I resented Mom for it. I didn’t care about school, my grades, or my future. I cared about having a social life. I cared about being pretty, and popular. I cared about stupid material things and not the bigger picture. But I didn’t know myself. You know yourself. You know that you are beautiful and smart. You know that you are strong and confident and brave. You know that people like you and that you have the world in your hands. You just don’t care. Even if you can’t admit that to yourself.
If I could jump back in time with all the knowledge I have now, I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it because I am proud of who I am now and who I continue to become. But, I will say that I can take the knowledge I have now and pass it down to you so that you can grow and become a better you. I don’t want it to take you all the years it took me to realize my mistakes. Realize them now. I hate sitting here and watching you crash and burn and you can’t even see it. It’s heartbreaking.
I know it’s hard being 16. You feel like you resent the world and the world resents you. But you are a healer, and the world needs you. You need the world. You need us, your family. We have been with you since the day you were born, and we are the only people who will never leave your side. That’s what family is for. Don’t shut us out. I know you are sad and you feel isolated and alone, but you are doing that to yourself. There are so many people who want to be your friend and you want nothing to do with them. I wish I had that luxury when I was 16. You isolate yourself from your family who wants to talk to you about your day and watch movies with you, but you shut yourself in your room because you don’t want to talk about your feelings or share your life with us. So ask yourself why you feel isolated? You say you hate us and you hate mom because we suck and we ruin things… but what are we doing that makes you resent us that much? Loving you? Caring about your well-being? Understanding you even if you feel like we don’t? Being hard on you because we KNOW what you are capable of?
Don’t be like me. Don’t take after my mistakes because you hate that we don’t have a dad in our life, or Mom is seemingly being unreasonable, or you feel isolated. Sometimes I disagree with the things Mom says and does, too. She may piss me off, and make choices any of us don’t like. She may have made bad husband and father decisions. But at the end of the day, she has raised us all herself, fighting tooth and nail, and she loves us all. She just wants to see her greatest creations be what we really are—her GREATEST creations.
I know that you hate school and feel like you’re not having the “high school experience.” But tell me, what is the high school experience? Is there an exact definition of it? Do you have to go by society’s standards of what a high school experience is thought to be? What about making it your own experience? What about cherishing those moments that you already have? High School isn’t the rest of your life. Being 16 isn’t the rest of your life. I know, it feels like it is now. I remember being stuck in that. But I can assure you, having a “high school experience” is just another blip on your radar. Life is too short to be stuck on the things you are stuck on in this moment. I know you feel like you don’t have any friends, but trust me, the people in your life now will not be in your life forever. Only your family will.
I know a lot of your pain is from not having Dad in our lives. I know that, I feel it, I went through it. I know it feels like guilt—almost like it’s your fault. It’s not. It’s nobody’s fault. We are still a family, together. And that won’t change.
Please don’t think you are alone or that everyone is against you. You’re only 16. You have your whole life ahead of you. I know you don’t want to listen to us. But Mom has 32 years more experience than you. I have seven more years experience than you. I think maybe, just maybe, it’s time to listen.