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Dear 16 . . .

Dear 16-year-old-self,

Well here it is. Proof you made it through high school. I know you thought the end would NEVER come, but it actually came much faster than you expected.

Now, a few years later, high school feels like forever ago. Last night you and your hubby (yes, you actually do get married) were going through some of your old stuff. He read parts of your journals. You were embarrassed. Mostly you were shocked at how a few years change your perspective on life.

So remember this, okay?

1. Don't waste your time worrying about guys. They are NOT worth it. Not worth the tears, worry, stress, or the way you beat yourself up. Someday you will meet a wonderful man who is a great provider, loving, and a wonderful daddy. Don't rush it. You will regret wasting your life on these immature boys. In a few years, you won't even remember who half of them are.

2. Don't try to do everything. It's great that you're an athlete, love art, and work hard in school. Don’t join 15 clubs and get a job and be involved in church and try to have a social life and volunteer for the play all at once. Work hard, but have fun. Don’t push your limits.

3. Just because you get a C in one class, it doesn't mean you're not going to college.

4. Mom? Yeah, you fight a lot. You wish you could tell her how you really feel. She isn't going to change. But you will. You'll realize as you grow up that some things aren't worth fighting over.

5. Forgive yourself. Everyone screws up. You're still trying to figure out how to forgive yourself. Move on. Don't dwell on your mistakes.

6. Spend more time with your siblings. BE NICE TO THEM! They love you. They look up to you. Don't push them away. You will regret that you are not close to them every day.

7. Don't kick your dog. He loves you too even if he is a dumb dog and always in the way.

8. Lying to your parents? Not cool. And so not worth it. You end up getting in more trouble than you should because you lie to them. (And they know it. They're not as dumb as you think.)

9. Be nice to everyone. You're okay at this. But those few people that really drive you nuts? You don't know what's going on with them. Everyone deserves respect.

10. Stay close to God. Pray a lot. Realize that He loves you. Remember that He is always there for you. He will not forsake you.

11. Things are hard. You get depressed. You feel alone. But I promise you this--when you are older, when you look back on how miserable you were, you will realize that you weren't alone. You have so many good friends who love you, who would do anything for you. And most of all, you have your family. They love you and support you. (Even when they want to kill you.)

12. Don't bother with putting on your makeup every day. In a few years you'll wonder why in the heck you couldn't take the garbage out without your foundation and mascara on.

13. Work hard in school. (You know that. You work your butt off already.) But remember to work hard in college, too. GO TO CLASS! Turn your homework in. Trust me, it's important.

14. Be thankful for what you are blessed with.

15. Write in your journals. Someday you will be grateful you did; you will remember what it was like to be 13, 14, 15. It's worth it. Besides, you'll smile when you hear your hubby laughing so hard you can hear him all the way downstairs. Because really, you are normal.(ha!)

So, 16-year-old self, don't try to grow up too fast. It will come sooner than you think. But when it does, you'll be happy.

Don't take your husband for granted. He and your baby are the best things ever to happen to you. And being a mom is the greatest.

So relax. Everything will work out.

It always does.


Your older and maturing self

Cornnut spent a few short years studying psychology and art history. She is obsessed with all things visual and hopes to own enough art to have her own gallery someday. She likes to think of herself as an artist, loves Mark Rothko, and prefers the abstract expressionist movement. She married her very own stud in 2006 and is a stay-at-home mommy to the cutest 14 month old little boy ever. She is expecting another baby in September 2009 and is excited to expand her growing family! She is passionate about spreading awareness of and preventing child abuse. A survivor of abuse herself, she feels it is vital to share her experiences with others. Someday she would like to be an art therapist and work with abused children. She writes about her experiences in overcoming the effects of abuse, depression, and PTSD on her blog, Picture of Experience.

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