A letter to my 17-year-old self.

Hey girl, hey. The first thing that I want to say is that you are beautiful. You matter. Your feelings matter. Loosen up. Feel free to be yourself.

Forgive me for looking in the mirror and wishing that I could have a nose job as soon as I was an adult. Forgive me for not seeing the beauty in your eyes and your body. You will struggle with your weight everyday but guess what? The number on the scale doesn’t define you.

You are not a failure because you have not been very successful long enough in your weight loss journey. Everything will not be easy and this is a battle that you have to wake up everyday and decide to win. You have to fight. You can’t give up. Trust me, you are going to long to be more active in your son’s life so just start now.

Baby girl, you never deserved to be ashamed of what you decided to eat. You should have been taught how to have a healthy lifestyle and make exercise fun so that later on you won’t see it as something you despise. I regret deeply that you didn’t get the support you needed in this area because it becomes the biggest thorn in your side as you get older.

Your emotions will be all over the place but that is ok as well. You’ll get help and it will get better. Right now, just focus on accepting that you feel everything so so deeply. What you feel is valid and nope. You aren’t too sensitive. Your emotional intelligence will be one of your greatest strengths. The empathy and passion that you have inside you is just waiting to burst out.

Your heart is pure gold. Whoever gets it will be blessed bc they won’t know what it feels like to not have love.

Forgive me for trying to fix things that were none of your business being the age that you are. You had to grow up faster because your conscious allowed you to feel your mom’s pain and want to take it away from her. This led you to trying to perform the best so that your parents would be distracted. You hoped to fix everything so that your environment wouldn’t be so toxic. So that so much fighting and fussing wouldn’t go on but baby girl, it was nothing that you could do to fix that.

Forgive me for allowing you to think that you weren’t good enough or smart enough or pretty enough. You were always all of those things. I led you to mold yourself into whoever you needed to be. I helped you create many masks that hid the real you.

If I could tell you anything that you would definitely listen to is to be yourself and don’t worry. Everything works out as it should. You will succeed. Oh my gosh, you should see you now. Living in your dream home and working your dream job. Girl, you will do it!

Be more grateful Jelissa. Appreciate every little thing. Nothing is too small to be grateful for and proud of. Stop hiding and let your light shine. There are people who are waiting on you to be your authentic self so that they in turn can live in their truth too.

Nothing is odd about you. And if it is, oh well. Trust, everyone has their quirks and that’s what’s makes you unique. You don’t have to be mean for people to take you serious. You aren’t mean so don’t use it to keep yourself from getting hurt. You’re gonna get hurt anyway. Learn now to feel the hurt, figure out what the hurt taught you, and keep it moving.

I really wish you could have had a better relationship with your parents. They did the best they could with what they knew/had at the time. I’m sorry that your dad didn’t do a great job at showing you how a man should treat you. I’m sorry that your mom taught you to settle and not prioritize yourself by staying with your dad when that marriage should have been over.

Til this day you don’t have a great relationship with them especially your dad. He will teach you what being guilt-tripped will feel like so no one else can make you feel guilty for the decisions that YOU make.

Let NO be a complete sentence. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. No one at all!

When 2012 comes, reach out for help then instead of waiting 4 more years. It is then that you’ll realize that you were depressed. Oh yeah, it was no need for you to try to cut away the pain that you felt a few years ago. Just hold on until you’re in college and it won’t hurt so bad anymore.

You deserve to live and not die! There will be nothing in your life that bad which would make you want to commit suicide.

Forgive me for making you think that in order for you to feel validated, you had to have the approval of others. They don’t really matter like that. Just examine how you see yourself and go from there.

Stop being so hard and self-critical. It will literally make you sick! Nothing good comes from negative self-talk and thoughts. You have to trap those thoughts as soon as you think them and replace them with a positive thought then repeat hag to yourself. You’re gonna want to do this everyday so that it becomes automatic. This is very very important to ensure your growth.

Trouble doesn’t last always baby girl. I can promise you that. Focus on you and finding out what makes you happy. What brings you joy Jelissa? What are your hobbies? What are your goals? These are all very good things to focus on and figure out. The earlier, the better.

I’m sorry that I didn’t write you sooner. I had to get my thoughts together. Anyway, I love you.

Be easy,

Jelissa