Letter to Myself in High School (on Disability, Popularity, Dating, etc.)

Hi, friends. I am sure we have all felt the saying, “hindsight is 2020.” As a 26-year-old, I know so much more about God, the world, and myself; of course, I still have much to learn.

Here is a letter I might write to myself in high school if I could. Perhaps it’s good that I can’t because there’s no telling if I would have turned out as the same person had I not experienced heartaches and mistakes. I think this activity will be sort of therapeutic for me because it will remind me how far I’ve come. I hope it will be interesting and even relatable to my readers, too.

Dear Lily,

You have always loved the spotlight. That quality will help you glorify God in the future through ministry platforms that involve teaching and preaching. Unfortunately, you won’t reach that confidence (or maturity) level for a while. As your chronic disability that you don’t know about began to manifest, and you entered a chubby, pimply stage, you edged out of the “winners circle” in middle school. You’ll remain in the margins–nerdy and unsure of the right thing to say or do to be accepted. You feel bad about that right now, but you will learn that being different is cool…not always “popular,” but actually, authentically awesome…though we have a ways to go before reaching that part.

You walk funny, and you feel the eyes of your peers on you–watching, questioning, judging. You feel anxious over the most minute tasks like walking to the front of a classroom to turn in an assignment, praying you won’t trip over one of the bookbags lying haphazardly in the aisle. You will fully bloom into a beautiful woman who owns her disability someday, but you will go through a lot of mental anguish along the way. There is nothing I can say to ease that pain except to tell you that you will become stronger and wiser. By the way, working out will become a crucial component of your lifestyle, so it’d be nice if you could get a headstart.

You are dating a boy who, in your opinion, hung the moon. You probably won’t believe me when I say this, but here goes: he’s a good person, but he won’t end up to be your person. Since he’s your first love, you will be devastated and won’t get over it for a long time. But after a few years and a few guys, you will meet a man who thinks that you hung the moon. He will take care of you better than you thought possible.

You were born and raised in church, and you are blessed to have a loving church family. God has planted a few seeds in your heart that will eventually bear fruit, but you will push all of that away for a few years. The fact is, you have no idea how ignorant you are. You will make many mistakes before you truly see your face in the mirror (James 1:23-25). Do not worry, child; God is working all things to the good.

Getting back to your love of the spotlight, that need for approval will urge you to try to fit in with the party crowd in college. Eventually, you’ll learn that social conformity does not result in real coolness. That kind of validation is fleeting and vapid. On the brightside, you will learn to accept your disability and advocate for your needs in college. You’ll learn other things, too, but maybe we should save that for another letter.

One more thing: you love to read and write. Hold on to those passions because they will shape your life. Spoiler alert: they will affect your college experience, your future hobbies, and your future jobs.

Have hope because the future is bright. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, be kind to your parents; they love you more than you know.

Love, Lily


Wow, that reflective activity was…cathartic. You guys should try it. Some of you who are older might have other ideas like “Letter to Myself After Having my First Child” or another significant time. If you do so, I’d love if you let me know so I can read yours.

Thanks for reading! What is one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself at a certain point in your life? Let me know in the comments.

32 comments

  1. My sweet friend,
    While I am sure you were very nervous and felt self-conscious as a young girl in class, that must be a girl thing for I don’t ever remember thinking about something like that one way or another. I know I would have concentrated on your smile and hair. You excel in both of those areas. I don’t mean to minimize how you felt,but only to tell you that those feelings were more self-concerns as opposed to what most others would have thought or felt. The fact you weren’t phony and that you have great beauty would have given you a great advantage over other girls. So what can I say: I still focus on your assess and think you have it all. But then again, what do I know?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I loved reading this, Lily. It’s a very beautiful message.

    If I could write a letter to my younger self, I would encourage him to ignore all the negative things people say about him, about the funny way he walks, about the imaginary friend he keeps, and about him being too emotional to get over his first heartbreak for four years and counting.

    I would encourage him to be courageous enough to stand up to people and tell them โ€˜Noโ€™ when necessary. I would tell him to still believe in love, happiness, peace, hope and all the beautiful things in life. I’d also ask him to stop comparing himself to other people โ€” it wouldn’t do him any good, anyway.

    I would say a lot to him, Lily. But, above all, I’d advise him to hold on to God, despite how overwhelming his challenges become. I can’t bear to see myself make that same mistake twice.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This was beautiful Lily! Loved it โค๏ธ. If I could I would go back and tell myself plainly that I was abused and the sooner I can own that the better! Then I might encourage myself to start being my authentic self far earlier than I started to be — and also a warning about not staying with, or becoming freshly entangled with, people who were simply posing as Christians as they caused great harm to me — (and what an authentic Christian and an authentic apology/repentance looks like as it took a long while to understand it!).

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Hi Sweet Lily, I enjoyed this very much. It made me smile and laugh a little as I thought back to those days you were referring to, cause I remember them as well when I was that age. I had a few close friends during my school years but I wasn’t in with the most popular crowd. My younger brother played Basketball, he was good and very popular. My older brother was more in my league and we hung out together some with the same friends. He would take me to the ball games with him. That was a fun post. Take care Sweet Lily and may God Bless you each day.. Love ya Deb

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Very cool Lily!! Thanks for sharing!!

    A friend of mine who experienced trauma as a teenager was recently advised by her mentor to do this as a therapeutic step toward healing…she now doesnโ€™t have so much resentment toward the teenage version of herself as a result.
    Itโ€™s something I really should do as well!!๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Alicia! I’d love to read it if you ever did. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know you have had a storied past, so that would make it all the more interesting to see how you would approach your past self.

      Like

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