Dear 17-year-old Kate,
I want to start with an apology. I am so sorry for how bad I let the darkness get before I finally reached out for help. And I am so sorry for all the nights you spent curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, praying for it all to stop. I’m sorry for the tears, the silent screaming, and the self-destruction. I should have asked for help so much sooner; rather than waiting until I was sitting in a woodshop class surrounded by sharp tools.
When I look back, I can’t help but cringe at everything I put you through. You have endured too many dark days for my apology to mean anything. That’s why I wanted to share a few tidbits about the future.
You still have dark days… but they are nowhere near as bad as the days you are experiencing now. You have four reasons to keep waking up in the morning. Their names are Raelynn, Charlotte, Maverick, and Elijah. They’re incredible. They’re going to be the reason you smile, the reason you keep trucking on, the reason you put up with your own bull crap. Trust me, the moment you hold them for the first time… it’s going to be an epiphany of love, worth, and happiness.
You’re going to find that you have a mind full of thoughts; good and bad. But you’re going to be able to process them and find ways to deal with each and every single one of them. You’re going to have amazing friends who are willing to talk you through the ones you can’t process alone.
You have cheerleaders in your corner. You have Chloe and Mara. Yes, they’re still your best friends. They are the best friends you could ever ask for but I’m sure you already know that right now. They’re going to help you through some really rough situations and they’re going to help you figure out who you are. They’re going to cheer you on as you make your way through this crazy life.
You move to Oregon. I know you’re probably going to love that fact. I know that right now, as you lie on the bathroom floor, you’re begging God to get you the heck out of Pennsylvania and let you have a clean slate. Oregon is beautiful and you’re going to love the scenery that will surround you. The mountains will intrigue you. The lakes and rivers will make you buy a camera again. You’re going to fall in love with photography again because of this place.
You’re going to find peace “on top of the world” with a girl named Christina who becomes your best friend really fast. She’s going to be a stranger one day… and the next, she’ll be sitting with you in a hospital room as you wait to get wheeled away for emergency surgery. You’re going to find that you and her will be each other’s sanity some days.
You’re going to smile a real smile. I promise.
You’re going to get a job as a manager for a fair trade store and you’re going to love it. You wouldn’t believe how much passion you will have for this store. You’re going to pour yourself into so many projects for it. It’ll be your way to help people without breaking yourself like you have done so many times (and will do again and again and again. I’m sorry.)
You’re going to finally finish writing a book – one you’re super proud of. You’re going to find your passion for art again and you’re going to draw, paint, and create so many things. You’re going to learn so much about yourself.
I can’t wait for you to meet your future self just like I look forward to seeing who we are in five years. Or ten. Or twenty. I look forward to seeing how our life ends up.
I know right now it’s hard and that tomorrow seems so far away but keep holding on. It gets so much brighter for us.