A Letter to my 13-Year-Old Self

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Oh, Kate.

I owe you an apology.

I have been embarrassed by you, angry with you, resentful of you.

I have hidden pictures and in the same way hidden pain.

Pain that I’ve allowed to hang on too tight; too long.

I’ve run from you, tried to forget you, tried to blame you.

But I see now that all this running does no good.

No, it keeps the pain alive, keeps the fear burning.

It keeps everything you faced fresh and present and insurmountable in my mind.

So I am sorry. It’s going to be different now.

I’m choosing to soften my heart to you.

I’m choosing to tell you what you so desperately needed to hear:

I see you.

I see you in your loneliness.

I see the shame you carry and how uncomfortable you are in your own body.

I also see your earnest heart, how accepting you are, how your soul longs to be light.

I see how you feel like you can never get it right.

How you feel embarrassed by the space you occupy.

I know you can’t hide a single ounce of your pain—I see it in your face and body.

No matter how hard you try to pretend, it shows.

I know that you hate yourself.

For your perceived flaws— for your body that won’t cooperate; for your face that you have deemed unlovely.

For your personality that you shut down and hid because you felt it was too intense to be lovable.

I see how you thought you had to have a perfect and inoffensive persona because you felt you had to make up for your lacking looks.

Baby girl, stop blaming yourself, hating yourself, because you think your flaws are the reason you are alone.

The only thing that is too intense about you is your self-hatred.

I just need you to know: it’s ok, Love. I’m ready now. We can let that pain go.

You and me, we can acknowledge now:

It was not ok, how you were treated.

It was not ok, how strong you had to be.

So, so much of it was not ok.

We can let it sting, and let it go.

We can embrace the pain, and bid it farewell.

Oh, you’ve been so brave.

I wish I could just hold you and tell you how everything will be alright.

I wish I could tell you:

You will surprise yourself in a million different ways.

Just when you think you’ve defined exactly who you are—you’ll find that there is room for more.

You are held and loved, right now, more than you know. You’ll see it later, I promise.

You will go through more pain—pain you’ll be sure will end you. But you will make it through.

You’ll make it through and you will be softer and kinder than you thought possible.

You will realize all the quiet suffering you went through had been building ferocious strength in your spirit.

You will show up.

You will try to heal.

You will hurt people.

You will help heal people.

You will fail.

You will succeed.

You will feel joy that sends you soaring.

You will grow and be steadfast even when you feel shaky.

You will be vulnerable and open— because you will know that we all have an unsure kid inside us wondering if things will be ok.

And when you do that, you will be received by the right people; kind people who see you and love you and believe in you.

You will meet people who only know the version of you you’ve always wished you could be. In fact, they will be baffled you were ever any other way.

You will meet people who dislike you for a joy you went through hell to find. And it won’t bother you a bit. Well, it will a little. But it won’t shake you.

In fact, it will kind of make you smile. Because you’ll realize…you really like who you are. You’ll begin to let your own opinion of you be enough.

Jesus is the one who makes you realize this. Keep being curious about Him.

Right now you may feel completely inadequate, and embarrassingly abundant at the same time.

You may think you lack all the right qualities and have a surplus of the wrong ones.

But you are far lovelier, far more worthy and accepted than you could ever imagine.

And oh, you are so brave.

You’ll need every page of this chapter, every last bit of you, to reach the crux of your beautiful story.

Don’t rip out any pages. Don’t go over-editing or regretting any lines.

I’ll leave you with this now because we both need to hear it:

Be too much, babe.

Be precisely you.

Be blindingly bright.

Be too loving and too kind.

Be too wild and too passionate.

Be too inquisitive and too full of wonder.

Be too empathetic and too gentle.

Be too goofy and too playful.

Be too awkward and too uncouth.

Be too strong and too determined:

You’re going to need every ounce

of that Too-Much-ness on this journey you’re on.

Be too much, babe.

It’s exactly enough.

One thought on “A Letter to my 13-Year-Old Self

  1. This. So beautiful. Just like you. I love you, beautiful Kate. Keep being you. There’s no one better for the job. Chris

    Sent from my iPhone


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