Dear Thirteen-Year-Old Me

This month, I'm going to be writing letters to myself at various stages in my life. Below is the second installment, for my thirteen-year-old self. Check back next week for the next letter! Dear thirteen-year-old me,

Junior high is awkward for everyone. Just embrace that fact, and things will go much more smoothly for you. Don't be afraid of looking foolish or making mistakes. Those things are inevitable. Celebrate them. Take joy in the courage it takes to be your awesome self-- awkwardness, big glasses, crooked teeth, bad hair days, and all.

I know moving to a new city threw a wrench in your friendships, and now moving from elementary school to junior high is full of unfamiliar faces, leaving you feeling like a small fish drowning in what's really more like an ocean than a bigger pond. But you'll learn to navigate the currents here, too.

Don't be afraid to be exactly who you are-- crazy outfit days in the name of school spirit needn't be the only times you choose to let your oddball side shine. Stand out from the crowd. Don't be afraid to sing loud in choir and give your next art project your all-- you are capable of far more than you think.

Love yourself just the way you are. Fight the urge to compare yourself to others. Live your unique life, resisting the temptation to spend your precious time trying to fit in. Nobody else can be you. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

I promise you'll make new friends who will carry you through these strange years. Take them up on their invitations to slumber parties, school dances, and football games. You will grow out of some of your awkwardness, and embrace other parts of it, in time. Love yourself for it and others will, too.

All my love,