Dear Me – A Letter to My Teenage Self

I have shared this story so many times with friends in person, in emails, on Facebook, that when I sat down to write this post, I honestly couldn’t remember if I had already shared the story with you, the readers of Resourceful Mommy.

We were nearing the end of our time in Tanzania with Compassion Internationalwhen I turned to The Nester and shared that I was feeling anxious for the first time during the trip. I wasn’t nervous about travel. I wasn’t concerned about my safety. And even in the bleakness of the situations we encountered, I was surrounded always by the light of hope shining from the faces of these beautiful people.

So what was the source of the anxiety? I felt like I wasn’t working hard enough, wasn’t good enough.  Clearly my posts weren’t going to get enough children sponsored, surely I had been brought to Africa with these incredible people by mistake, and what would be waiting for me when I got home?  Emails. Lots of emails from people wondering why they had to wait nine days to hear from me. After all, I’m usually so responsible and get my work to people exactly as they need it and always on time. No, early.

Nester has a way about her. If you’ve met her or read her site, you know what I’m talking about. She just has a way.  She turned to me and said, “Amy, you need my sister’s book.”

That is when I was introduced to Emily P. Freeman‘s amazingly honest and oh-so-what-I-needed book, Grace for the Good Girl. I’ve recommended the book dozens of times since, but haven’t been able to lend my own copy because it is filled with my margin notes, things like, “THIS IS ME!” and “OH MY GOODNESS, YES!”

Now Emily has written Graceful, a bit of a Grace for the Good Girl for young adults.  When I heard of Graceful, once again via Nester, I immediately sent a copy to my 19 year old cousin and asked her to share it around her dorm. I can only imagine how profound it will be to hear Emily’s words at that age knowing how she has impacted me now.

Today Emily is hosting a link-up on Chatting at the Sky for everyone around the bloggy world writing letters to their teenage selves. Oh, how I wish I could talk to my teenage self, give her a good shake and a pat on the back. So while  I’m half a lifetime too late, here are my thoughts for teenage me.

Dear Self,

Can I call you self?  Listen, we need to talk, Amy to Amy.  You are a bright, talented, fun, beautiful young woman, but I’d like to help you with some things.  First, and I know this is trivial, but can we talk about the senior prom?

Way to go on the vintage dress. Cute and frugal at only $17. Love it. But the date? You invited the cute, rich boy from the big school thirty minutes away.  You would have had so much more fun had you taken a friend from home or even gone by yourself. Yes, he took great pictures, but now you have pictures of someone you don’t even know anymore. Don’t worry so much about appearances.  Nobody cares who your prom date is, and you don’t need to care if they do.  Just be you and enjoy the people you love (not Mr. Arm Candy).

And while we’re talking about people you love, I can’t help but notice that there’s a special someone in your life whose opinion of you you are working very hard to control. The truth is, that isn’t your job. Your worth has nothing to do with how he feels about you. It’s okay to allow him to have his own opinions. You are wonderful and amazing and perfect just the way you are, created to be who God wanted you to be. If he likes long skinny arms and legs, that is his issue, not yours. There is a young man in Texas right at this very moment just waiting to fall in love with you and your wonderfully sturdy physique.

Speaking of that physique, stop hiding.  Rock that baby tee.  No really, rock it now while you still can before you’re folding real baby tees and your stomach muscles have the control of Gumby:

And while we’re on that topic, listen to me carefully.

You are not fat.

You are not fat.

You are not fat.  Although, a note. You are not a great bowler (but you did have fun that night).

You are strong. You are happy. You are loved. You are enough.

You play nosetackle and wear black mouthguards. What is not to love?

Yes, you’re going to make some silly decisions. After all, you’re a teenager!  This is only natural.

Maybe take the turtle sticker off of your face before going through customs in Brussels.

A little less complaint rock might lighten the mood.

And can we lose the jazz hands?

Listen, in all seriousness, please understand that you do not need to be perfect. And you happen to be wonderful. You want to work harder? Work harder on cutting yourself a break. Work harder on releasing control, control of situations, control of people around you, control of opinions.  Work harder on accepting the grace that God has given to you. You can’t earn that. It’s yours. It’s a gift.

Now, go be your crazy teenager self.





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  • Yesss!!!! This is fantastic, Amy. Thank you a million times for joining in. I’m so glad you did.

  • So fun reading all these letters linked up at Chatting at the Sky. Thanks for sharing.

  • My letter would be very similar, minus the jazz hands 🙂 If I could convince young women of one thing it’d be to love and accept your body. I spent years letting other people tell me I was fat. I wasn’t. I never wore sleeveless dresses. I should have. And I never wore shorts in public. Screw them.

    I was thin and beautiful and I spent that time worrying about what others think instead of enjoying my strong, healthy body.

    I refuse to waste another moment worrying about what people think and this fat old lady wears shorts in public.

  • Nope, I wasn’t cool and in choir….I was a band geek 🙂

    • Oh, Connie, I wasn’t cool. LOL I was a band geek as well. Percussion. The back of the stage pulling pranks with all the drummer boys.

  • amy, just now stopping by and oh my goodness you are adorable. you know, that’s why I like you so much, because you remind me of my sister. can’t wait to see you in October!