A letter to me…at 16

I’m joining Emily today in celebrating the release of her new book, Graceful. The assignment is to write a letter to your 16-year-old self.  Here’s mine.

A letter to my 16 year old self:

(Sidenote: I almost never wear hats, so it’s hilarious to me that I’m wearing one in this picture!)

You’re not as bad as you think you are.  Years of  being bullied because you’re poor have taught you that you’re worthless, but you’re not.  If you could only grasp that now, you could save yourself so.much.heartache.

He’s worth it.  I know you’re scared because he’s so much older than you.  So much older that it’s completely “uncool” to date him and something only a “bad girl” would do.  You’re scared because you think he’s so far out of your reach that you could never be good enough for him and that once he figures that out, it would be over anyway…(hint:  seven years of marriage and counting and he still hasn’t figured it out…think he’s a keeper.)  But, you could save yourself some trouble by figuring all this out sooner rather than later.

Because he, however, is NOT worth it.  Which is why it would be so important for you to realize the above fact.  Then he  wouldn’t have been in the picture. I know you chose him because he was “safe” (or so you thought).  There is no danger of him being better than you, so it feels like he’s what you deserve.  He’s liked you for forever, so you don’t have to worry about “losing him.” Don’t go down that road.  Don’t play tennis.  Don’t even take physics class right now.  It really is that important for you to avoid this boy who will wound your spirit in so many ways. I wish I were just warning you away from a broken heart, but he didn’t break your heart.  He nearly destroyed your spirit with his constant abuse.

You matter.  You are worth something. Yes, we’re back to that, because at 16, you knew you were insecure, but he took that to a whole new level through his abuse.  And it will become something that 10 years down the road you’re still trying to grab onto and make it a truth in your heart.  It would be so much easier if you could learn it now.

It will catch up to you.  Everyone always tells you that all the junk food you eat will catch up to you.  Yes, I know that you’ve been sitting pretty at exactly 115 pounds for the past couple of years.  And, it will last a couple more years.  But a few years after that, it will catch up to you.  And it won’t be pretty at all.

Spend more time with mamaw.  For the love of God, please soak up every minute that you can get with her.  Listen to her stories.  Visit her more.  Call her more.  Savor every single time that you walk through her kitchen door and are greeted with a warm hug.

You do not need your masters degree.  When the time comes to get it, please don’t. Seriously.  Stay-at-home-moms don’t need graduate degrees.  Or at least, you don’t.  Focus on God’s plan for your life, big or small, because it’s all that matters.  And I could really use that extra $300/month on something besides a student loan payment…just sayin’.

People say everything in life happens for a reason.  And that’s true.  But sometimes, that reason is nothing more than our sin and bad decisions.  God has a perfect plan for your life.  You can mess that up with your detours.  Yes, His word does tell us that all things work together for good.  That means that the things you mess up?  He can fix it, or at least make something good come out of it.  But, that does not mean it was His perfect plan.  Don’t be so desperate for someone to love you that you’ll settle for less.

Yes, the plan happened.  You got your prince, and 2 beautiful boys. But it could have been so much easier and with less pain if you’d stuck to God’s plan to begin with and avoided the detours. And I could enjoy it more fully if it weren’t for living with the baggage of your mistakes.

Sincerely, your almost-30 year old self.

What would you like to say to your 16-year-old self?




  1. Leigh Kay says

    This is terrific!! Thank you for stopping by my site. Thank you MORE for coming last night to the #FMFparty! :) And I would wager that you’re better than you assume at the free writing thing. The 5 minute gets easier with time. I completely understand how maddening it is to write without edit. Sometimes, some weeks, I fudge that part. ;) But seriously, I can’t wait for you to try it. Begin alone, begin with pen or pencil to paper, and just scribble your heart. You might be surprised at what is revealed.

    Now, THIS post was fantastic. Thank you for sharing with us. You write beautifully. With poetic precision, which is often an oxymoron. :) I am so happy I “met” you last night. I can’t wait to read more.

    • Crystal says

      Thanks for the kind encouragement! I did try it here, I just added extra stuff in at the end. The part between the “go” and “stop” was my free writing :)

      This post was not written in 5 minutes :) lol

    • Crystal says

      Alene, thank you so much for your kind words! I really hesitated in sharing, but if it touched just one person I’m glad I did.

  2. Anonymous says

    I cried as I read this. It was as if you were speaking to the 16 year old that stills lives inside occasionally peaking out. Thank you for sharing your heart so freely in all your posts. You have the most amazingly beautiful spirit!

    • Crystal says

      Thank you for your kind encouragement! Your words summed it up so well…”it was as if you were speaking to the 16 year old that still lives inside occasionally peaking out.” That is exactly the case. Now if I can just try to rid myself of that insecure 16 year old voice so that when I’m 40, I can have more positive things to say to my 29 year old self! lol

  3. says

    What a great letter! While reading through, on in particular leaped off the page at me: “You do not need your masters degree.” I’ve started 2 different graduated schools at 2 separate times, believing I HAD to have my Master’s Degree. I masked it by saying “I believe this is what God wants for me.” Really, it was a selfish idea which I thought would make me look better. Finding true worth in HIM changed everything.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Crystal says

      Stefanie, you summed it up so well! I’m STILL struggling through my Masters degree, and I know in my heart of hearts that the reason it’s been such a struggle is because it wasn’t God’s purpose for me all along, it was a selfish ambition–a way for me to prove myself, to myself and others. So, here I am, with $20,000 invested into this graduate degree, 7 years down the road and at the point where if I don’t finally finish my thesis and comps all that will be for nothing.

  4. says

    Crystal, I am so happy to have found you there these two link-ups this Friday, as I am so blessed by your words. Yes, we have so much to tell these teenage selves of ours, don’t we, which makes me so grateful for how He has grown us. I wonder what we will write to ourselves in another 15-20 years? :) I will be at Allume, too! Hope to be able to give you a hug there! :)

    • Crystal says

      Jennifer, thanks for your kind words! I was just telling my husband that while talking about my letter to myself at 16. I feel like I still struggle with a lot of the same things, and new things. And in some ways, I’m so much more of a mess now than I was back then.

  5. says

    thanks for stopping by today crystal! i love connecting with new friends!! i’m loving your letter … all the letters … oh if only we could’ve had this insight! but then … if we had, i don’t know that we’d be the women we are today, you know? we needed to grow and experience some of these things in order to gain the perspective we have today.

    loved that we were able to connect through this fun little challenge!

    • Crystal says

      Tracie, I want your positive attitude, but sometimes I don’t like where I’m at as a person very much, and I think I blame this girl and her poor choices. I just hope that I can turn things around so that in another 10-15 years, I’ll be able to look back and be proud of the choices my 29 year old self made.

    • Crystal says

      So true, Tracie! Although sometimes I don’t really feel like I’m any better off than I was at 16. That’s the disheartening part.

  6. says

    Loved reading this. So true about the food catching up to you. Such a great post to write before we room together. Now, I know a bit more about you;) I wrote one too if you are interested.

    • Crystal says

      Thanks, Reeve! I will definitely check yours out as well :) I scrolled through the site yesterday and read probably 10-15 of them…I was captivated. Such an interesting thing to me.

  7. says

    Oh yes, I know all about the detours and following God’s plan. I took a very long detour and ignored the plan He had for me. It was only recently that I unloaded the baggage of my mistakes. Thank you for your honesty. This is Nannette, #119, from Chatting at the Sky.

    • Crystal says

      Thanks so much, Nannette, although I’m sorry that you had to experience a painful detour. I’m off to see your letter now. I have so enjoyed reading them!

  8. Lindsy Fish says

    I'm not sure I'd tell my 16 year old self anything. I don't regret the journey so far. I would have wanted to get out on my own sooner, but I'm okay with not. I would have wanted to avoid marrying my (soon to be ex) husband, but I learned A LOT from that marriage that I'm not sure I could have learned otherwise.

I love to hear your feedback and value your thoughts! All I ask is that we remain respectful and civil, even when we disagree. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate you!

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