I just read a book in which a variety of people, some very well known and some not so well known, wrote a letter to their sixteen year old selves.  I thought it was a great idea.  Of course the first thing you would do is to tell yourself to tell your parents to buy shares in a company called Apple and a company called Google.  It’s computer and technology stuff. Don’t laugh at the names, or laugh if you want, just make sure to buy the shares.  You will thank me later. After that, the door is wide open.

It is fact that under the best of circumstances, sixteen is a very awkward year for most people.  Hormones are raging.  High school is happening and it is also about the time  you are submitting applications for college and taking what seems like a bazillion tests. Add to that,  you are discovering who you are as an individual for the first time.  That’s not awkward at all.  Many are dealing with situations beyond that that can be extremely taxing.

I still regard sixteen as one of the most difficult years of my life, even after every thing I’ve experienced in this world up to this point.  My mother’s cancer returned and I and my nuclear family had to give up our beautiful home and the majority of our belongings to go and live with my maternal grandmother.  If there is one thing you need to know at this point, it is that she hated(haaaated) me.  She always did, and I was about to move into the lion’s den.

I am eternally grateful to my sixteen year old self and I marvel to this day at the fact that I survived that year.  So, here’s a picture of sixteen year old me and my letter to my sixteen year old self.FullSizeRender

Dear DJ(yup, that’s what I was called back then),

The core of the person that you are now is the person that you will always be and that’s a good thing.  Integrity and character are your cornerstones , but not everybody shares those qualities,  so trust your instincts as you always have.  They are spot on every time.   

These are some things that you already know.  This is just a reminder to never forget them:

1) The world is a very large place with a wide variety of people in it.  It is great fun learning all about it.   

2) You are a fighter.  You are a survivor.  Learn to thrive.

3) Trust your gut because some people are users, knowingly and not, and they do not always have your best interest at heart.  Do not give them second or third chances.  Trust me it’s a waste of time.    

4) You are not alone.

5) Being yourself is the best thing you can be.

Learn quickly that there is beauty in gentleness and there is nothing wrong with being different, in fact it’s a strength.  And for goodness sake learn to meditate.  It’s miraculous…and don’t forget to tell your parents to buy those shares.  

P.S. I think you owe your Spanish teacher fifty cents, not because you took the candy bar, but because the candy bars were your responsibility, and yes of course we know now who did take it.

With great love and great respect,

Danya

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