Dear 14-Year-Old Me,

The 8th grade is tough. There’s no doubt about it. And for a girl like you, who strives to be perfect and never disappoint….it’s got to be even tougher.  But here is what I want you to know…

Bottom line…it’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to try new things and it’s ok to cry. It’s ok to fail. It’s good to take chances and go outside your comfort zone. It’s better to figure out who you are than try to fit into some pre-conceived picture-perfect mold.

No one is going to tell you that though. I wish so badly that someone had. I wish someone would push you, encourage you, trust you to make and learn from mistakes and not just expect that you will always do what was “right.”

So I am trying to telling you now… but it’s hard to find the words.  I struggle because it hurts.   I am sad thinking of all the regrets you will have one day. There are so many things you will miss out on and so many ways your life could have been different…if you had the confidence and permission to just live.

To dance like no one was watching.

To laugh uncontrollably.

To cry when it hurts.

To love with all your heart.

To walk away when you need to.

I don’t ever want you to be stuck in a place where you don’t want to be. I don’t ever want you to want something so badly, but be too afraid to ask. I don’t ever want you to feel you are letting people down. It’s not about them. It’s about you.

That may sound selfish, but it’s true. In the end, there are going to be a handful of people that matter. And YOU are the most important one. If you do not love yourself and the life you are living, it will be damn near impossible to let anyone else love you like you deserve to be loved.

Your dearest friend,

Me