April 9 marks an important anniversary. On that date 15 years ago, I attempted suicide. This is one thing I’m so glad I failed at in life because man, I love to be alive! I posted that on Facebook yesterday and was overwhelmed by the response of my family and friends, there are so many people who love and support me. All that love and support inspired me to write a letter to my 14 year old self, sharing all the wisdom I’ve gained in the last 15 years.
This is future you and I want to get right into this and say that you’re awesome and I love you. It may seem strange to love yourself, but you’ll learn that it’s very important to love yourself.
You have so much to live for, I promise! Did you know that you’ll get to ride an elephant in Thailand? Bet you wouldn’t have imagined that would happen. Guess what else? In just three years you’ll meet the love of your life, eventually get engaged in Hawaii and get married in Mexico, surrounded by all of your family and friends. Even before that things will get better for you, you’ll have a pretty good time in high school. Believe it or not, you’ll join the running club and complete the 12 km Bloomsday road race two years in a row, you’ll love art class and be part of the swim team and cycling club too. At age 21 you’ll decide to play soccer for the first time in your life and will love it! You’re not going to believe this, but you’re going to fall in love with hula hooping and start teaching it, to girls who are your age right now, so you can instill in them that they’re awesome and help them get through the same things that you’re feeling. I don’t want to give away all the awesome details, but you’ll spend a lot of time dressing up in costumes, playing with goats and dancing under the stars. Your life is worth living, trust me. Please know that other people’s lives will be negatively impacted if you aren’t around.
Sure, there will be some hard times, but don’t worry because you got this! You’re strong and smart and you have so, so, so many people around you that love you. You have more cheerleaders than you know of. Always remember that when you’re feeling alone.
Nicole, you are so beautiful, inside and out. I know you don’t see that, but you truly are. I know that you just want to be accepted, but you know what? The only acceptance you need is from yourself. Everyone else is just as self conscious as you are and they aren’t paying as much attention to you as you think. Be confident in who you are, even if you don’t feel like you know who that is yet. I know it sounds silly, but if you tell yourself every day that you love yourself, you’ll start to believe it. What’s attractive in others is confidence, so strive towards that. You are talented, you are smart and you are not fat! In fact, you have a perfectly curvy body, learn to love it! You may find that some people act out towards you because they are jealous or because they don’t feel confident, but that’s ok. You have my permission to love yourself, so start faking it until you make it.
I really just can’t stress enough that what you’re going through right now is like a small blip in time and you’re so close to the next chapter of your life. You have so much to live for and so much to look forward to. Even as I write this, I can’t fathom what our life will be like in another 15 years, but I can guarantee it will be awesome because we will make it that way! And don’t worry about getting old Nicole, when you’re 44 your husband will be 49. You never have to worry about getting old because he’ll always be older and you will find that very amusing.
Another thing Nicole, it’s ok to feel sad or depressed or mad or angry, just find some way to express what you’re feeling. Write in your journal, write a poem, paint a picture, bang on your drums, talk to one of your friends or one of your cheerleaders. Are you surprised to find out you’re still friends with your junior high buddies 15 years later? Well, you are!
14 year old Nicole, I leave you with lines from a poem called Desiderata that you will grow quite fond of as you grow up.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Love you so much, more than you could ever know,
29 year old Nicole