Dear {x} ,

People of the past; thank you for changing me. Thank you for changing me from that innocent trusting little girl who always had an Elmo smile plastered on her face, to a girl who built walls around her heart.

Thank you for showing me that the world can be a cruel place. You’ve showed me that people spew words of hatred and discouragement that hurt like daggers to the heart. You’ve showed me that my best may never seem like it was ever good enough. You’ve showed me that no matter how many times I’ve asked myself what I did to deserve this, I’ll never know the reason why.

Call me crazy but I thank you for breaking me. For teaching me how I had to be strong, the hard way; to burn bridges and build the right ones. I learned how to turn a deaf ear on things that didn’t matter. To take everything with a pinch of salt. To stop giving two hoots about people who mistook my kindness for weakness. To care for myself and understand that my happiness is as important as anyone else’s.

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People of the present; thank you for showing me that isolating myself or pushing people away is not the answer to anything. For showing me that I have set such extreme expactations for others that has led to my own disappointment. For showing me that everyone is human and imperfect. For showing me that just because people sin differently than I do, that doesn’t make me any better of a person.

I’m blessed that you have kept this real. Although the drama might still persist, what’s life without a little color eh? Thank you for great times; for letting me know that chasing good grades is good but having fun is essential too. What’s college without late nights singing I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, parties of friend’s friends, and heart-to-hearts while binge eating ice cream from a tub? For showing me that life is short and that I should learn to love people fearlessly, selflessly and expressively despite unfortunate events. That life is full of risks that I need to take with leaps of faith and trust that things happen for a reason, both good and bad ones.

You’ve taught me to appreciate family and friends in spite of distance and time that’s spent apart. That these things don’t dictate how relationships develop or fall apart but it’s the effort that does. I’ve learned that some are worth it while some aren’t. That people come and go, and it hurts, but life marches on.

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People of the future; long after we’ve grown into ourselves, my only hope is that we’ll continue to be youthful throughout the years. That we’ll remember to care for ourselves even when we have families and when we blame our wrinkles on work. That we’ll travel and expose ourselves to different cultures and traditions. That we won’t be confined by the walls we set in our heads. That no hurdle is too difficult to overcome and the phase will come to pass.

I ask that if you ever see work taking over your life, that you take a step back and stop worrying about the future. Enjoy the company that surrounds you. Take time to count your blessings. Go on long walks. Spend hours in the bookstore getting lost in novels. Enjoy the little things. They’re much bigger than they actually seem and you’ll learn to appreciate them in the long run.

Lastly, I also ask for people to be patient with me; for the strong front that I may put up, let it not deceive you. Underneath it all, I’m still that girl who wears a slightly worn out Elmo smile, who’s friendly and slightly reserved but only because I’ve learned to stop wearing my heart on my sleeves the hard way.

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