Dear Twelve Year Old Me,
You will have two "boyfriends" next year, one freshman year of high school, another sophomore year, and yet another junior year, and then you will sort of date a guy. You will be asked to junior prom, and ask him to senior prom.
In seventh grade you will get braces. It will feel like a whole new mouth, but they will be off quickly. (Relatively speaking). Then your mouth will feel new all over again, and on life goes. (Just keep wearing the retainers and you'll be fine).
Your school friends are not people who you will speak to in the future. Not even next year. In fact, your taste in school friends is quite poor, and will get you into a lot of trouble. This is okay.
The most valuable friends you have at this ripe age of twelve are those from church (Alli Clark and Jessi Dalrymple), who will continue to pop in and out of your life even to college.
I could try to give you advice, but I know you would not listen to it.
I could try to give you reassurance and boost your self-esteem, but I know you won't feel it.
You are not ready yet for all of the changes that will come into your life to finally alter your perspective of yourself, the world, and the Lord of it all (who loves you so much).
I want you to know though, that although I cannot change your perspective now and in this moment, and although I cannot warn you against all of the heartbreak and mistakes and moments of poor judgement you will face, in the end you will be walking toward the woman God created you to be.
You are shaped with a purpose. There is more for you, and ironically it will come when you think about yourself less (not less of yourself).
The Lord has so much in store for you and He will never leave you.
It is enough to be a child of God.
Maybe not yet, but in the future you will be described as beautiful, patient, kind, positive, calm and purposed.
Maybe not yet, but in the future you will belong somewhere and have a home and people who honestly, tenderly care for you and your heart.
Maybe not yet, but in the future you will know that nothing is inherently wrong with you (however wrong may have been done to you).
Maybe not yet, but in the future you will be heard.
As you endure braces, awkward first kisses (oops, spoiler!), irregular periods, weight changes, food binges, teenage rebellion, not-the-best boyfriends, style stages, being caught in (and told) lies, you will also be blessed. You will be blessed to gain a quality education, understand heartbreak, be resilient, be okay alone too, see the transformative effect of books (funny story with this one!), have some great teachers, support friends, be kissed (well!), and wake up every morning able to start the day and get through the day until finally, in the future, things get a little better.
In the future, I am sitting here wishing in some ways I could take all the heartbreak and pain away from you. A little girl should never have to feel so much hurt and pain. But as I can't do this for you, the next best I can do is reassure it will all transform you into the lovely, kind, and strong woman who God needs you to be.
With all my love,
Erin Elizabeth Duffy
(Inspired by Darling Magazine's article http://darlingmagazine.org/a-letter-to-my-sixth-grade-self/)