Dear 16 year old me,

The first thing you need to know, before anything else, is that you're going to be fine. 10 years from now, all of the things that are about to happen to you will seem like nothing at all, and, yes, your heart will be whole again.

In a couple of weeks, you're going to find out that the deep, attentive, relatable, boy you've been in love with never had any intention of actually taking you on that date. You're going to find out that he has been using you to make his old girlfriend jealous, in hopes that he can win her back. You're going to feel like your whole world is collapsing around you as you realize that what you thought was depth was teenage angst, what you thought was attention was means to an end, and the relatable aspects of your lives were all an act.

A bit after that, your family life is going to get shaken up quite a bit, and things at home are going to feel hopelessly and irreversibly terrible. You'll start hiding in your room all the time, escaping into books and music, shutting yourself off from the majority of the world that seems too chaotic for you to handle, much less live in.

Through it all, your best friend is going to be happily in puppy-love with your beautiful other best friend, and they're both happily filling you in on their Disney-esque picture perfect relationship at every possible opportunity. Your happiness for them will be genuine, but it's going to be hard to listen to at times.

In the near future, your best friends are going to break up, and one is going to start blaming you for everything going wrong in their life. They're going to start down a destructive path and justify it all by spreading a lot of lies about you. Your reasonably large base of friends is going to dwindle down to just a couple of people who really knew you, and social interaction is going to become something you struggle with for a long time to come.

But here's the good news: things are going to turn out okay. You're going to settle things with the ex girlfriend of the boy who hurt you and find closure in a way that you didn't expect. The home stuff is going to settle, and your family will be stronger than ever because of it. You're going to lose a best friend through all the drama, but it's going to make your life a lot less complicated, and you will find healthier friendships along the way. In a couple of years, you'll start dating the other best friend that's stuck with you through all of this stuff, and eventually come to realize what people mean when they say someone is their "better half." It's going to seem like it takes forever, but when the time is right (and it will be right, just trust me on this) you're going to get married to him, and he's going to be there for you in more ways than you ever imagined.

Yes, other bad stuff is going to happen, and of course you're going to have other sad and difficult times; however, you're going to learn to start facing them with the knowledge that all the previous difficulties you've encountered have made you a better person, and ultimately been to your benefit. Life is hard, and it's always going to be, but how you choose to handle what it throws at you can change the degree.

So don't let the hard times get to you, and don't think you have it all figured out, just take life as it comes at you and do the best you can with it. I know right now 10 years seems like a long time, but it's going to fly, and when it's up, you are going to be quite pleasantly surprised with where you find yourself. Just hang in there, I promise you're going to be fine.

Chai T.

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