I'm writing to you from the distant year of 2015, when you are 21 years old, to give you some advice. Why? Because I have a blog and people like to read this kind of thing. Also because 16 year old you makes me a little bit sad, and I want to let you know that you're going to be okay.
It's not going to be easy, so don't go thinking I said that. You'll have some trouble at first with college, but then you will end up right where you need to be, and everything will suddenly make so much more sense. You're going to understand why you're struggling so much and why you can never get over your confidence issues. The events of your life you've been puzzling out all this time, trying to find order, will make sense again. You won't feel crazy anymore and you won't be so afraid. But I can't spoil it for you, because that would be cheating.
Keep writing your books. Keep unraveling the way stories work and the way the publishing industry flows and don't worry so much about it. The art is what you're in this for, and someday you'll understand how important those stories are. The most important thing in the world is having empathy for other people, and books do that in a way no other thing can.
You're going to lose some friends along the way, and that's perfectly fine, all right? You won't lose the most important ones, and what's more, you'll discover a new independence you never could imagine you'd have. Stick to your family. They need you. But take care of yourself too. One of the most important things I've learned since being you is that you have to respect yourself and stand up for yourself, even to people you care about.
As for boys? Meh. Don't worry about it. This is what cats are for.
(I bet that last sentence made you panic so much, which makes me laugh.)
One piece of advice I'd like to give you that might change things a little: don't push yourself so hard with your music. You're going to burn yourself out. It's heartbreaking to me now how hard it is for me to pick up the cello and play, because I put too much into it and then realized it was the wrong kind of feeling.
Oh, and another one: about boys again, remember to respect yourself. Yes, you have to sacrifice for the people you love. But love is also about communication and equal standing and being able to love yourself--oh potato, you hate that last bit of advice so much. I remember that. Don't worry, you'll get there. Maybe try "respect" instead of "love" when it comes to you. Learn to stand up for yourself. Also, you're not a coward, because I know that's what you're thinking now. You don't need to be Katniss Everdeen to take care of yourself.
That's pretty much it for now! 16 isn't anything like the ideal you wanted it to be, but I promise you that's okay. You'll get there. You'll find what you're looking for.
Come back next time, readers, for a Pinterest post!
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