Dear me, www.unpackingsara.com

#DearMe at 10: You’ve always been faster, stronger, smarter than the boys at school. When the hormones start to kick in, the boy you like will like the girls that he can catch up to so he can kiss them. Don’t stop being better. Run hard, stay strong, and keep outpacing the boys in class. Because you’re ten and he’s just a boy and that strength is going to serve you well later in life. It will get you to your dreams and you’ll be really happy.

#DearMe at 12: Junior high is going to be brutal. You’ll get braces, and boobs, and so will all the other girls. Don’t stress about how you look, it’s a transition period. You’ll grow into yourself and the right people will dig that. Your friends are going to change a lot, and while that feels really scary and sad – it’s a good thing. You’ll find new friends, friends that know what you’re going through because they are too. Also, that depression you’re starting to battle now will hang over your head for a long time. But you learn how to manage it and keep going. Seriously, you are amazing.

#DearMe at 15: By now, you’re learning that people can be really mean. And dishonest. You’ll probably get a lot of advice on being kind to them anyway, to assume they are fighting their own battles. But some people just don’t try very hard to be nice to others, and it isn’t your job to take their bullshit. So, stick up for yourself. Let go of friendships with people that just bring you down.

Also, you’re in love. Enjoy it. Yes, it costs you a best friend – but you were always in her shadow and I don’t think you would’ve figured as much out about life as you do from letting her go.

One last thing – you’re going to have sex for the first time soon. It’s going to be painful and not great, but it is your choice and that is the most important thing! Don’t feel bad when your friends give you a hard time, they’re just as confused about it all as you are.

#DearMe at 18: I feel like I should warn you about getting back together with and ultimately marrying that guy I mentioned at 15. He doesn’t treat you as well as he should, and that’s going to get worse. You also lose yourself in the process of loving him, which means you’re not a very good partner either. I feel like I should tell you to go to Penn State and see what happens on that trajectory. But your marriage (and the brutal process of divorce) help you become a really stellar person. So go ahead and make those mistakes if you want – it’s how you get to me.

Big hugs and lots of love,
Your future self