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An Open Letter to My Third Grade Self

*Keep your arms and legs in the roller coaster at all times.*

Dear "Third Grade Mini-Me,"

It's been a while and I hope I have made you proud. Third grade definitely wasn't easy and it definitely doesn't get better — at first.

You're going to continue growing and learning every day. You're going to keep changing and trying to figure out the world we live in. Fortunately, you're going to continue to feel insecure and be bullied — for now (you'll understand why I say "fortunately" soon).

Remember breaking your nose last week in your neighbor's pool? Well, you're going to continue to break it a few more times and get surgery when you're 16. Remember your best friend and how you hang out with her multiple times a week? You guys are going to stop being friends in a couple years; but you are going to make a lot more. That guy who you like and laughed at you today? He will be irrelevant soon. You're going to grow into yourself.

And that girl who has been mean to you since kindergarten? She will continue to keep it up until graduation... high school graduation... And even afterwards, she will still give you snarky looks and laugh at you through town. The fortunate part? She has given you incredible strength, courage and compassion for others. While she does continue to bully you through the years, you will have your victory.

You'll realize what actually makes you better than her: you're kinder, more selfless, and going to have a kick ass career. At 14, you're going to have to get creative on how you handle bullies. They will get brand new, cruel ammunition. Your dad is going to pass away when you least expect it, right before you start high school. You will get through but you have to help your mom and your sister a lot. So, embrace him for the next six years; I wish I was at your age again. High school will be majorly uneventful but you'll hide some secrets you wish you shared sooner. You'll silently suffer from 15 years old until after graduation. At 17 years old, you're going to become a nursing assistant. You're going to take care of the elderly 24 hours a week until you graduate. At 18, you'll be accepted into nursing school and then graduate high school.

At 18, you'll open up about your abusive relationship. Your mom will save you as you knew she would; if only you mentioned it sooner. You move on and fight through every day with fear. You'll struggle with depression and anxiety, but you prevail. You'll have your heart broken quite a few times and your mom will help pick you up every time. At 22, you'll graduate college. You'll feel accomplished and realize all of the silliness, heartache, and challenges up until now were exactly what you needed to get here. You will be successful and you will be making a huge difference in many people's lives. Keep going.

You will be victorious.  

It will take time, you will fall down. As long as you get up fall down one less time than you pick yourself up; you will be happy with your success. You are far more beautiful than you believe. Just because the cute boy in your fifth grade class doesn't say so does not mean it's not true. Enjoy every day and every single moment. Try not to let your fear of fish carry on for too long, because you will regret not fishing with your dad because you were afraid. I try to live my life to be the person you needed and hoped I would be when I was your age. 

I just hope I have succeeded. I think so.

Soon you will be 22 years old and feel as if your life has flashed before your eyes; you still have plenty of time. 

Keep smiling, keep laughing and keep loving no matter what will be thrown at you. 

Thinking of you always,

"22 year-old you"

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