Letter to my five year old self

Dear Nikki,

After 14 years, the one thing I’ve concluded that’s necessary for you to know is that you’re strong enough to make it through all of the turmoil you will go through up until my age. You’re not going to think so. You’re going to think everything is your fault. You’re going to think that you’re a burden on everybody. The time will come when you will give the best advice and possibly save lives, but not know how to take what you give. You will wonder how life can be so scary and you will never understand how things are supposed to happen. You will search for answers and realize that they come after you’ve stopped looking. There isn’t a damn thing that provides a solid explanation for its happening, but you will learn to love it. There are just some things I need you to know.

Do not, under any circumstance, believe that any divorce is your fault or that you could have helped it. Do not cower in fear of your future because of the terrifying idea of love that was initially planted in your experiences. You will let this hinder your perspective of the future; you will be afraid of what will happen when the time comes to say yes. You will not, however, be afraid to love. You have more love in your little heart that hangs on your sleeve than you know what to do with. You will try to spread it to every person you come across in your life, whether it be family, significant others, or complete and total strangers. Take the love you believe people lose in their lives and regrow it to fill their own hearts. Never believe in anything else, because nothing is stronger than your ability to love.

Do not lose your old-fashioned heart. Do not lose your love of antiques and history. Do not lose your fascination with the things of the past, whether they be of your own past or not. Keep the dusty knick knacks, both physical and mental, sitting proud on your shelf. Reflect often, with glowing satisfaction that your past is not a bad thing. Fall in love with every story you hear from your elders, or books with tales of the past that are so wildly different than the life you know.

Stand your ground. Many people will fear you for being a bold leader. People will think you are an awful person because you’re not afraid to share your thoughts with confidence. Stand up for yourself, put those bullies in their places, know your place, and never move for anybody. Follow the path you have set for yourself and never listen to a negative comment. With this being said…

Admit when you’re wrong, because you will be wrong a lot. You will realize you have this awful habit of speaking out before you have thought everything fully through. You will be called out when wrong, and you will not want to admit it. You will try to argue your side more with the intent of finding a silver lining of your point that can be viable. But for the love of god, stop. Realize when you’re wrong, admit it, and move on. Take what you learn and apply it to all of your future thoughts and arguments.

Don’t lose your family. Don’t lose the one thing, no matter how many members make you angry, that will always be there for you. Listen to your father, who will instill this thought in your mind for the rest of your life. Know what it’s like to raise a child in the best way, taken both from your mother and father, though they raised you differently. Know how to take both sides and apply them to your life. Know to be respectful, even when you so badly want to get your point across. Remember that you are all human and all make mistakes and all have flaws. Accept them and love them for those flaws. Treat your brother and sister like the best things that have ever come into your life. Take care of them and make sure they know how much you love them and how if something were to happen, the world would stop until they were okay. Never lose sight of the one thing that will be there for you forever.

Know you’re beautiful. Forget what you’ve been told by others, forget the flaws you constantly see. Forget about the baby weight you will have until middle school, forget about the multitude of bad haircuts, forget about being one of the lankiest girls to walk the halls of your school for years. Forget not being athletic, forget comparing yourselves to those “popular girls” (who, to your surprise, find you very pretty apparently?). Forget about trying to impress the people you went to high school with, and carry yourself well. Find your confidence, know that you are as beautiful as you think you are, and then some. Walk with the understanding that if you do not believe in yourself, nobody else will. Embrace everything about yourself, and love yourself for who you are.

When you fully give your heart away for the first time, to the boy with the beautiful eyes the color of the sea, and the fingers who left trails of goosebumps whenever he ran them along your skin, do not hold back. Know that, though you are young and people do not believe you, you are experiencing the greatest love somebody could experience. The time spent with this boy with the contagious laugh and sparkling smile will be the greatest time of your life to date. It will be years before you ever find something like this again. And when it ends, please remember to respect yourself. Please remember your worth. Remember that, though you are without this love that has carried you above the clouds for so long, you are more than some will see you for. And when the boy in the band with the rare, yet huge, smile and the tattoos decorating his tan skin, comes along and you think you’ve found the new home for your heart that is still missing pieces, do not give it to him. Learn to say no every time he reels you back in on his line and then lets you off to fall back into the dark depths below. Though you will realize how toxic this hypnotizingly beautiful boy is, you will struggle to stay away.

Please just remember the things that come first, and that standing your ground and looking out for yourself will save you from breaking apart and searching for the pieces in your past, present, and future for the rest of your life.

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