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June 11, 2012

a letter to my sixteen-year-old self.

i'm so flattered that i was asked to write a letter for this blog. i am in love with this woman’s writing. 

this is what i would tell my younger self. what would you?

Dear Rhiannon Lenore,

Stop hating your name. Stop. You have a beautiful name. It will serve as a good ice breaker, especially when meeting men. But you hate being different; you always have. You won't always feel this way. Embrace that by having a different name you're in some way destined to have a different life. Don't be afraid of this.

Tell someone you are starving yourself. Please. Tell someone you are binging and hurting your body. You don't think you can tell anyone and that is a dark and consuming feeling. You feel like you're breaking; this won’t last forever. But you will continue to hurt yourself for a long time, ten more years. Ten years. You will spend far too much time doing bad things to your body. You will lose weight, and gain it back, and lose it again, and gain it back, but you’ll finally get to a place where you save your own life. 

Those boys who are tormenting you at school for being tall and fat will wind up exactly where everyone said they would.

Take road trips by yourself. You will take your first one at 26. It will be exactly what you need at the time. It will heal you. Let it. 

Give yoga a chance, running too. You're afraid because you have a feeling these things could help you. You will push away a lot of people and things capable of helping you. Stop.

When you go to Florence when you're twenty-one, you will go on three dates with a man named Dario. The night you meet him you'll let him kiss you in a club called Space Electronica. It will be awful, but he will be kind and romantic and take you to lunch and show you the city. You won't allow yourself to enjoy it. You'll spend the whole time questioning why he chose you over the other girls. The year before you go you'll lose close to one hundred pounds and you won't know what to do or how to act around men. You'll continue to feel this way in your twenties. You will waste a lot of time doing this.  You'll eventually learn to do it less. Know in your heart that the right man will support you and love your body.

The first time you allow a man to make you feel small let it be the last.

Don’t allow bad experiences to make you hard. Feel your sadness and anger. Write about all of it, and then let it go.

When your friends get married and have babies, or their second baby, at times it will make you worry. This is not your path right now and that does not mean your life is any less beautiful or significant than theirs.

It will take a very long time and a lot of therapy and crying and writing and running, but you’re finally healing. And you’re open to finding love. Rhi, you’re able to do this because you finally know how to love yourself. Some people never get there.

You spent so much of your childhood feeling lonely, but as you get older you will come to cherish and crave solitude.

Listen to yourself. Trust yourself. Love yourself.

Remember that the best revenge is living well. Go live, sweet girl.

You deserve the world. Go get it.


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