We have all at some point or another caught ourselves saying, “If I knew then what I know now . . . ” My life would certainly be a lot different if I know then what I know now. Wouldn’t yours? We look at the obstacles that we’ve overcome that we thought were hopeless at the time, at the heartbreak that we thought would never heal, at the dreams that we were positive would never come true, and we smile because everything worked out in the end.
Who hasn’t thought about writing a letter to their younger self offering words of encouragement? The idea first popped into my head when I heard the Brad Paisley song “A Letter To Me.” It made me wonder what I would tell the teenage Carrie. I think it’s time to write that letter.
I was sitting at work thinking about you today. I know it’s weird to get a letter from yourself, and you may not even believe that it’s me writing to you . . . I know about the pink cardboard box under your bed filled with your poems. I know that you dream of being a writer and the only person who knows is Bill.
I know you don’t think it right now, Carrie, but you are an amazing young woman. Sometimes you feel like the odd-girl-out, like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Don’t worry because one day you will embrace all the things that make you such a beautiful and unique girl. You will have friends that love all of your glitter and rainbows, and you will be blessed to have friends that are closer to you than some of your own family.
Things are going to get a bit ugly as far as your classes at school go. You get a bit lazy and let too much freedom go to your head during your senior year. Mrs. Rose has faith in you though. You will wear the cap and gown. I promise.
And your dream career . . . all I’m going to say is that I am writing this letter to you while in between songs in the studio of a radio station. Your grandmother has faith in you, and will want to see her oldest grandchild reach for the stars. So keep dreaming, because some dreams do come true.
Never pass up an opportunity to spend time with your grandmother. She is a wonderful, smart, loving woman. You have so much to learn from her. One day she will meet an obstacle that she can’t beat though, and your heart will be shattered. It will be alright to cry, scream and be angry, because it will hurt you so much. I will tell you this though . . . your heart will heal! I promise!!! You will always miss her, but you will one day be able to smile again.
Your mom . . . I know you and she have a very mother-teenage-girl relationship right now, but one day you will realize that she is one of your best friends. Especially when you become a mother yourself. Your baby is beautiful, by the way.
Your dad . . . one day he is going to fall off that sky-high platform he’s built for himself. You will get angry. You will want to hate him, but hold tight to your faith in him because eventually that will be all he has to overcome his demons.
Your faith in God, young Carrie, will waver. You will explore some non-Christian based ideologies but God will never lose his love for you or his patience with you. Even when you try to find your way back to him only to have your faith in everything shattered. But eventually somebody will be brought into your life that will show you the way back to the One who loves you the most and it will be a life-changing moment.
You are full of so much love, little girl, and will have many opportunities to share that love with others. Some people will hurt you, some will take advantage of you, one will even try to take what you don’t want to give. But, Carrie, keep your heart open, and never turn your back on an opportunity to show love to someone, and never miss an opportunity to tell someone that you love them. I know it’s a difficult word for you to say right now, but people will come into your life that will reaffirm your belief in love and you will be eager to tell them all the time.
Keep writing, Carrie. Don’t stop. You may think your writing is terrible, but you are good. Keep going and you will get better. And one day you will even have a moment when you will officially be able to call yourself an author. You will even write a poem borne from a tragedy that will grow bigger than you will be able to imagine. Keep that purple ink pen going.
You are going to make some mistakes in your life. They are unavoidable. Some of those mistakes you will quickly learn from, but some will take you a few screw-ups to learn your lesson. But don’t miss an opportunity to live life to the fullest. That is the biggest mistake of all.
Keep your head up, Carrie. All the troubles and problems and heartbreak that you think you won’t survive . . . You survive and will one day write this letter to me.
What would you tell the younger you?
Until next time . . .