Atlanta Teen Voices / all

Letter to My Future Self

by share

Click here for an audio version of this story on VOX’s Soundcloud.

Dear Future Audriel,

When you finally come out of the shell, you see distractions, like you may start getting in trouble. Your energy and love is infectious. You have a knowing way about you that is wise, patient and graceful. You see that everything is always in right order and that what I am going through right now is part of my bigger plan. It’s as if you know that all of this turbulence and stress was divinely put into my life to help me become the person I need to be; the person that you are.

I know that you’re so proud of me for learning these lessons, for rolling up my sleeves and doing the work on myself that’s required — for getting into the trenches of my own life to prepare me for my next chapter. You’re oozing with awareness, and you see that I am getting it. Day by day, I am trying, and I am learning.

I choose to work toward you, by taking responsibility for my life. You smile because you see that I get it, that the choices I make today affect you and your daily life in the future. You see that I am showing up and doing the best I can. You see that what may feel like not enough, even a failure, for me is more than enough in your eyes. You are proud and honored to have been me.

I see that somewhere between you and me, we have figured it out. I am so thankful that you take care of yourself every single day. I am so honored to become you. The most powerful thing you are showing me is what is possible with our life. I can’t wait to meet you.

You are not defined by your problems, or any situation that you find yourself in. You ride the waves of life with such ease; it makes me want to catch up to you faster. I see that together we figure it out. I know that my life is a moment-by-moment web of intricate experiences and reactions that help me shape you. I am working to make myself better for you, for us.

But soon you will understand learning in school helps you to be a smarter and better person. Leave your friends alone unless they are at school for a good reason. I have learned throughout the years if you cut everything out of your time right now and focus you’ll see change. If you work on life right now we will all have smiles for you. Today’s society is bad, but I believe you can do it.

My first goal for my life was to be in the military, but I had to make my own choices. See, I thought since my brother is in the military why can’t I? But I really want to be a photographer or a singer. Make your own choices while you can because no one can make them for you. We all often say we like money a lot, but life isn’t all about money. I think if everyone had a couple billion we would be happy, but that would make us lazy. So stay in school to see what you need money for.

Life is also all about being fair. It’s either the easy way in or the hard way. Don’t worry about your past; worry about your future. I want to see and say I have done it; I have passed. You want to walk across that stage and say are you ready to live in the real world? You will recognize you will go through hard tough times, but you have to know that you can do anything no matter how hard it is. Knowledge is a superpower in anything you do, because if people 80 years ago did it, you can too.  

I am showing up for all of my assignments. I am choosing to be happy. And I am choosing to love openly and honestly. Future self, I am going to take big risks because I know that you know that I, that we, need me to. I am not going to settle ever again. It’s confusing, but school is going to have to be like that.

I see you smiling, sitting so peacefully; you are simply in awe. You’re looking at me, the younger and more naive, more determined, more self-righteous self; you have nothing but love and gratitude for me. Although time passes by, you will seem different. You watch me cry on my living room floor, completely bored and unmotivated by life. You see that I am outraged at how stuck I feel. You watch me consumed by more depression tied to how large my body has become; you see me struggle daily. You see the pain I carry around in my heart.

You see my struggle, you see me have momentary outbursts and cry in fits of rage. And you see that I make it through. You see that I’m OK. My pain, my struggles, my issues are not what define me. You see that I make it through this rough patch, and you know that I come out stronger, smarter and more self-aware than ever before. I see you smile with gratitude for all of the lessons I am in the middle of. The gut-wrenching, painful moments of extreme self-hate, followed by harsh judgments and flurries of condescending words; you are proud to have them be a part of your past. You made it through and hold nothing but positive loving thoughts for yourself. I am going to leap into the unknown and completely follow my heart. I am going to become the person you know I can be.

Future self, you are my guide and you show me what is possible for our life. You show me that no matter what life throws at us, we are stronger, smarter, healthier and more beautiful than ever, not because we rise above it, though we do, but because we have the courage to keep going.

Our experiences make us who we are. I choose to let my dreams and my successes define me; I release my problems and the attachments that keep me identifying with them. I am no longer weighed down by self-loathing thoughts. I choose to be happy. Future self, you rock, and I am so proud I get to become you. Being a teenager is not all fun though, as they have to carry many responsibilities and are being put under an ever-increasing pressure. Especially from parents, as I very well know after being told repeatedly to go and study or go and do your homework. As I am in fifth year this year, I have my highers to contend with, so it is thee most important year of my school career as it deciphers what university I will be going into or what job I want to do. But, finally, you have left school and have turned 18. This does not mean that you have stopped growing up as you still learn and mature as your life continues, but mostly that’s it. So, now with your qualifications you can hopefully get a good job, and the world is now your oyster.

As life goes on, things get more complicated. You are no longer a child but an adult who faces reality. To you, real life is nothing like fairy tales. Problems are not being easily solved, and confusions are everywhere. There is never a long period of rest and peace. You should always be aware of everything preventing you to live an easy life. Future self, moments of sadness and misery are much more frequent than those of happiness, filling your head with indescribable madness. No one is really right or wrong. Every person you trust may suddenly be gone. Now you wonder if every choice you make in life is a bet. What you can only do is to trust your instincts and prepare for the worst.

Future Self, enjoy the best experience!

Audriel is 16. 

Art by Rem Hellmann, VOX Teen Staff, a sophomore at The Weber School. 

 

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VOX’s program, Atlanta Teen Voices, builds partnerships with other teen-serving organizations and amplifies the voices of teens throughout Atlanta. If you’re interested in partnering with Atlanta Teen Voices and having a similar workshop that lifts voices, encourages dialogue and creates publishable content such as this piece, at your organization or school, contact Sarah Garnitz at Sarah@VoxAtl.org

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