Dear Freshman Me,
I know all about them.
The thoughts that keep you up at night. The deep-rooted traumas that triggered them. The tender insecurities they imprinted on your heart, wounding your mind, body and soul.
I know all about it.
Each innocence-draining battle you fought tirelessly to overcome. Each scar those battles engraved in you. All of which aged you far beyond the years of your young life. I know.
Of course, I also know the reasons behind your decision to leave your small hometown in New Jersey to attend university in the Big Apple. You believe that packing your bags and heading to a new school in an unfamiliar town filled with unfamiliar faces will allow you to finally leave the baggage of your wounded past in the fog of your rearview mirror.
Unfortunately, I’m writing to tell you that it won’t.
As you packed your suitcases in preparation to flee, your troubles laced your shoes, ready to trip you up. They anxiously waited to reconnect with you. Subconsciously, a part of you already knows this. The part of you that lives continuously burdened with an intimate level of self-awareness. It knows that the rotten smell of your hurting past lingers in the shadows on your present waiting to abruptly defy the boundaries of suppression in your future. A defying act of which not even the fresh excitement, adventures and experiences of your newly sought-after freshman year could prevent or stop.
I write to you from the luminous end of the dark tunnel you so desperately wish to avoid. The only way out of your troubles lies in pushing through them. The excitement of your new college life may bury them for a while, but with time, they will indeed bubble up to the surface. Every insecurity, every painful thought, every traumatic wound, will rise again and again, until the day you decide to sit still with, learn and grow from them.
A new and improved you doesn’t simply start in a new town, state or amongst new faces during your freshman year of university.
Instead, the new and improved you starts with a new mindset. A mindset devoted to walking as the true you buried under all your pain, fear and insecurities. No matter how uncomfortable the going gets.
As you start living the story of your college journey, I know you’ll accept the truth of my written words to you with difficulty. So, I’ll spoil the ending for you (just because I know you’ll love it). In the end, everything will turn out just fine. You’ll sit still with your pain. You’ll learn from your pain. Most importantly, you’ll grow from your pain. After you embrace the wounds life inflicted on your innocence, you’ll understand why you must let them go. As you mourn the necessary death of your weaker self, another version of you will take her place.
Wiser. Stronger. Better.
I know this because I am her.
The New and Improved Version of You From the Future
P.S. Thank you, freshman me, for making me who I am today. I am so proud of you. Keep going but remain patient. You got this! I love you.