Dear 16 Year Old Me,

In light of a pretty touching PSA about skin cancer/melanoma, I decided I wanted to write a little letter to 16-year old Sam. This is not meant to lighten what that PSA did since I’ve never gone through anything quite like that, but it was inspiring nonetheless.

Dear 16-Year Old Sam,

First things first, be nicer to your parents. You do a pretty good job, and you are just a teenager with hormones raging, but you can always be nicer. They’re doing the best they can. They’re more than just Mom and Dad, too. They’re Art and Zenna. They may be a little resistant to show that side of them, but take interest. They’ll appreciate that, too. And remember, they always said “We won’t be here forever,” for a reason.

Another thing, you just got out of your first stint at Cornell Summer College. You are not an Ivy League student just because you went into that program. Yes, your acceptance and completion there is worth being proud of. But you don’t know everything. You are not prepared just yet for the rigors of college. There is nothing wrong with attending Buffalo State. I promise, you’ll be there someday and it will have turned out to be one of the best decisions you made. Also, don’t let it go to your heart when your Mom gets upset that you want to transfer there from another school. She’s only human and she only wants what she thinks is best for her daughter.

Don’t force yourself to be more outgoing than you are. You see how gregarious your best friends are and you see the attention they get. Don’t worry! Honestly, you find more people like you once you leave high school. You’ll find them instantaneously, after a year of adjusting, or even by the time you graduate. Sometimes, you even befriend people you went to high school with but never got to know them until you realized your similarities in college. You are an extrovert to your own degree. And as cliché as this sounds, you’ll later appreciate these words: “The people who matter don’t mind and the people who mind don’t matter.”

Please don’t worry about boys. You’ll see in about 7/8 years that boys at 16-years old are kinda gross. You’ll date a little and see that even some boys at 18/19 years old are kinda gross. But there will be that one. The one that accepts you for who you are. He’s there. And if you can imagine, he’s already 21 😉

And lastly, I understand it’s hard not to see the media messages and think differently about what you think you’re expected to look like. But you know what? You’re beautiful. You’re right where you need to be at 16-years old. And to be honest, that girl you think is beautiful is just as self-conscious as you are, but for other reasons. The very definition of beauty varies from person to person. You’ll learn and you’ll be happier when you do.

Dear 16-year old Sam, this is not the tell all. And I’m sure 30-year old Sam will have much, MUCH more to add to this. For you and for me.

Sincerely,

22-Year Old Me.

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