I met up with one of my oldest friends for coffee yesterday (since 4th grade), and we got to talking about how we wish we had more guidance growing up… Don’t get me wrong we had fantastic families but they just came from almost a different world and just didn’t know any better or different really. People constantly talk about what you would say to your 16 year old self and here’s my letter to her….
Dear 16 year old Tantra,
I know you are anxious to get out of this town, but I promise you it’s really NOT that bad, and you may even end up back here. You are a beautiful, intelligent, athletic, and talented young lady and truthfully you have the world by the balls. Don’t let popularity, partying and your fight for the “perfect body” detour you.
You are going to hate this but Coach Pete is ALWAYS right (you roll your eyes, but trust me, he is).He has a lot of knowledge and experience that you simply don’t and he truly has your best interest at heart. The minute you go to college, you will realize how right he was. Don’t listen to the other kids, because even though you probably won’t believe this, he will be in your life in 20 years and they most likely will NOT. Talk to him. Trust in him. Tell him what’s going on, if anyone can help you, it’s him! Let him do his job and I GUARANTEE that you will get a track scholarship to college.
Work hard. In whatever you do. Some of your “friends” won’t understand and those so called friends won’t be there in 10 years. You, my lovely, are all you have so don’t let people bring you down.
You WILL get married and have children. I know, you don’t have time for that today but there WILL be a day that you fall in love and have beautiful babies. Don’t let the idea of being a “spinster” or traveling the world with no kids be your only dream and also don’t let the worries of never finding anyone to love you eat you alive because you are worthy of love.
You ARE beautiful! It’s hard for you to see it because you live in a town where beauty is measured in blue eyes and blond hair, but you will quickly learn that that the world is bigger than your tiny town and in the future that will all change. Along with this, also know that you are NOT fat! I know you are battling the body image demons but you are a runner, you are strong and fit and you need food to fuel your body. Just be aware of what you are fueling it with. You probably, think, what does this girl know? But I’m telling you, you are destroying your body. Be careful.
Running… I know you think that it’s just a way for you to escape this town and go to college, but it’s really soooo much more than that. This will become your way of life and escaping from reality. Right now it IS your job but in 7 years it will become your lifestyle. You WILL hate it and you will think about quitting and that’s perfectly fine because you aren’t a quitter and you won’t. You won’t always run 100s and 200s… You will actually become a mid-distance runner and love it (so don’t fight it). You MAY one day even run a marathon or two and even qualify for BOSTON…
Finally, be a kind to everyone you meet, as you never know what they are going through. You could change their lives or they could change yours. Life can often be the result of circumstance, keep that in mind.
You will be fine, just remember to think your choices through because for every reaction there is a equal and opposite reaction (and not always a good one and not always and instant one). You may not realize it now but you will one day be the change you hope to see in the world…. Have fun, be safe, and remember you ARE amazing 💋.
If you could write a letter to your 16 year old self what would you say?