there is more outside of this bubble.

dear former 16-year-old self (and a note to my future children),

don’t be afraid. you are going through one of the hardest seasons of your life. but you aren’t alone. you have great friends. hang in there.while this time comes with great learning experiences, don’t get consumed with what everyone else is doing.

try not to worry so much about what others think about you. be your own person. don’t follow the “crowd” just to fit in.

don’t be afraid to be different. be proud of who you are and where you’ve come from. be thankful for your life experiences, even if they’ve caused you to grow up faster than everyone else. not many people will understand, and probably never will. and that’s ok.

with that being said, don’t brush past others in the halls. recognize them for who they are. give them your time when they seek it. be a friend to everyone, because you have no idea what someone else might be going through.

when you overhear someone making fun of you, don’t be afraid to call them out. they aren’t any better than you are. they are just bored with their own lives so they find some sort of sick pleasure in making others feel bad about themselves. don’t let them define you.

be brave. don’t be afraid to take risks.

respect yourself. if you don’t, no one else will.

ignore the mean girls. don’t try to impress them. they aren’t worth your time.

be real. nobody likes someone who’s fake.

respect your teachers. even if you are completely uninterested in the particular topic, every teacher deserves a lot more credit than they get.

don’t take popularity so seriously. it’s dumb, over-rated, and by the time you get to college, it won’t matter who was prom queen or if you ever dated the most popular guy in school. after all, the big fish in the little pond of high school will soon realize that they are a very little fish in the great ocean of college.

don’t get involved in gossip. nothing good comes from it.

know that this town isn’t “normal” compared to the rest of the world. while there are many genuine people, there are many with too much money who flaunt it, spoil their kids & feel entitled. try to separate yourself from this way of thinking. know that there is more outside of this bubble.

don’t listen to the poison fed to you by the media and others about your body image. you are beautiful. learn to love everything about yourself.

don’t listen to someone if they call you weird. everyone is weird. if something about them isn’t weird, then they are really boring. we all have our quirky personalities & interests. don’t let “weird” stop you from being your true self.

do what you love. not what others expect you to do. (except of course respecting your parents…)

think carefully before you say something that might hurt someone else.

if something gets hard, don’t quit. there are great lessons to be learned with self-discipline & commitment.

it’s okay to be a team player instead of the center-stage star.

don’t get involved with boys too early. protect your heart. even though they are cute, most of them have A LOT of growing up to do.

don’t be afraid to question what you’ve been told as truth. it’s better to challenge things and have doubt than to blindly accept something completely without discovering it for yourself.

it’s okay if you don’t have all the right words at the right time. being there for someone does more than you can imagine.

love others. no matter what. show them love.

stay humble and be thankful for your health & the life you’ve been given.

carpe the hell out of diem.

and everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes. so, listen to your intuition in everything you do. you will know what needs to be done.

with love,

your wiser, more experienced self.

madison luikens

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