A Letter to My 12-Year-Old Self

Dear 12-Year-Old Jen,

I know you want to look like the girls in the Delia’s catalog with their cute knee socks, plaid skirts and effortlessly long blonde hair. I know you long to be accepted as part of the “cool girls” group and try so hard to fit in by singing along with depressing Boyz II Men songs and pretending you have any idea what they’re talking about when they mention the hot boys at school.

You desperately want to be accepted. You ache to belong. You crave wholeness and confidence.

You’re not going to find it from them.

Keep running. Keep pursuing that feeling of freedom and accomplishment you get as you cross the finish line in your everyday wear with sandals on your feet. Keep loving even if you don’t quite belong; even if  you don’t look like them and exceed their jean size by double digits. Don’t try to pretend to be anyone else but yourself because frankly, you suck at it. You are genuinely you and YOU are good enough just as you are.

In life, you are going to encounter these “popular” girls wherever you go. Your first job. Your first sports team. Your first college entry level class. Your first “real” job out of college.

Lead, don’t follow.

Run, don’t walk.

Soar, don’t waddle.

Embrace who you are. It’s okay (and good!) to be different.

When you discover who you are and learn to embrace it (oh, say around age 20 after you meet a  cool dude named Jesus), you’ll struggle with insecurity and still secretly wish you could be one of “them,” but know that those unique qualities set you apart in the first place. They push you to be better. They make you crave uniqueness and empowerment. They make you successful in life.

Would you still be that way if you were part of the “it” group? Maybe not. Or, maybe so. Either way, embrace every ounce of “you” that you were created to be and don’t worry about what other people think of it.

Oh, and don’t stress too much over those knee-high socks. They’ll be so last season before Gwen and Gavin even walk down the aisle.


30-Year-Old Jen


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