Back when I worked for BRIO, we used to have people write letters to their high school selves. I know the girls from Point of Grace did it. Well...now it's my turn. :-)
|First day of my senior year of high school (with my brother). "Okay, Mom! Stop taking pictures!"|
Dear High School Ashley,
You are way cooler than you give yourself credit for. Sure, you're different from everyone else, but consider it a plus. Being different isn't a bad thing. It's actually pretty awesome. Sitting alone during lunch really isn't the end of the world. (You can get a LOT done during that lunch period anyways.) The friends you have now are pretty much stuck with you for life. They're worth it.
Also, those things other people seem to think are cool (like the drinking 'til the room spins and sleeping around and not studying due to the other previously mentioned activities) have some major consequences. You won't have to face those sorts of things. So, yeah, sometimes people will make fun of you, but you're going to turn out okay. High school will leave you fairly unscathed in light of the things some of your peers are going to have to go through.
Hold onto your dreams. Yes, they're big. Like universe-big. But you follow a God who's way bigger than the universe. He's got you covered. High school is just the first obstacle on your way towards writing books for the rest of your life. (Also, that English teacher who doesn't want to sign your release papers for AP English class? You're totally going to prove her wrong.) Even though your books aren't really good now...what? they aren't...keep writing. You'll get there. Someday people will actually want to read the things you write.
Really, really, really don't worry about not having a boyfriend right now. You don't want to date any of the guys you go to school with anyways. Quality guys (and one not-so-quality guy) will come along in the future. You'll learn a whole lot about yourself through those relationships and eventually you WILL get married. Your first kiss...well, let's just say you should have waited until you were 20 instead of 19. Haha. But, back to the point here...being single is great. Just because you're single doesn't mean you're unloveable. In fact, there are a couple of guys across the classroom who are kind of interested in you. But you don't need to know that. ;-)
These four years are hard. I know you sometimes wonder if you're going to make it out of high school alive. It's not easy when people make fun of you and misunderstand you and put you in a box where you don't belong. But think of this as your time in the trenches. Use this bad stuff (and there's a good amount of it) to make you stronger...to make you better...not bitter. I know you don't see it now, but you're a strong girl. You're only going to get stronger.
God has some insane plans for you, shy girl. Don't worry too much about the specifics. They'll probably scare you anyways. ;-) Just know for now, He really does have the whole world in His hands. And you're pretty darn important to Him.
Oh, and high school has a finish line. It's May 21, 2003. You will never have to go back.
Ashley was the editorial assistant for BRIO Magazine until the magazine was shuttered in January 2009. Now she freelances, occasionally writing articles for SUSIE Magazine, and writing her own fiction. She also has a blog, which you can find at www.ashleywritesagain.blogspot.com. If you want to chat, look her up on facebook. Want to know more? Visit her website: www.ashley-mays.com.