If I could mail a letter to my younger self today here is what I would say:
My precious Nicole,
I know you think you are very wise now, but trust me, you have a lot of growing up to do. Life is not going to turn out how you expect at all. You are going to fail a lot. I know right now you are determined to make life turn out a certain kind of way, but just a heads up it is going to be a lot messier than you think. You are going to see some amazing places, meet some amazing people and do some amazing things and none of it is going to fit into any sort of plan. And that is more than ok.
You are also going to experience some very proper and legitimate heartbreak and aches. This is going to make you doubt your self-worth. Don't. This is going to be easier said than done.
There is going to be more than one occasion where it feels like the world is crashing down around you, but you are going to be ok. Usually, these types of letters are written when something great has been achieved, but it is actually being written while you are sitting in a metaphorical pile of rubble.
So far, you have survived all of your bad days. They are going to leave some scars, but do not be afraid to wear them with pride. They are badges of honor that something bigger than you tried to take you down and failed. I know it doesn't feel like it, but again, everything is going to be ok.
You are worthy of love in the midst of your mess because you, my young and mighty warrior, are going to fight some brutal battles. I do not know why you have to go through them but are going to go through them.
Learn to lean on those that love you, really love you. Not everyone is going to stick around and it has nothing to do with you despite what they say. Everyone is fighting their own battles. Let it hurt, learn to grieve and then stand up and move forward. You were born for greatness. Those that are meant to be apart of your journey will be there. Trust the seasons of your life.
This next bit is going to be hard to hear: trust God. You are going to get mad at Him, but He loves you. You will eventually hit a point where you realize that without Him, you can only get so far on your own. And you are going to be stubborn about it unfortunately.
Give yourself a break now and again. You have always been so hard on yourself. Dad leaving was not your fault. Stop trying to prove your worth all the time.
You are more than enough.
You are beautiful.
You are loved.
...And don't stop writing.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. -Robert Frost