Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Open Letter to Brokenhearted 16 Year Old Girls

Dear Girlies,

I write to you today, because I know one of you. My littlest sister. She's gone from being my mini shadow, hanging on my every word, to a teen that asks for my advice and then doesn't take it. And while I know I can't alter her (or your) biology or psychology - I cannot mature your brains or change human nature - I feel like your demographic needs to understand things differently than you do.

What you need to know before I go any further, is:

Broken heart drawing1) I DO know how you feel. I know you think that no one does - no one possibly can - but I do. Being 16 may be nearly 12 years in my past, but I remember it - vividly. How could I not? Emotions are so intense and striking at that age. I have not forgotten.

2) Everything I'm going to tell you is easier said than done. I know this. But girls - be strong. You're allowed to be sad and disappointed for a little while - but do your future self a favor and don't wallow. Pick yourself up. Keep living.

3) YOU dictate how you feel. This might seem crazy, but it's true. No, you didn't break your own heart. No, you didn't ask the guy you thought you loved to be a jerk deep down. But the way you react to any situation is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. It's true. I know, sucks right? It's hard work.

With all of those things in mind, let me tell you my story.

I met my first love when I was 16. He was a great guy, and we had a pretty good relationship considering how young we were. We set our hypothetical wedding date after 5 months of dating. Crazy, I know. We ended up spending nearly 3 years together. The breakup was devastating, especially since by that time - we were nearing an age when it was socially acceptable to get married (especially for him, he was 21). Our breakup was one of the worst things I ever went through. Wait - scratch that, our breakupS. Yeah...plural. Three times in total. It was the first one that shook my world. I messed up school - big time. I made some stupid choices. All of my life's regrets happened in this time frame. The good news is - these things were mild compared to what I see some of you girls resorting to these days.

Drugs? Fights? Cutting? And I know it gets much worse than even those.

I don't want to make light of those things, because they are obviously BIG, serious issues. But - why go there? Why destroy yourself over what someone else chose to do?

Here's the truth: If someone chooses to leave your life, it's because they are making room for the RIGHT person. 

Don't ruin yourself because the wrong guy left. You won't be in tact for Mr. Right. And it may seem impossible right now - but he WILL come along.

In the mean time - stop letting the world know how hurt you are. Stop playing the victim. Stop updating your Facebook and Twitter with vague statements about how hard your life is. It could ALWAYS be worse - much, much worse.

Wanna know why your friends are abandoning you in your time of need? Because it's really hard to handle a person that won't stop complaining about something that EVERYONE goes through. You are not the only one in the world that's been broken up with. You are allowed to be sad and hurt for a little while - but don't expect your friends to put up with it forever. If they are backing away - it's a sign that it's time to change your 'tude. Not to mention, you're giving that ex of yours exactly what he wants. You are boosting his ego by letting him know how terrible it is without him in your life. You're making it EASIER for him to move on, and to find someone new. Think he wants to be with someone that is acting pathetic? Nope. But he WILL feed off the huge compliment it is to know someone is that torn up over him. Don't give him the satisfaction. Be sad at home. Be sad in a journal. Don't make it public knowledge.

And even bigger than all of that...are these ideas: That which we manifest is before us. Like attracts Like.

Want to know what those mean? It means if you chose to be sad - you will be. You'll keep attracting more sadness to yourself like a magnet. Does it feel like things keep piling on top of you? Guess what, sister. You're doing that to yourself. STOP IT! (I say that with love, because I want you to be happy!)

I'm sorry if you think I'm being harsh. Tough love, ladies, tough love. And I am not saying I'm mistake-free. The first break up I mentioned? I did all this. Well, except the drugs/fighting/cutting bit - I never resorted to those. But I learned from my mistakes, and took subsequent breakups with grace and finesse. I realized I was better than that. I realized that if someone didn't want to be in my life, then I didn't want them there. Don't make anyone a priority that is only willing to make you an option.


And next time you find love? Don't let yourself go so much. I see so many of you (and my 16 year old self!) lose your identity to your boyfriends. Don't do that! Be you! You lived for more than a decade before he came along, didn't you? And you managed just fine. Don't blur the lines. It will only make the future a harder place to be.

So what do you do instead? If you're choosing not to wallow in a puddle of your own self-pity (and I'm SO PROUD of you if you are), there is so much you can do. Find a sport or activity you LOVE and pour yourself into it. Dive into your school work and knock it out of the park! Get a fun job. Pick up a craft hobby. Start a girlfriends group that gets together for a mani/pedi sleep over once a month. Do some charity work. And guess what? When you're doing one of those things....you'll bump into Mr. Right. Or maybe you'll bump into Mr. Right Now - but that's okay. Every relationship that ends is one that you were meant to learn from so you're ready for the real Mr. Right.  The point is to do good for YOU. Don't waste time being sad about something that wasn't meant to be. Life is too short!

I know it's hard to take this for what it's worth, so if you don't feel up to the challenge and advice I've presented you with right now - save this for later. Read it just before your wedding day, or the day you graduate from college, or when you get your first real job. Read it on a day that proves that life goes on, and gets better, and everything before that moment was a learning experience.

Picture yourself at 30 looking back on this moment - will you be proud of how you acted?

Before I let you go, I want you to know that I am sorry for how you've been hurt. It sucks. And someday, your ex will get his pay back (even if it's just in the form of realizing he really messed up when he let you go). Please be strong. Please don't forget to live. And please reach out to someone (even if you have to suck it up and go to your parents) if things feel like they are becoming too big to handle. It will get better.

Love,
Your Big Sister
(even if we're not really related)

2 comments:

  1. Jenn, this is SUCH a good post. I can't tell you how MUCH I feel the same way. It hurts and it's awful but LIFE DOES GO ON! I PRAY every girl age 12-20 can read this post somehow. THEY NEED TO! YOU ARE AWESOME!

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  2. I read every single word (you are an excellent writer). I have an older sister. I adore my sister ... but I know how hard 16 can be. I can see it from both sides for sure, but especially on your side ... I know how frustrating it can be. I truly believe that it just takes time. I know it's hard to grasp sometimes, but time is everything. Again, love this post!

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