Lately, I have been surfing the interwebs, checking on blogs I like. One in particular that I am continually fascinated and impressed by is by one of my oldest friends in the world, Camilla. I've mentioned before that I love her blog, but it bears repeating. I love her blog. Well, the other day she posted in response to something that this blogger has been doing, Letters to Your 16 Year Old Self, which sounded fun and so what follows is my attempt to reach out to PastAshleigh and smack her around a little bit. So here we go...enjoy...
(click here for a taste of what 16-year-old Ashleigh was listening to)
Dear 16-year-old Ashleigh,
First of all, take a look in the mirror. See your hair? Be nice to it. Next year you are going to decided to dye the crap out of it and it is going to hate you so for the time being, give it a break.
Now if I know you at all, and I think I do, since we are in fact the same person, I know that right now you are pretty much scared of everything. Yeah yeah, try to play it off like you're not, but let us just be honest, you are scared of...school work, college, boys, crowds, strangers, boys, the future...The list goes on and on. But let me just tell you this: stop that right now. Being scared of everything is a waste of your time and not worth the energy. In fact, you will come to discover that you actually work better when you are afraid. Fear becomes a pretty major motivator in your life (especially artistically) in later years. So for now, stop being so afraid of everything. You will miss out on a lot of important growing up moments because you are too afraid of unknown outcomes to even try (yes, I am, among other things, talking about relationships. You will miss out on the chance for loving relationships). All I ask is that you try. Try some of the things that you find strange and alien. Odds are you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
I know life is rough right now and that you are feeling overwhelmed but know this: You do not have to hold your family together with both hands. Dad is doing that just fine. All you can do is be the daughter and do what you can to help out at home. And you may not realize it right now, because things seem pretty terrible, but this time in your life, the choices to make in the next few months, will be some of the defining choices of your life and lead you down the path you were meant to go down. It might not feel like it, but hours of watching Buffy and The West Wing on Mom's bed while you rub her feet instead of performing is going to be one of the best choices you'll ever make.
Trust more. Trust that everything is going to work out the way it is supposed to, especially when it seems like nothing will ever go right. The most magical things happen when you trust in the universe.
Sing, loudly and often. More often than not it will be the best medicine for the things in your life that drive you crazy. Pick up that guitar next to you and learn to use it. You've always wanted to learn, so don't wait 6 years to start to. Do it now, it will make your heart happy. And years from now you will end up in a situation with someone who is going to want to take this voice away from you and it will be terrible. Don't worry, it's not your fault, it is them. Don't be scared, stand up for yourself.
Listen, especially to Mom and Dad. Dad is actually unbelievably hysterical and Mom may be the smartest person you every meet (and is pretty funny too).
Above all else, remember to live boldly, because life is too short to be lived like a tiny mouse person.
You're gonna be just fine,