#DearMe | International Women's Day

Dear Me,

Sweet, beautiful, 13-year-old Leeann. You are so smart, and so clever. You have a big heart for a teenager, and that's why those girls pick on you. They don't understand what it means to have empathy, or to defy peer pressure and be who you want to me.

I know it doesn't feel like it now, but you will be so strong because of them, because of this swirling mist of doom they call junior high. You will never let people tell you how to feel or who to be again, because it doesn't make you happy. And walking around miserable all the time isn't doing you any good. You have so much potential, so much talent. Mom and Dad see it. I see it.

Life is not junior high, thank goodness. And although you'll love it, life is not high school either. Or college. Life is what you decide it will be. Right now, life is words. It's writing them, reading them, shaping them into something completely new. Life is taking control over what you say and what you do, and most importantly how you feel.

Don't let the bad stuff become you. Do not become the bad stuff. Soak in the good, let it enter your soul like an endless stream, flowing into your mind until you can't remember why you were upset or what discouraged you. Surround yourself with people who make you feel special. Walk away from the people who don't. Taste the content on your tongue, sing it out to the world, for that is what life is. A song to be sung, and only you can sing it.

As Walt Whitman wrote:

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

                                    Answer. That you are here—that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

In that powerful play we call life, what will our verse be? In that powerful play we call our life, what will your verse be?

For each thought we have and action we do (or don't) take shapes us into who we are. Every word we say slides into a slot of the bookshelves of our lives and becomes our verse in the world.

"Life exists, and identity." It's the power we gain from our life, our identity, that can change us.

That can change you.

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