Dear past me:
There is little to say that doesn’t sound cliche, but I want you to know it’s pretty good this side of life. You’re a long way down right now, digging out of a ditch you didn’t put yourself in. It sucks, it’s not fair, but it’s not your fault and you’re strong and creative and you’ll find your way out. Mostly.
Sure, there are still fears and the residual film that always clouds your vision. But it clears up a lot and you learn to make good choices. Despite your fears, you don’t end up in an abusive relationship, in poverty or with a drug or alcohol problem. You end up with a great guy who thinks the world of you and you have enough to pay your bills, have a little fun, and save for the rainy days you know all too well. You’ve become a decent baker and a good cook. You travel, although it’s not what you expect you love it just as much as you dream right now. You have the sweetest cat in the world and an endless curiosity you’ve never lost. Believe it or not, you eventually attribute your love of learning to the dark years you spent in homeschool. You can do all sorts of creative things and you remind yourself a lot of your dad. You do lose your dad, but not nearly as early in life as you think right now, and the grief is not as debilitating as you anticipate. You don’t need to fear regret as strongly as you do – you learn to do your best and accept the results.
There are still things you struggle with – social interaction does not come easily to you even now. You still sit outside puddles of milling, social people wondering how they move so easily among each other. You still get angry with J for locking you up for so very long, telling you you’d just figure out how to interact with people once you were an adult. You have a better relationship with your mom, but it’s not great and it’s not what you would ideally would like. But you see no road to a better one and you’re weary of bushwacking and scraping yourself all up with no real reason. You can’t shake the feeling of being cheated, of being brought into this world to be shut out of a real chance at an early life. But you’re figuring out how to be happy now.
Hold on tight, all you need you’ve got within you and around you. Embrace the people who embrace you, let yourself be loved and cared for. All in due time you will learn how to give back. Your road is not an easy one, but it is rewarding and it will be worth it. Know that. Hold on to that. And you’ll be just fine.