TW: implied death, suicidal ideation, depression, child sexualization, body dysphoria, disordered eating, implied abuse.
Get ready for the beginning of every past-self letter ever written: If only you'd known.
First: You're autistic and have ADHD. Read about how those things affect girls specifically. Talk with Mama and Daddy and Dr. Pat about it. I often wonder how much pain could have been avoided if I'd known why I felt so out of place; how much I wouldn't have had to give up on if I'd known to approach it from a different perspective. Honestly, I think about two-thirds of this letter would be moot if this had come about sooner.
Ask someone to sit in the room with you while you clean - they don't need to be actively helping you, but just having someone else there will help you stay on track.
Stop watching HGTV - it sets unrealistic ideals.
Edward Cullen is not romantic. He's controlling and creepy as hell, and you should definitely not be basing your relationship expectations on Twilight. Jacob isn't any better.
Be proud of all your accomplishments thus far and keep reaching for the stars - but do not tie your identity to these successes, as they are fleeting, and you are so much more.
Never stop reading, and try to write a little every day. Some days it will just be a single sentence, and that's enough.
It is not normal for your period to make you puke or pass out from pain. Don't let anybody tell you that's normal. Go to a doctor, and if they tell you it's normal, go to another doctor.
Don't let people pressure you into feeling like you should be showing off your body in ways you dislike. It's their problem for being creepy and sexualizing you, but you're allowed to defend yourself however you feel most comfortable. Nobody is entitled to seeing you in any way you do not wish to be seen.
On that note, lewd photos of a minor are still lewd photos of a minor, even if said minor is the one taking and distributing them. This is incredibly dangerous, and even if you feel like you're in control of the situation and completely trust the other person, it's illegal. Send goofy selfies instead - the ones who are worth your time will love them.
Ask Daddy about everything. Ask him about his childhood, talk with him about politics, spend time with him on things you might think are boring, and appreciate every second you have with him. Hug him, hug him, hug him. And when you see that text message to Christine on Christmas Eve, tell someone. He needs help.
That said, don't feel guilty if the help doesn't work. It's not your fault. It was never our fault.
You should look into the ways that anatomy of the hips and pelvic bones affect the shape of one's body, and then come to terms with the fact that a thigh gap is neither feasible for you nor important whatsoever.
Weightlifting is fun as hell, and you will be happier at 165lbs than you ever were at 115lbs. Protein is great fuel and carbs do not make you fat. And fat is beautiful, anyway, so focus on fueling your body to do the things that make you happy rather than trying to survive on fumes.
No, that dream about Kelly wasn't a fluke. You're queer, and you will end up having crushes on people of multiple genders.
Speaking of, get into online forums for queer teens and learn about yourself and the people who you'll find you have a lot in common with.
If a man in his twenties is interested in dating a high school girl, it's not because she's 'mature for her age.' It's because people his own age can recognize how predatory he is, and a seventeen-year-old who doesn't know better is better than nothing.
There's no penis in the world that is 'too big' to wear a condom. Period. Those things can fit over watermelons if you get the right brand. "It doesn't feel as good," is a selfish excuse of a shitty argument, too, so stand your ground.
Going to church won't cure the skin-crawling, gut-punching feeling you get from going to church - don't completely take it off the table though. You'll find a really great group in college, and it will offer you the closure and confidence you need to go forward into the world as a spiritual woman.
If you're smart about it, alcohol is not as scary as the D.A.R.E. program made it seem. Start slow, and give yourself time to learn your limit. Only drink with people who know that a good time requires temperance.
Never fry bacon in shorts, dumbass.
Don't hold on to a mistake just because you've spent a lot of time making it.
Now, a few things about higher education (I'll do my best to avoid spoilers):
Concurrent enrollment is worth it for a lot of people - you're not one of them.
Don't do online college classes. Just don't.
Changing your major does not mean you're a failure.
Four years is not a realistic standard for a bachelor's degree.
The graduation ceremony is not the important part... but you might want to double-check that your university has the correct email for you around that time anyway.
It's okay to get all the way through and decide to say, 'fuck it, that career would make me miserable,' and do something you love.
I know that at this point you've already dealt with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation for a few years. I won't lie and tell you that everything is going to be daisies and sunshine - in fact, a lot of the difficulties you've faced up to this point are cake walks compared to some of the things you'll make it through later on. Just know: I'm writing this at 25, next to a wonderful man and our dog, with three cats cuddling together a few rooms away. We've got plans to take our little family out of Oklahoma as soon as he's done with school and the multitude of possibilities is breathtaking.
It will be okay.
With more love than you can imagine,
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