Reflection: A letter to the girl I used to be

A friend of mine shared a letter he’d written to his 16 year old self. We’ve both dealt with mental and physical health issues as well as self-destructive compulsions and tendencies. His letter was a powerful exercise in self-reflection and significant in his healing and recovery journey. It was not something I’d ever considered doing before. I’d heard of writing letters to others as part of the cathartic process, but never to one’s younger self. It was inspiring to read and I felt prompted to write my own letter.

Dear Gypsy,
I wish you had someone like me in your life, when I was you: someone committed to being responsible and accountable for herself and her actions: someone willing to listen and to show you that you have other options besides being detached and intellectual and that running away, by whatever method, is never going to solve your problems, only compound them.

You are about to make some permanently life-altering decisions, the effects of which will ripple into the lives of others around you and into the lives of your children – yes, CHILDREN!

That doctor who said you probably wouldn’t be able to conceive and/or carry a child to term, was mistaken. I realize you never considered what kind of mother you would be and had decided, partially based on that prognosis, that you weren’t mommy material, but it’s going to happen and soon.

Being a mom is going to change your life and change you in ways you won’t even imagine. It’s going to save your life. It is going to be the hardest and most painful thing you will ever live through. It is going to be the thing that gives you hope and strength to keep fighting when you feel like there’s nothing left to fight for. It is not something you are equipped or prepared for, so, you will make mistakes and mess it up. The thing to realize and remember is this: you do the best you can, with what you have, where you are, at the time you do it.

That’s all you can do. Then you learn your lessons and move forward. Or not and life repeats the lesson until you get it.

I want you to know that you are traveling a difficult and treacherous path, but you ARE loved, provided for, and protected – even though it will take you the next 28 years to understand or believe it.

You are holding onto a lot of grief, anger, pain, and shame that never should have been yours in the first place and that you have convinced yourself doesn’t exist. It will be with you until you are ready and willing to face it and stop being afraid of it. Once that happens, you will find me.

I’m proud of you and the fact that even though you will have many moments when you feel like you’ve given up, you never truly have and you never do. The things you’ve been through and that you will experience, will strengthen you and the person you become, is someone with strength, determination, capacity and capability you don’t realize you can be.

Your life isn’t going to be what you dream of, expect, or hope it will be as you sit in the library, immersed in your worlds of fiction and fantasy. But, you will have life and you become more than a survivor.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that you needed to hear and believe this – I love you. I will be here, waiting for you, when you arrive. We are going to be amazing together,

See you on the other end of time.




  1. You brought tears to my eyes. Most of this letter could have been written by me. I think I may tweak your idea and write a poem to my 16yr old self ❤
    You have a beautiful strength inside you and I can't wait to see that grow and shine in the years to come!


    1. Diana,
      It’s a new thing for me to believe that I can be and am an amazing person. However, recently some pretty special people whom I respect and whose perspective I value, based on their authenticity and integrity, have been filling me up with the idea that I am, indeed, amazing.

      I still have difficulty seeing it in me, but I trust their judgment and know they aren’t the kind of people to say something just to make you feel better without them believing it. So, here I am, acting as if I believe that the full integration of the many aspects of myself, is going to be amazing.

      Thanks for being one of the positive voices.



  2. Great line “It will be with you until you are ready and willing to face it and stop being afraid of it. Once that happens, you will find me.” Question to today’s Kina. Do you feel you met and found yourself yet?


    1. Amanda,
      I am meeting and revealing myself to me. I am less certain of myself in terms of what I want to do in my life but have a better grasp of who I am. I am the one who has become ready and willing to face the fears and not let them define and control me.



  3. Ahhh . . . what a beautiful and empowering letter. This is such a fantastic exercise. I was fortunate that I had two teachers (my 5th grade teacher and a teacher in college) that had us write letters to ourselves. They then mailed them (on our HS and college graduations, respectively). Both letters had a profound impact on me.

    I hadn’t thought about writing one to myself – just for myself – not as part of an assignment.

    Thanks so much for sharing!



    1. Lisa,
      Now that I think about it, I’ve participated in a few groups and classes where we either wrote a letter or something related to goals and hopes at the beginning and received them at completion. It is a pretty epic thing that your teachers were able to mail those letters back to you after the years had passed.

      Thanks for sharing.



  4. I wrote such a post in October 2012. It was a difficult post to write because it brings me back to earlier days, some which are not very happy too. However, its also a way I let go of things and I felt relieve after I wrote it out.


    1. DM,
      I’m glad you got some healing from it.

      For me, this was less difficult than I expected. It helped me realize and understand I am farther along my path of healing and recovery than I’d thought. I was kind of surprised at how affirming I was able to be regarding how I see myself and my life.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.



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