“The first thing you should know about me is that I am not you. A lot more will make sense after that.” -Unknown. Although I am technically you, in a sense I am not because the experiences I have encountered have made me a much different version of you. There's a whole lot that you will face soon. It's not easy and often times you'll be placed in situations that hurt. But, you will make it through, you will come out better on the other side, and you'll handle whatever you're faced with gracefully (at least most of the time). For the sake of you making your own decisions, I will spare individual’s names that you should turn to or stray away from. I will simply give you the advice I wish I would have had when I was your age-13.
First things first, you just had your big 13th birthday party and if you’re being honest, you invited a bunch of people you didn’t really care about just for the sake of having a big party. In the coming years, that’s the area that will be the toughest for you. You have a tendency to turn away from the people who really care about you for the sake of having a lot of friends who could care less. Let me tell you, it is far more of an accomplishment to have a few people who love you deeply rather than to have a lot that love you on a surface level. Off of that point, I will add that you should really become closer with your family while you can. Your little brothers look up to you more than you know. Give them someone who’s worth looking up to.
Here’s the dreaded topic for both me and you-relationships. At this point in your life, no matter how grown you think you may be, you are not wise enough to make your own decisions. Take your parent’s advice. They can spot a fake friend a lot quicker than you can and trust me- the ones that your parents have been pointing out lately are the ones you need to get away from. One thing you’re going to struggle with greatly is your heart. Your heart is so pure and so kind and that is one of the best things about you, but when someone shows you their true colors, believe them. Stop chasing after the people who make your life so difficult and just be a 13 year old. Eat ice cream, watch Disney channel and ride your bike. Don’t try to grow up too fast. You never get your childhood back, so please- don’t rush it. You so badly want everyone to like you, but when you get into high school, you are going to realize that a lot of people won’t. Not because you’re not pretty or sweet, but simply because they are making bad choices and they don’t like that you are so innocent and pure. They often wish that they had what you have even though it may often feel like it’s the other way around.
There’s boys and friends that you will cry so hard over losing. Your feelings are valid and you sometimes, you just need to cry. But Hannah, you don't have to face it alone. Losing people hurts and in your life, there will be betrayal, but trust me, the people you’re crying so hard over aren’t worth it. They’re still trying to figure out who they are and it’s nothing personal, they just aren’t ready to accept their maturity yet and you did that a long time ago. You'll learn that betrayal rarely comes from your enemies. Adding on to that though, just because people have the power to betray you doesn't mean that they will. It's okay to let your walls down a little bit as long as you're doing it for the right people. You’re way ahead even if it feels like you’re far behind. Trust that and never change who you are for anyone or anything. I think that if you knew me now, you’d be proud. I’m saving myself for the right one. I have learned that God’s rules aren’t to hinder me, but to protect me and I’m trusting in that and holding strong to my faith. Always hold on to Jesus, he will keep you grounded.
There's an event that will happen in your life that will change you. Maybe not drastically and maybe not noticeably, but it will change you. You'll get a call one day that kind of shatters the idea that people your age don't just pass away. You'll gain an awareness that you never had before and a heart that cares even more deeply for people. Because after this, you understand that you never know the battles that someone can be fighting while wearing a smile on their face.
I surely haven’t given you every piece of advice you’ll need because in order to do that, I would need to write for a few days on end. There are some things that I haven’t told you yet. I haven't told you how you'll make it through the hurt and the pain, but just trust me, you will. I sit back now and often wonder how I did it. I wonder how I managed to forgive the people that never gave me an apology. And I wonder how I was able to love people who hurt me. I often wonder how I mustered up the strength to take the knife of betrayal out of my back and simply set it down. You will make mistakes and you will wish that you could unsay or unsend things. In those moments, tell yourself that it's all a part of life. That from your mistakes, you will learn. From your failures, you will learn the keys to success. From your heartbreaks, you will grow. You are much stronger than you believe. I didn’t give you advice on some the really tough stuff you'll face because you need to figure that out for yourself. There are lessons that you just have to learn on your own and trust me- you’ll figure it out and handle those things with all the grace that you know how. So, don’t worry. You have so much to offer the world. Never let anyone or anyone take that away from you. Be fearlessly yourself and embrace who you truly are.