Dear future Lauren,
I don’t know you. I can never know you, it's the simple laws of physics. You could read this in a week, or year, or even five years and it’s still addressed to a version of yourself that you can’t meet. I don’t know what obstacles you’ve had to overcome, what your glasses look like, which friends stuck around and which didn’t. I don’t even know what point in your life you are at. It’s impossible for me to know you.
I don’t know you but I love you.
I love you for what you’ve overcome. You’ve faced things I know about and many things I’ve yet to know. You will have made mistakes (don’t lie to me and tell me you haven’t) but you’ve dealt with them. You might not be proud of your mistakes but I love them. Everything you have done is a part of you; if I love you, I love the mistakes too.
Look what you’ve done so far. Be proud of yourself! I’m proud of you (and I am you so… you have to be proud). You have gone through heartbreak and homesickness and identity crises and even a goddamn global pandemic. You are stronger than you will ever believe and if I have to be the one to remind you, I will. You’re living out the dreams that ten year old Lauren thought of, staring out her window at the back of that suburban crescent. It might not look exactly like what she envisioned, but you are living your life the way you want to, and we can’t ask for anything more than that.
Everything I do, I do for you. The work I put in today pays off tomorrow. I work hard for you; so that when you look back on me, you’re proud of me. I love you enough to make sure that you are the best version of yourself possible, even if it means 7 a.m. runs and a scoop of vegetables at every dinner.
I have compassion for you (most of the time). I have a shower when really all I want to do is sleep because you’ll feel better tomorrow. I do the dishes the day before so you don’t have to do them. I study for the exam instead of going out because I know it’ll make your life easier down the road. I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t love you.
There will be days when you don’t love yourself, when the voices inside your head are a little too loud and everything feels ‘yick’. But that’s okay. Allowing yourself to feel those feelings is healthy and I love you enough for when you can’t love yourself, just like past me loves current me on my hard days. Although, I do hope you’ve gained more body positivity and self love by the time you read this. You deserve that.
I love the things that will never change — like how you get that feeling of pure wonder when it snows and how a dorky dance will always put a smile on your face. I love that you write and I love that you’re vulnerable enough to share it. I love that your brain likes puzzles, so much so that you stay up into the early hours of the morning just to finish one. I love that you fight for the environment, for the small actionable changes. I love you for you, whatever version that is.
I can’t see what happiness looks like in the future. I don’t know what happy accidents or hard life lessons will come, what twists and turns life will lead you down, but I love you enough to let you see it.
nineteen year old Lauren.
P.S. A word of advice? There’s more than one type of love in this world. Not having one doesn’t invalidate the others. You tend to forget that a lot, so I figured I’d remind you again. <3