Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Self,
Hello! I know it is very strange to receive a letter from the future. It's strange that it's from ME but, nevertheless, here it is. I am writing to tell you how amazing you are. I know you don't believe it but you are. You're beautiful, confident, smart, and very much loved. I know you don't feel that way but, beautiful girl, YOU ARE. Your name Michele means "bold" and Lauren means "victorious". These names are you. Live your namesake!
Forget about what has happened to you in the past. I know it was painful and scary and it is something that you will never, ever forget but don't let it define who you are and turn you into something you are not because you are so much more than THAT. Everything you need to heal and grow and become who you are is already with you. It's all inside you. Don't try and look for it elsewhere, and that includes church and religion (believe me it isn't there). You are whole and you are complete you just have to recognize that in yourself. God created you and there is light there in you, don't let what has happened bury that.
The people around you; your family, your friends, the ones that show you love, really and truly do love you. You are not alone. Don't worry about boyfriends or girlfriends or what you're going to be when you "grow-up". You have a heart that feels and knows it all. You just have to trust it, and believe me when I say this (no, really believe me) when you live your life according to what others think or what is "supposed" to be the right thing it will be MISERABLE. Trust your heart and it will lead you where you need to go. Always.
As you grow, read, travel, love, and live the life that you have. Don't waste one single moment of it. It goes so quickly. And I know it feels slow to you right now, pretty girl, but it will go fast. Don't rush it. And for God's sake, quit worrying so much about how many calories you eat. Eat!! A little advice though to help you be the healthiest YOU, just eat meat, veggies, and a little fruit. Eat fat though, too. It is so good for you and you will be so much happier. Honest.
You will know great love in your life. There will be pain too but you need it to make you stronger. Stronger than you ever thought possible. You must know life to see decay but don't let it rot you. Look for the love in your life that doesn't betray, dismay or enslave you. When it does, it isn't true love. Let it go as fast as you can.
Lastly, sweet girl, don't try and plan ANYTHING. Determine what your heart needs, and wants, and go from there. The rest will come. If you plan it, you will ruin it. Your heart is the best guide for you. All you need to know is already there, it is just a matter of listening, and it is a listening that doesn't require your ears. Fearing what you don't know will paralyze you. Learn to let go. Life is a very great adventure. See it as that and have the most fun with it!
I love you very much! Life is beautiful and the stuff that isn't so wonderful can be turned into beauty. Take care and grow in love!
P.S. You're parents may not be perfect but they love you with their whole hearts. Love them with grace and kindness and listen to at least SOME of their words, you may learn something.