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  • Melania Zilo

A Love Letter to My 15 Year Old Self

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I decided to write a letter to the Younger Melania. Looking back at photos of myself three years ago, I see a completely different person than the one I am today. Sometimes I wish I could go back and hug her and tell her that it's all going to work out. I'm now almost nineteen, and this is probably the happiest I've ever been. I have a long way to go, but I'm so proud of how far I've come. If you take anything from this letter, I hope it's that growth is necessary to become the person you are meant to be. Not only should you accept where you are at now in life, but celebrate it. We're all learning every day and trying our best, so be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel everything, even the not so great things.

There will come a day where your future self is looking back on the photos of today, and all those feelings are going to come back, so give her something to hold on to, something to make her smile, something she can be proud of :)

Dear Mila,

Hi it's me! From the future! I just figured out how to work my time machine (it took a while because Ikea forgot to send the last pack of screws and bolts), but anyway, I'm here, and I decided to deliver this letter to you myself.

The year is 2020, and things are getting a little crazy over here. Angry frat boys with lousy hair are ruling our land, and they all report to their overlord, who looks exactly like a cartoon Cheeto, except not cute. We are all under lockdown because there's this awful virus going around, but it's okay because at least we're all under agreement that Carole Baskin did kill her husband. I know it sounds scary, but I want to assure you that the future is a beautiful place that you will grow to love. It's important to note that the worst has already happened (sorta), and you have proven to be stronger than anyone ever thought, and for that, I'm so proud of you.

Right now, you live with your mom and grandparents in Beirut, Lebanon. You may get annoyed from time to time, but next year when you move to the U.S, you're going to wish you hugged them a little tighter. You'll love a boy with your entire heart, and he will break it into pieces and make you question everything. But don't worry, very soon you will learn to love yourself again, and only allow the love in your life you truly deserve.

You're going to make some mistakes along the way. You're going to be hypercritical of yourself, and you're going to want to change everything about yourself before you learn to be comfortable in your skin. You're not going to eat when you probably should have, and sometimes there will be days so dark you can't see. But things will get better as time goes on.

These four years are going to fly by, and there is so much that the world has to offer you, so don't you give up just yet. High school is going to be everything you wanted and more. You're going to make amazing foreign friends, and you'll spend nights upstairs in your bedroom, drinking and dancing and laughing until your face turns red and the sun comes up. Soon you're going to meet a boy who turns your life upside down in the best way. He will love you wholeheartedly, remind you everyday of your beauty and strength. On days you believe you are undeserving of this fairytale, remind yourself that you are. Hold onto him real tight and remember to take care of him, he's more fragile than he leads on.

You will quickly learn this but you are a woman whose strength comes from within. A fire is slowly burning inside of you, and you will use that fire to warm those you love. You are a protector, a supporter, a celebrator. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

There's so much more I want to tell you, but I'm not worried about you. This crazy life you were given is preparing you for all the beautiful things you were meant to create. Each day gets better and better, just you wait. Remember to laugh as loud as you want, cry when you need to, celebrate the little things, and throw a fucking party for every accomplishment. You're doing so good, I promise. Before I go, I want to thank you for taking good care of us. I love you so much. See you real soon.

Love always,

Melania Zilo

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