Dear 16-Year Old Bethany,
It will be better. You will not always feel like you're under someone's thumb and these people will not have power over you forever. Just hold on a little longer.
Please don't feel like you have to cling to the scraps of attention and love you receive from boys that are beneath you. You deserve to be cherished and cared for as if you are the most precious thing in that persons life. If they cannot treat you that way than you need to stop wasting your time.
But on that same note: You should not be so callous with the hearts of people that entrust them to you. Be kind. Life is too fleeting to be cruel and unkind just because you can.
Pay attention in church. Because Jesus is waiting for you. He's waiting for you to realize that he loves you exactly where and how you are regardless of what you've done or not done. Jesus is not like so many of the people you grew up in church with. He is like Noriko and Mary who always remember your name and what you've been up to. He remembers your birthday and celebrates the day you were created because he created you.
Don't be in such a hurry to grow up. Being an adult is hard and it doesn't get easier, it just gets more manageable.
You have great parents that want the best for you; please be kinder to them. I know you're just acting out because you are so scared all of the time but they know when people aren't good for you. Stop sneaking around or telling them they don't know what they're talking about.
Stay a kid for awhile. Don't rush into sleeping with boys; you have your whole life for that and this is the only time you have to focus on setting up your future and the only time you have to be so carefree.
Be carefree. Don't worry so much about what other people are doing and saying. Those that matter are on your side; the rest are just loud noises that should be relegated to the periphery of your life.
School matters. The luxury of being able to work during the summer only and focus on school the rest of the year is one that will not come again. It's ok to not know what you want; don't panic. You don't have to be who everyone else thinks you should be. Just be yourself. Most everyone is as confused and scared as you are; it's just that no one talks about it.
Don't smoke. Don't even start. It's hard to quit. Don't drink when you're so young. It makes you do stupid things that even though they're funny sometimes are mostly just hurting you in the long run.
Be brave in your friendships. Know that you will get hurt but don't shut down. Friends may come and go but God will redeem all of those hurts; every single one of them.
Love. Be open to loving others and being kind. Don't discard people just because they are in your way of something you think you want instead. The best way to have kindness given to you is to be kind to others.
Don't close your heart when you're hurt. It's a habit you will find nearly impossible to break as an adult. Everyone is hurt. Everyone is scarred in some way. Love anyway. Love without ceasing and be irrationally kind.
People will show you kindness in the future; and it will literally save your life. You won't have earned it, you won't believe you deserve it. That kindness is Jesus writing a love letter to you asking for your whole heart. Give in sooner. Don't be so stubborn.
Being secretive is a trait that runs in your family. Be open with people. It might be embarrassing at first; until you hear the first person saying, "I thought I was the only one..."
You are good. You are not bad or spoiled or a terrible girl. Start fighting against the lies you've been told now. It will save you so much time and money on therapists as an adult.
I believe in you. You are enough. Just how you are.
33-Year old Bethany