These are the lessons I have learned, the words left unsaid, the words that have resonated in my heart.
1. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Each and every person goes about life at their own pace. It doesn’t matter if it takes you one month, three weeks, or a few years longer than everyone else. Do not lose your individual color trying to catch up to the world.
2. Look at where you are, who you’re with, what you’ve become. That is exactly where you need to be. Do not be afraid of the future and do not dwell on the past, because at this exact moment you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Do not doubt that.
3. If you’re depressed and you know it, admit it. That is the first and most important step to recovery. Don’t cover it up with facades like a band-aid. Nor should you wrap yourself with it like a blanket. But throughout that whole process of healing, know that you are still you. When you’re humming along to your favorite Daphne Loves Derby song or when you’re crying in the corner of the bathroom, that is still you.
4. Accept that others want to help you, too. You are not meant to go about this life alone. No one is. There will always be a community of people, small or large, that is willing to stay by your side. Some moments might be obvious and come in the form of a telephone call or a hug. Other times it may be that they see bits and pieces of you in their day, and that is enough. You don’t need to do everything alone.
5. Guard your heart but do not barricade it from the world, even from yourself. I believe it’s been long enough and you owe it to yourself to open up.
6. You had a very simple dream in high school. You wanted to touch people’s lives, to help them love themselves in a way that you never could. You wanted to make sure that everyone saw a light, even when they couldn’t see it themselves. Even if it was only one person, that was your dream. Right now, at this moment, you are accomplishing your dream. Remember that.
7. You will have your time to leave on a new adventure. It may not be now or in the next month, but that time will come. And when it does, be ready to leave without looking back. One day you’ll be able to stretch your wings.
8. You will be okay.