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Dear 9 year old Megan,

Hello sweet, creative girl. There are so many things I want you to understand about who you are and who you will become, but I want to start with the one thing that I know you feel the most and understand the least. With this one best piece of advice from me to you, you can become all that you dream of becoming with far less fear and hiding in the shadows. Megan, I'm going to teach you the truth about who you truly are.

The truth begins with knowing that you are not the only little girl who feels awkward or confused about where you fit. I know you don't feel smart enough, athletic enough, pretty enough, little enough, or tough enough sometimes. I know you're scared of messing up and growing up... REALLY scared... and that you don't know why. I know the idea of what the future holds is enough to send you to the dark, sick-peppermint smelling sick room again, only wanting to go home, even though you really do like your teachers, you like to learn, and you want to feel better.

You see Megan, that feeling you have in your stomach that makes you want to cry for no reason and holds you back from trying new things isn't a mistake or dangerous. It's actually there to do the opposite but I'll get to that later. Not knowing how to do things and what will happen next is normal and it's okay to feel unsure. The thing is, no one really knows what you're feeling or thinking because it's hard to put into words and being only 9, you're not sure how to make sense of it all. What you need to know is that your fear is there to keep you safe and sound, but instead, it's keeping you caged up and from living this wonderful life that has been given to you. And no, there's nothing wrong with you. You're telling yourself what you're most afraid of instead of what you most want. Stop that right now!

You are brave, you are capable, and you are safe... even when you're afraid.

Right away you might have noticed that I called you creative so when I say you tell yourself scary stories about life and what's to come, I mean it. With this creativity, you have written horror movies in your mind around your fear of losing people and of leaving them too. Those scary stores are born out of an intense love for your family and the security that you are so blessed to have. You know how wonderful your parents are, how much you love them and your brothers, your grandparents, your friends, and your childhood. The idea of losing any of these people or this time of being young scares you so much that you hang on tighter and tighter to what is familiar everyday.

It's okay to let go: no one is going anywhere. Turning 20, then 30, then 40 is a level up to what comes next, not another step closer to the end.

Here's the truth, Megan. Change is not bad. Growing up is not bad. Growing old is not bad. These too are blessings and gifts and you're going to love what is ahead of you even more than you love what is happening right now. You'll play more, love more, and learn more. You'll learn to fight for what's important and let go of what is not. You'll learn to stop being so afraid all of the time so when that feeling that you're going to cry or that your stomach hurts or that your heart is racing happens, stop, take a breath, and tell yourself the truth. You are safe. You are smart. You have an amazing future.

Now let's talk about all of the things you won't try because you're not good enough. You haven't heard this yet but let me tell you now, comparison is the thief of joy. It doesn't matter what anyone else is good at, you can be good at it too. There is always room for more greatness in this world and everyone has there own flavor to add to the pot. Messing up, losing, failing... they're all part of learning. They don't make you less, they make you more!

Trying something once and not being the best right away doesn't mean you're not any good at it, it means you haven't practiced. If you want something, if you dream something, go after it. Don't step back because you're not Leah or Amy or Danielle or Rachelle or anyone else. Give yourself a shot at being Megan - you can do so much more than you think you can but you can't give up before you try! Every time you quit, you make your truth that you can't do something a reality. Try again. And again. And again.

Finally, there is nothing wrong with you. Not in the way you think, not in the way you look, and not in the way you act. You are exceptionally normal and exceptionally special at the same time. You are creative, caring, curious, and you are smart. You're not bad at Math, you're good at History and English. You're not bad at sports, you're good at swimming. You're not the wrong shape, the wrong size or anything else that you've been asked or told - the truth is, you are who you say you are. You're going to believe what you tell yourself, bad or good. Megan, tell yourself you have your grandmother's sense of humor and your dad's grin. Tell yourself you are as beautiful as you mom and as talented as your cousin. Take it all in and make it your's because it is!

Here's the thing, since I'm already here, living the life you are so terrified of reaching, I KNOW the awesome things that are waiting for you on the other side. I know the regrets you will have, the losses you will endure, the anxiety, stress, and tasks that take everything you have and you make it! You more than make it, you defeat it. So Megan, take all of that worry, all of those things that people say about you and that you say about yourself and put them aside. Leave them to blow away in the wind because not a single fear that you have had has come true. You're alive, you're successful, mom and dad, your brothers, your family is together and more than you can even imagine in the 3rd grade.

Your fears will build your passion. Your passion will grow and expand and so will your confidence. You're going do great things, young lady so stop spending all of your energy worrying and playing small. Live boldly because bold is what it takes and you have it in you.

I love you.



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