It's strange thinking about writing a letter to myself. However, I just had my 10 year class reunion on Saturday, so I figured now is the best time to write a letter to my 18 year old self.
You still get called that by the way. Some things, don't change.
18. That's a big year. You're graduating high school and going to college. It should be an exciting time, and it is, but you should really follow your heart. You will see why in the future, it doesn't work out exactly as planned. You've always lived for others, please start living for yourself. Put yourself first. Do what you want to do, you will be much happier that way.
College isn't bad. You meet some amazing people, people who change your life in some way, shape or form. You even learn about those who you've known forever. They are just like you. Sure, you have your difference, but living with them won't be bad. This is by far, not the best years of your life. It gets better...much, much better.
You will experience some deep shit in your young life. In the form of an accident and a relationship. Listen to your intuition about the relationship. I'd love to tell you that it will be okay, but honestly you will regret that decision for a very long time. You are much too precious to deal with any kind of abuse, I wish you could see that. I wish you loved yourself as much as those around you do. Your true friends and family, not this coward who is pretending to love you. Abuse isn't love. Repeat after me, abuse isn't love. The affects of that relationship are everlasting, but even if this letter could get to you, I don't think you would listen. You're stubborn. It's a blessing and a curse.
Call your dad more, even if he's had too much to drink and the conversation is one sided. Just let him know you love him and hang up. Visit too. I know how hard it is for you to see him this way, but your young life will be rocked on a early August morning, when you get the call that he has been in a horrible ATV accident. That's when you really grow up. He will spend the next 5 years of his life bouncing between a nursing home and a hospital. You'll have to sell his home, your families home, to strangers. All his belongings too. The hospital bills are large and they never stop. You'll even be sued. Don't worry, it will be taken care of, but it's still a scary spot for a 20 year old to be in. He won't get better, Linz. He has severe brain damage and eventually passes in the nursing home. But he does meet your husband.
Yup, you get married. Your husband, he is everything you ever wanted, but you never thought you deserved. Trust him, he has never hurt you or lead you to believe otherwise. Don't let your past relationship dictate this one. He is not him. That is something you will need to remind yourself of everyday, (see I told you about everlasting affects.) He's good to you and just wait until you see your children. Two boys, something you have always wanted, but never thought you would have. You deserve them, every good thing that has ever happened to you, you deserve it. You will become a wonderful mom too, it's obvious to everyone around you how much your kids will mean to you. You are not your mother, remember that. I know that thought is in the back of your head, believe me when I tell you it doesn't go away. But you are better than that, you are better than her. You have a lot of love and support around you, it will help in those times when you feel so very alone. Your relationship with her won't change much over the years. You'll have more emotions than ever towards her and why she abandoned you. Everything comes to the surface once you have your own babies. You'll be angry with her. Forgive her. It's something that you will have to work on, and I'll let you know after all this time, it will still be so very hard to forgive her. But think of your children, Oliver and Landon, they are so precious and wonderful. They deserve all the love they can get, and if she is willing to play by your rules, let her in, slowly, and on your terms.
Keep in touch with those friends that matter most to you. At 18, I know it's hard, that year was difficult for you and a lot of friendships dissolved. That's okay, the ones that are true will come back into your life, in a very unexpected way. As in, her future husband, and your future husband are cousins. A simple conversation about that, reunites a friendship that was only put on pause; it never truly ended. You will meet others too, that you will feel you have known forever, cherish them. They are true, they are real and they also love you and your family. Don't withdraw yourself from them. I know you're a homebody, and that's okay, but sometimes get out there. It will be fun.
Your family will be rocked to the core, but you know how strong they are. Your grandpa will be tested and his health will fail at moments, but you know him, he's the energizer bunny, don't cry too hard he'll bounce back. He won't be 100 percent but he'll be close. Your relationship with your grandma will be the strongest ever. She will be your rock in those first few weeks of motherhood with your first son, Oliver and a major help with your second son, Landon. She's been your mom for so long, she'll be right by yourself helping you with your babies. She makes an amazing shoulder to cry on.
You may not be where you thought you were going to be when you thought about yourself at 28, but the place you are at is so much better. You may not have all the money in the world but you have a beautiful, healthy family. That is worth so much more than any amount of money.
Your future self.