Ten years ago today, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I’d rather not go into specifics because it’s still painful and this blog is public. But suffice it to say it was hard and forever changed my life.
I wish that ten years ago, I could see where things would be today. I wish that I could have seen how different life would be. How in some ways, it would be so much better in ways I could have never hoped on dreamed. In other ways, it would be so much worse.
But my younger self was so naive and there was so much she didn’t know. She didn’t know that while she had few friends then, she would have so many more friends ten years later. And so, without further ado, here is a letter to 18 year old Nora.
It’s Nora. It’s ten years later. I’m you. Yes, you are no longer really going by Angelique. It’s okay. You finally found a nickname you like and it has stuck! Isn’t that great that you have a nickname and friends to call you that?
Oh, friends. In a couple years from now, you’ll meet Beth and she’ll become one of the most important people in your world. She will die and you will be heartsick, but don’t let that stop you from loving and living. She is worth it, I promise. She’s worth every moment of that friendship. Cherish it more.
You’ll go to Australia. Yes, Australia! I know you never thought that would be possible. But you will! And you’ll do it alone and succeed.
You won’t graduate college. You’ll try and fail, try and withdraw, try and medically withdraw. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It’s okay that your life now isn’t what you pictured it would be back then. It’s okay that your life is something totally opposed to what you wanted it t be.
You learn to do a lot on your own. Your dad dies, your mom lives in FL, your brothers live in OH and FL. You do a lot on your own and you learn to rely more on friends. You learn that you don’t, truly, have to do everything on your own.
Your health declines. You get the alphabet soup for physical and mental health disorders. But that’s okay. You learn to advocate for yourself. You find friends who help advocate for you. You love deeply, trust deeply, and live freely. And even though your life looks nothing like you planned – after all, you planned for the alphabet soup to be after your last name and not a part of your medical chart, it’s still beautiful and wonderful.
You make some of the best friends you could have in the world. They live all over – New York, Georgia, PA, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, California. You find people who understand your weird self and share a love for Disney. PS, you become obsessed with Pokemon. Be aware.
But Angelique, your life gets so much better than you ever imagined it could be. So right now, enjoy being 18. Take the curve balls life throws at you. Because it’s going to get better. I promise.