Holy shit, kid. You're going to grow up. It seems impossible now, like you're always going to be stuck in that life, stuck in that town, stuck staring out at a future that you'll never touch. But you're not stuck. You're just waiting, just like everyone seems to wait at 17, but you won't hear that now.
So if you hear anything, hear this: You will get out.
It's an amazing world that you're going to see. You're going to get your heart broken, you're going to travel to places you can't even imagine, you're going to make friends you couldn't live without, you're going to learn to tell stories. You're going to become an academic and you're not going to become a lawyer and, even though you're happy, it's going to take you a long time to accept that not being a lawyer is okay.
You're going to make mistakes, you're going to struggle, and it's going to be good.
Somedays, you're going to eat a meal without mentally tabulating the caloric intake and you're going to exercise until it stops feeling good.
You're going to get less well and youre going to get more well.
Mostly, you're going to live.
I'm not going to tell you that you won't hurt - there will be people who mean the world to you that disappear and people you think matter that you end up asking to leave. You will make friends who could last a lifetime who last only a year or two and you will have friends that celebrate knowing you for 18 years.
You will still be friends with Anna Brady.
Your heart is bigger than you think, angry girl. That doesn't mean that you have to apologize for your rage right now - it's what you need to surivve - but don't think that you'll have it forever.
The first lines on your face will be from laughter and thought, not from sorrow.
If I could give you any advice in the world it would be these things:
1) Stop obsessing about size - your weight, your clothing size, the inches of your waist, nobody but you really cares. And the ones who do care ... they're stupid and you don't like them, anyway.
2) Don't apologize for being smart - someday, it's going to be the thing you're most proud of.
3) Don't hide how different you are - you're bad at it and you're awesome.
4) Don't worry, you're going to have the friends that last someday and they will surprise and amaze you and they will always make you laugh.
5) Don't worry about crying - everyone does it. You should do it more.
6) Don't think you know where you're going - 13 years later, I'm still not sure. But now, I'm okay with it.
7) You're going to get hurt by people you love. Don't stop loving.
But I can't give you advice, anyway, angry girl. Because if I stopped you on the street at 17 and brushed your bright red hair away from your face and said these things to you, you wouldn't hear me.
That's okay. It's okay to be angry, too.
You. Just older.