10 Things I’d Say to 15-Year-Old Me!

Please excuse the technical difficulties. Please enjoy one of my favorite blog posts from 2016!

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You know what I love doing?

Looking back at old pictures from middle school/early high school.

I mean, the fashions, the hair styles, the flip phones, the boys I had crushes on. It is just a blast from the past.

And let’s be real, it wasn’t thaaat long ago. But given every twist and turn my life has taken thus far, it feels like a lot of life has been lived since then.


I developed anorexia when I was 16. And looking back and reflecting on those delicate and formative years, I can see traces of the disease creep in at various points in my adolescence.

I think we all have things on our hearts that -in hindsight- we wish we could say to our former selves. Nuggets of sage wisdom that could have been helpful.

So here’s 10 things I would say, given everything I know now. Things that recovered me would say to a budding young me, on the brink of succumbing to what would be a long battle with ED.


Dear Fifteen-Year-Old Me,

Freshman year can be a pretty scary time. New high school. Older boys. Drivers licenses. Changing bodies. Navigating it can be tough. So here’s a little help…

1. Relationships are important. Invest in the people who know who you really are, and love every quirk and imperfection. At a sleepover, if you can’t wear your retainer or walk around in sweats with them…reevaluate.


2. Mischa Barton from The OC is pretty awesome, but you don’t need a boy to rescue you. And while we’re at it: stop idolizing her body type. You’re not 5’10.” You never will be. And  being waif-thin is not something to gamble your life for.

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3. Everyone’s bodies change at different paces. No, your body may not look like your voluptuous friend, but that doesn’t make you any less beautiful, or any less worthy of being loved. Just be patient. Bikinis aren’t everything. And being able to fill out a Victoria’s Secret bikini isn’t the “be all, end all.” Nor is having your ribs show.

4. Boys will say a lot of things. Good and bad. But never let that determine how you feel about yourself. Or how you dress. Or wear your hair. Or who you’re friends with.


5. Knowing the dance to High School Musical is great, but that’s not real life. High school is not idealistic, and boys won’t serenade you like Zac Efron. Don’t expect them to.

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6. Don’t dismiss people because they belong to a certain “group.” People are people. And they can surprise you. But you have to give them a chance. And the “cool” table, is full of just people.

7. Just have a damn beer.

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8. Getting good grades is important, but not at the expense of your mental health. Get a B. You will be okay. Perfection is stupid.

9. Don’t do the beauty pageant. Just don’t do it. There’s more to you than your outer beauty. Being judged by how you look in a bikini is frankly stupid. You are so much more than that. Oh yeah – and stop going to the tanning bed. Like, immediately. Your skin will thank you later.

10. You are enough. Just as you are. You don’t have to be the lead in every school play. You don’t have to play varsity sports. You don’t have to sit at the “cool” table. You don’t have to get straight A’s. You don’t have to wear a size 0. You are enough. Just by being you. You don’t have to earn your worth. Your worth was established when Jesus went to the cross.


11. Let people love you. The real you. You don’t have to put on the air of not caring what other people think. You have feelings and emotions, and that’s important. Honor them. Feel them. Share them. Your heart is a beautiful temple. Protect it, but don’t be afraid to show it.

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High school is kinda like a big game of poker. Everybody has insecurities. Everybody’s in the same boat, a little bit over their head, just trying to figure it out. And everybody’s trying to put on their best poker face that they’ve got it all together. Spoiler alert: they don’t.


The sooner you realize that you are beautiful just as you are, and that your worth doesn’t come from any of these superficial things, the more abundantly you will live.

Respect and accept your body. Listen to your parents. Stop striving for perfection.

You are enough. Right now.

Love,

Your older and wiser self 😉

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139 thoughts on “10 Things I’d Say to 15-Year-Old Me!

      1. I am so glad you overcame ED and are thriving. I appreciate you being the light you are. Going through suffering is hard, but you have given yours to God and he is doing beautiful things through you.

      2. Thank you again. That seriously means so much. Yeah God is good and I am so grateful for His healing! Hugs and love xox

  1. I love this post, full of great thoughts and advice to help young women succeed. You are an inspiration! Love the photos of your teen years. ☺️

    1. Aw thank you John. So kind of you to say. Haha ohh the teenage years 😂😂😂 Hugs and love xox

  2. This is such a great post! Love eveything you said and your pictures😊 I wrote a post on what would you advice your younger self a couple of days ago. Its nothing like yours…This is great

  3. Can I just say that your curls were so gorgeous! Super stunning, you looked like Kate Hudson, still kind of do but brunette. <3

  4. Niicee. I don’t mean to be all up in your business, i know blogs can be personal. But number five needs an edit. High school musical dance is life, and boys will serenade if you ask them, they just won’t be as good as zac efron… ( I’m mostly kidding with this comment, other than HSM dance). Cool post

  5. These are all so true, and are so relatable as I’m close to being 15 Lord willing. Number 6 really hit home to me, because once you get to know one of the “cool” people, they’re going through the same problems as the rest of us, and everyone needs to be there for everyone, no matter the “status.” Great blog post, God bless xx☺️

    1. Thanks friend 🙂 yes! People are people are people. And we all deserve love and support 🙂 thanks so much for reading!! Hope you have an awesome day! Xox

  6. You know, Caralyn, when people say “Oh you haven’t changed a bit!”, for the most part, they’re just being nice. But I have to say that you really haven’t changed a bit and are just as adorable now as you were then!

    1. Hahaha oh my gosh Sean you are so kind! Thanks for making me smile today! Hugs and love xox

  7. Love it! Emotions and hormones govern so much of what 15 y.o. girls think. Wonderful advice. Not comparing oneself to how you perceive others is key. xoxo

    1. Aw thank you Kalida!! I hope it sparked some healthy dialogue! 🙂 thanks friend xox

  8. What a great post … and wonderful advice I can give to my daughter as she navigates the next years in her life!

    If it’s all right with you, could I “draft” on your theme for my next blog post. I will give you credit! I would like to write about advice I would have given myself as a 15-year-old struggling with knowing I was gay.

    Drafting is a runner’s term and a compliment: during a race or training, runners will try to find runners with good form whom they can emulate and either run with or slightly behind. If it’s not awkward, we ask the runner for permission — which is what I’m doing as a follower of your blog!

    1. Absolutely! It would be an honor if you drafted on this topic. I look forward to reading your words 🙂 big hugs to you friend xox

    1. Hahahha thank you friend. Noted! Will try better with the twitching images 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  9. Good post! Just wondering, what happened to your “Adoption” post? (I’m only commenting here because I know you read the comments, feel free to delete if needed.) But I wanted to show my wife that Adoption post as we are currently in the waiting process. Thanks, and keep up the great work! Seriously, I appreciate your writing!

    1. Hi friend! Thank you for your question. What’s your email? Hugs and love xox

  10. I’m confused about #7 – Drink the Beer. When I clicked on that tab, it went to a post where you said you’re not advocating underage drinking. But here you’re listing “Things I’d Say to 15 year old”.

    1. Thank you Lisa Beth for this question. Yeah this one is a little tricky because you’re right I’m not advocating underage drinking. The point of that beer post was having to do with the crippling perfectionism that ultimately led to my anorexia. Sometimes I think that if I could have just let my hair down a little bit and had a beer with my friends instead of trying to hold up this untouchable, perfect persona, that things could have ended a lot differently for me, and I could have saved myself from my anorexia. There’s a lot to be said for having friends and being present in your relationships. I’m not saying to give into peer pressure or do anything against the law, but I was killing myself to be perfect, and sometime I question…was it worth it? Or could just having a beer and letting myself be loved and accepted, “imperfect” and all, been the best thing for me? I don’t know if that makes any sense at all, but yeah. 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  11. It would be great to go back and speak to my 15 year old self. If only, it would save me so many mistakes…but, I’m not ashamed of them. I’m still loved by God.

    1. Thank you so much Harry! I know right!? Hindsight is twenty twenty! Hugs and love xox

    1. Oh gosh you’re so kind to say that. Thank you friend. Hugs and love xox

  12. #6 !!! YASSSSS!!
    and I made my own ‘cool’ table with a collection of odd and different friends, each who brought different talents to the mix. I’d say we were pretty much the coolest nerds around…

    1. Haha that’s so awesome!! People are people are people. And every single person is friend potential! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  13. I would have to say… Always eat your ‘cake’ with a friend. You never know when your life is up and that cake would’ve been so delightful…

  14. Are you trying to confuse me by posting on Tuesday..😂.. Curious question and please take it the right way, do you know where you would be if you didn’t have Anorexia I ask my self a similar question with anxiety and depression, would I be on this journey to God.
    P.s. you are such a beautiful human being both inside and out, even more so with what you have been through

    1. Haha oh gosh Benny, thank you. Yeah spicing it up a bit on a Tuesday!! I do. And honestly it goes back to that number about having a beer. I always wonder – what would have happened if I were to just have stopped trying to be “perfect” and “unblemished” and keeping everyone at arms’ length and just had a damn beer with my friends. You know? Because by doing that, I would have been letting people love me and letting down my walls, instead of putting up that wall of being the perfect non-drinker. I’m obviously not advocating underage drinking. But…I just wonder. Hugs and love xox

      1. I gave up alcohol a good while ago, it might make me boring, but I’m doing it for my own good, will you be posting 4 times a week now 😂

  15. This is a delightful post. It’ll be interesting to see what you will say to her in 15 years. What I would say to my fifteen year old self is different now than it was 15 years ago. Part of this is age, some of it is wisdom, part is growth in faith.
    It’s so good to see you reflect on this, and more importantly, not judge yourself in a negative way. There is beauty that lives beyond your bones – it is wisdom, compassion, and understand. <3

    1. Thank you Teri! Yes, that will definitely be interesting. We always are learning new things and gaining new perspectives. Thank you for your kindness 🙂 big hugs xox

  16. I went over “fools hill” as I grew up. In all the different incarnations of that thought it amounts to one thing, choice! In some ways we all wish we hadn’t made the choices we did, but on the positive side its because we did do the “fools hill” thing we can relate to those who are going through the experience and help them. Perhaps it’s our mission in life? The fifteen year old you are referring to, you and me, do not take the advice given by others looking back. It’s only in that self looking back we see our mistakes, built on them for more positive outcomes for the future and decide to share self rather than advice to hopefully nurture a future for others, or regretfully see them hit bottom after doing all we can to prevent it. We need to look back, forgive self and move on as an inspiration to others.

    1. That’s very very true. Look back, forgive self and move on. That’s such great advice. Thanks friend. Hugs and love xox

  17. Thanks for this funny, poignant reflection. Yes, Zac Efron kinda faded from importance and YES relationships are so important. I resonate with so many of those truths, and I’m sure a lot of others do as well!

    1. Aw thanks friend. Haha oh Zac will always have a prominent place of importance in my heart Hahahah juuuuuust kidding 🙂 so glad this resonated with you! Hugs and love xox

  18. Great advice a for a 15 year old! My problem at 15 was not listening to authority so older me would get ignored by younger me no matter how good the advice is. Sci-Fi movie waiting to be made…

    1. Thanks so much! Yeah, when we’re 15, advice is not always welcomed haha Hugs and love xox

  19. I would add to your 15 year old:
    Ever remember you are a spark of the Divine, and no matter what life throws at you, you will be and always have been Loved. You are perfect just as you are. God don’t make no mistakes.

    1. Thanks friend. Yeah it’s a very impressionable and formative year for sure. Hugs and love xox

  20. Great advice! Wish I’d been able to give this to my girls to read when they were that age…wonder if it would’ve changed anything? Teenagers aren’t big into listening to advice from ‘grown-ups’ though (or even from other teenagers if it means spoiling their fun), so who knows. It seems like culture, or what everyone else is doing, has more influence on teenagers than anything.

    1. Aw thank you Mia. You’re so right. Teens want to go their own thing! You’re right about that! Hugs and love xox

  21. Awesome post; I definitely want to share this with my nieces. Great advice for all teens.
    Thanks for continuing to share your journey, love the authenticity as always. xx

    1. Thanks John! Yeah I definitely could do well to put those Kong’s to practice too! Hugs and love xox

  22. I love this, but I felt I couldn’t send it to my girls as I so often do only because of #7. I totally get what you’re saying, but one of my girls has had some issues with underage drinking since going to college, and I don’t want to send her the wrong message. She’s worked very hard to find a new set of friends and other ways to enjoy herself, but it almost cost her everything that was important to her.

    1. Thank you so much Amy, I’m sorry that #7 hits too close to home. I definitely am not encouraging underage drinking. For me, my crippling perfectionism is what led to my anorexia. And I often wonder if i would have stopped trying to be perfect and unattainable and just had a beer with my friends and let them love me, rather than keep them at arms distance and be “above” what they were doing, I could have saved myself from my eating disorder. I don’t know if that makes sense. But I’m so sorry that underage drinking was something that your daughter struggled with, and I’m am so glad to hear that she is on a healthy and positive path! That takes a lot of strength and courage to forge a new path so kudos to her! Hugs and love xox

  23. Wonderful advice. I, too, struggled with several of the things you mentioned. I went to a different high school than everyone in my church youth group, and I was teased incessantly for it. Now, I think many was jealous of me? Who knows. I think of my niece, who will be 13 in October. She’s already dealing with a few issues, not to mention the added pressures of smartphones and social media.

    1. Thank you so much Laura Beth. Yeah I can’t imagine trying to navigate high school with the pressures of social media. Yikes. That must have been tough – it’s always tough navigating life without your closest friends in your day to day. So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  24. Ahh I love this, all of it! Words and advice to live by to this day! I’m 5’10 and remember wishing I was 5’6 or 5’7 😄 you are so transparent and I love seeing your different perspective on things. I recently started my own blog and am taking your advice from some of your last posts on how to gain a following! Thanks so much for liking my post☺️ looking forward to reading more your work!

    1. Aw thank you so much! That’s awesome! Congrats on your new blog! Hugs and love xox

  25. First, you were adorable at 15, as if that’s a shock! The things you describe are pretty much the norm for the age although I cannot say that I have the same experiences being male not female. However, I have a sister a wife and daughter so I’ve either seen or heard much of what you described. Also, there is a male version of much of what you discussed.
    Believe it or not, the drive to be perfect continues on in some of us and for me, at 56 years old it may never die.
    Thank you again dear for all you do and for all you inspire.

    Love and Blessings,
    Jim

    1. Oh my gosh thank you Jim 🙂 yeah perfectionism is definitely something i have to work at letting go of every day too. Thanks for your kind words. Hugs and love xox

  26. Makes me think… I would tell my 15 year old self. 1) never stop riding your bike, it will take you everywhere, 2) never get married you will miss so many adventures if you do 3) YES you should be a forest ranger, do not change you major! 4) do NOT kiss Heather!! 5) Be you, you will are and always will be amazing

    1. Believe it or not, there were even male counter-parts to many of these. Boys bodies are changing as well and we also notice the “changes” as girls turn into women about the time that our interests are peaked. Trust me, we have absolutely NO IDEA why, like clockwork, you silly girls have thesee uncalled for mood changes that last about a week at exactly the same time EVERY SOLITARY MONTH!!!
      The long and short of it is, girls do have a harder time of it and it makes sense. They have to be prepared not only for caring for children but also for the never quite mature men who will be their husbands later in life.

  27. Wow, just wow! There is so much I wish I could go back and know what I know now! I absolutely would say a lot of what you said, but especially: “You are enough. Just by being you. You don’t have to earn your worth. Your worth was established when Jesus went to the cross.”

    I didn’t know Jesus then and I based myself worth on my friends, my grades, and how thin my body was. You’re right, perfections is stupid!

    I’ve been reading a lot of your post and really can relate past and present to a lot of what you have said!

    Let’s be friends!

  28. I swear the more I glance through your posts, the more I want to read. You truly have a great way of putting your words and thoughts into your posts. It just blows me away. I totally agree with letsflyxaway. We should definitely be friends! 🙂 Be blessed girl and keep it up!

  29. I think it’s like a snowball effect. Young girls are more scantly dressed because of an over sexed culture aimed at women. Women get the message that this is a women’s value or what men want. Then when women act out our culture in their search for value and love, men then struggle with their flesh and eyes. As men struggle with the temptations of our sexualized culture, women notice. Women feel like they have to compete with images and other women then begin to feel inadequate- unloved. So what is their temptation? Dress the way the media over sexualizes women. If I dress this way I will be loved. If I was only a size 0 and had bigger boobs, etc. And on and on it goes all bringing pain and misunderstanding to the lives of women AND men. It is the lie of the devil that wants to bring harm on both sex’s. He wants misunderstanding on how God created us both.

    Very good read.
    I think every woman struggles with feeling enough, mostly through the looks department. Every woman wants to know she is loved and lovable, and the world tells us if we want to be loved or valued- its through how we look.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. And on and on it goes. Great food for thought. So glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

  30. This is a brilliant post, so heartfelt. It would be so wonderful to talk to our younger selves about all the things that shaped us and seemed so huge to us at the time…little did we know what life would throw our way. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much! No kidding! Little did we know! Haha Hugs and love xox

  31. Great advice and I love the image quote “You are allowed to be both, a masterpiece and work in progress”
    At 15 I’m unsure I would listen to advice no matter how great!
    I know after I had German measles at a young age, it ruiden my appetite and I became a very fussy eater and skinny
    That much my mother disliked taking me on holiday, seeing all of my ribs when stripped off in the sunshine

    1. Thank you Graham for sharing your story. Gosh I’m sorry to hear that. Hugs and love xox

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