A Letter to 15-Year-Old Kiyah at 25

Kiyah,

Today is your 25th birthday! Your life has changed so much in 10 years. In big ways and in small ways. And yet, some things have stayed exactly the same.

You're 15 now, so you're a freshman at Madeira. Still pretty awkward (socially, emotionally, physically) since you're just a few months out of the whirlwind that was middle school. Your decision to leave the comfort of public school to live away from home for 4 years is going to feel great most days, but you're going to want to give up some days too. Stick it out, though. Madeira will hold some of the best memories of your life.

As you already know, the food at Madeira is really good and always available (especially the dessert), so you're going to struggle with your weight, body image, and self-worth. Clothes won't fit you right, you'll become an emotional eater, and your doctor will tell you you're overweight. But don't worry, you'll lose all those extra pounds and slim down again during your freshman year in college. And it'll be a really amazing achievement for you. But your sweet tooth will never fully go away.

You're going to fall in love with your black and white film photography class this year. The darkroom will be your favorite place and you're going to start to see the world a little differently thanks to your camera. You're going to spend a lot of time looking at photographers' blogs and documenting your family, your friends, and nature. This will all come in pretty handy as you become a professional photographer by the time you're 23. Photography will be a big part of your life. The pictures you take now will be therapeutic as the years go on. So take as many as you like and don't forget to print them out. 

College won't be easy for you. You'll love your major then hate your major then change your major. You'll get some C's , fail a class for the first time, and feel very inadequate because academics has always come easy for you. It's ok though because you are so much more than your grades and your GPA. You'll start college with a core group of best friends, but things will change along the way. People's priorities and personalities will cause some distance between your friendships, which will confuse you but eventually lead you to learn more about yourself. Everything will change during your 3rd year in school when you put away the excuses and start living for Jesus for real. It's going to be the best thing to ever happen to you. 

Kiyah, life doesn't always make sense for you at 15, but that's the beauty of it. It's one big on-going journey of highs and lows, joy and pain.You're self-conscious and insecure now, but I promise you're gonna grow out of it and surprise yourself at who you'll become.

Don't sweat the small stuff,  be humble, always forgive, and stay true to who God created you to be.