Dear (20) Sixteen

Art and letter by Amy Krimm

Dear sixteen,

Sixteen was supposed to be the catalyst for the new me. When I was little, sixteen was an unforgettable milestone filled with fancy dresses, surprise parties, and cars. I think I was half expecting a fairy to swoop down, sprinkle some magic pixie dust, and shoo me away into my new self.  Who cares that I had no idea who I wanted the new me to be, I just knew that it would be great and suddenly the universe would all make sense. Sixteen was the missing puzzle piece into adulthood.

Last week, my sixteenth birthday came and went, no more significant than any other Wednesday. Sure, I had a cake, and sure, I got my promised too-fancy-to-be-given-on-any-normal-day necklace from my aunts and uncles, but I went to bed that night the same person I was on Tuesday. It was a good day, but no fairy granted me three wishes or handed me a map to find the better me. I felt lied to.

The next day, I wanted to be disappointed. But try as I might to get angry at a fairy that should have come down from the sky, I felt strangely... calm. Serene.

The inside cover of my journal
A smile broke out on my face as I heard my music playing. I felt the sudden urge to get up and dance, to pick up my journal and hold my memories to my chest and never let go. Filled with a new energy to find my map, I sat crisscrossed in the middle of my bedroom floor with indie hits from seventh grade reverberating through the bright yellow walls. My journal was the key. Days and days of feeling, forever preserved alongside the occasional pressed flower or photograph. Enough memories to last a lifetime. 2016 flashed before my eyes. I saw myself bloom and grow and then shrink, only to grow back stronger and more beautiful than before. I relived the moments that made me laugh, and the ones that made me cry.

Pressed flowers I collected on a summer vacation

Something magical hit me then. I didn’t need a fairy. I didn’t need pixie dust. I didn’t need a map or wishes or a miracle. I had me. I have been writing my map my entire life. There is no destination, no trophy at the end of the road. No applause, no, “Congratulations! You’re sixteen!” The universe still doesn’t make sense, but I think that’s ok.

“A tiny story in a tiny chapter of the tiny book that holds the tiny cell of my life. Telling myself we don’t matter, why do we matter, I shouldn’t matter, but I do. I am so small and the stars are so beautiful.” --an excerpt from my journal that night

Much love, always.