Dear 18-year-old Adam:

Its your senior year and there will be a-lot of obstacles, don’t give up because you will often times want to. Instead of running to Charlotte every chance you get stick around to hang out with friends from high school and build relationships with people even if your scared to. You will meet a guy and he will break you heart because he wants the best for you but don’t let it turn you bitter. There will be plenty of men in the future and this one is simply not the one for you.  Shortly after Christmas you will become homeless but it will be okay because your strong enough too handle it. During this time a lot of unfair things will happen but you are smart enough to get through any obstacle. Don’t be afraid to allow people to help you, you don’t always have to act okay when your not.

Its okay to ask for help during this time instead of doing things that will hurt you down the road. Its okay to be 18 and need money for food and going to the doctor and its important for you to have a safe space to stay. Don’t feel guilty for what you had to do to make it day to day. After graduation you will move in an apartment in Charlotte knowing you can’t afford it but you will continue to make it work as long as possible. You will meet a guy and you will get engaged in September, this will all fall apart and when it does you are going to give up and loose everything including your home and car, but it will be okay. You will meet a total stranger and get in their car and end up in Atlanta, while there you will experience hell. You can say “NO” but of course your too scared of what will happen if you say no so you lay there and allow him to rape you because your afraid if you don’t have sex with them you will not have a place to live or food to eat. This is not okay and it will effect you for a few years till you forgive yourself.

In early December you will come home and you will couch surf for a year, and you will have some of the best but also lowest times of your life during this time. But you will push through it like you always do. And jumping off the bridge over 277 is not an option and will never be one so stop being dramatic and let people know you need help because you can’t do everything by yourself.

One of the best things you will learn during this time is not only how strong you are but also how to live and use your resources and do what you have to, to keep your head above water.

Stop eating McDonalds at 3am and enough diet cokes.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a ride home if its 30degrees outside and all you have is a small coat and a pair of leather boots that have a hole in the bottom of them. You can’t afford to get sick.

Forgive mom and dad, we all make mistakes in life and both you and them could of handled the situation better.

Know its okay to be a mess at 18, you will figure it all out.

Pay your bills, it will make life easier later, credit does matter.

Try to stop smoking.

Don’t allow others to make you feel less.

Understand you are beautiful and not broken.

Stop beating yourself up and give yourself some credit!

Put the painkillers down before they kill you.

The next few years will have many ups and downs but please enjoy being young and crazy, stop being scared of the world and please don’t think everyone is out to hurt you. Please stop worrying about money and being upset that you never had a normal childhood and that you can’t always afford to do what everyone else is doing. You are only 18. You will become a beautiful person with a huge heart, you will have many road trips to Myrtle Beach and many flights to many different places. And you will make many, many, many fuckups. But they will make you, you and even more fabulous and they will be learning experiences.

Love,

Edge of 23 Adam.

PS……..Everytime you fail you will gain something. Sometimes we have to loose to win again! Love yourself and wear those shoes or pants or do your hair the way you feel beautiful. You don’t have to be what everyone wants you to be. Be you and live your life for you, that will set you free.
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