Dear 9 year old Megan,

Hello sweet, creative girl. There are so many things I want you to understand about who you are and who you will become, but I want to start with the one thing that I know you feel the most and understand the least. With this one best piece of advice from me to you, you can become all that you dream of becoming with far less fear and hiding in the shadows. Megan, I'm going to teach you the truth about who you truly are.

The truth begins with knowing that you are not the only little girl who feels awkward or confused about where you fit. I know you don't feel smart enough, athletic enough, pretty enough, little enough, or tough enough sometimes. I know you're scared of messing up and growing up... REALLY scared... and that you don't know why. I know the idea of what the future holds is enough to send you to the dark, sick-peppermint smelling sick room again, only wanting to go home, even though you really do like your teachers, you like to learn, and you want to feel better.

You see Megan, that feeling you have in your stomach that makes you want to cry for no reason and holds you back from trying new things isn't a mistake or dangerous. It's actually there to do the opposite but I'll get to that later. Not knowing how to do things and what will happen next is normal and it's okay to feel unsure. The thing is, no one really knows what you're feeling or thinking because it's hard to put into words and being only 9, you're not sure how to make sense of it all. What you need to know is that your fear is there to keep you safe and sound, but instead, it's keeping you caged up and from living this wonderful life that has been given to you. And no, there's nothing wrong with you. You're telling yourself what you're most afraid of instead of what you most want. Stop that right now!

You are brave, you are capable, and you are safe... even when you're afraid.

Right away you might have noticed that I called you creative so when I say you tell yourself scary stories about life and what's to come, I mean it. With this creativity, you have written horror movies in your mind around your fear of losing people and of leaving them too. Those scary stores are born out of an intense love for your family and the security that you are so blessed to have. You know how wonderful your parents are, how much you love them and your brothers, your grandparents, your friends, and your childhood. The idea of losing any of these people or this time of being young scares you so much that you hang on tighter and tighter to what is familiar everyday.