Dearest 16-Year Old Gellie,
I'm writing to you this letter with the hopes that you will be able to read this before you graduate high school. I know you're pretty excited to attend your senior's night, be able to dance with "him" (spoiler alert: you did in our graduation ball), get out of Bulacan and explore Manila in college (yes, you will attend a university in Manila for your Bachelor's Degree), and maybe have a boyfriend even. But before you start planning and imagining all of those wonderful things, I have some things that I just needed to tell you and I hope you will keep this in your mind and in your heart.
First of all, growing up is an ecstatic feeling but it doesn't mean that you will not fall down and scrape your knees in the process. Truth be told, I did not just scrape my knees; I have even broken a bone or two (figuratively, of course). I made some mistakes in my past and you will too; but I tell you... Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to walk, run, take risks, and fall down. If it weren't for those falling down moments, I would not have become the better person that I am today.
Don't be afraid to dream BIG. Your dreams will change from time to time because of the different circumstances you would be encountering in life; but it doesn't mean that you can never be who you want to be. Don't stop dreaming, don't stop learning, and don't stop believing. Another spoiler alert: I'm where I want to be right now, and in less than ten years, you will be here too.
Don't be afraid to fall in love but never forget your BIG DREAMS. We will forget that guy in high school, eventually (although we both know we thought we wouldn't); and we will fall in love A LOT. Let me just share you what I have learned during the course of my dating life - Love is not a unique feeling. You will even fall in love with the wrong person for you, with the person who is unhealthy for you, and for the one who is bound to only hurt you; but keep this in mind, they will all leave a mark that will teach you various imperative lessons in life. Be strong. At one point, you will give in and give "IT" up; but keep in mind that it will not define you as a woman. Nothing can ultimately define how amazing you will be but yourself. Never let any man dictate your life, and never be afraid to leave an unhealthy relationship. And once you get out of college, the dating pool will be so much better but still isn't perfect. Don't be afraid to go out there and meet new people; but never settle just because you so eagerly just want to be in a relationship. He will come. Just be open to the many possibilities and choose the man who will love you for who you are and will support your BIG DREAMS. I met someone and I'm deeply in love with him. He never stopped me from doing the things I love doing, he supported my dreams and my plans, and he was always there especially during some of the depressing moments in my life. He pushed me to do greater things and he, genuinely, believed in me. Look for him. He exists.
And lastly, never be afraid to let go. Let go of the unhealthy things in your life. Let go and set yourself free. You will be a beautiful and independent woman not because I know it but because you believed in it. I know, right now, you have these big dreams planted in your head but deep down inside of your heart, you have doubts. You are good and you know that, but you were never called to be the best nor the prettiest. Well, let it all go! Let go and leave it all in high school. Strive to be your best version everyday and know that you have a bright future ahead. Believe it, claim it, and work hard for it. I know you can because I did.
Life is not perfect but you will enjoy the ride. Your family will always be there for you (keep that in mind) and you will keep and have amazing friends who will be with you along the way. Make me proud and just continue moving forward. We have so much more to look forward to in our life and it just keeps getting better every single day.