A letter to my thirteen year old self…

Baleigh Shortreed
3 min readJun 20, 2023

Dear Younger Me.

When you grow up, there will be a full decade of unexpected growth that you were not expecting at all. More specifically, from eighteen to twenty three, you will experience the worst pain types of pain and heartbreak in your life. But don’t worry, the later half of the decade, you begin what is likely a lifelong habit of purging negativity out of your life, and learning to seek solace in your craft, rather than the negative thoughts and activities that you come to know for a short while.

Overall, the biggest thing is to know this: there are many different types of love, and there are infinitely more things that are NOT love. You will go through a time of exploration to learn these things, but let me give you a head start.


When you are fifteen, you will get your first real boyfriend. Not just a little crush, or a temporary thing when you are kids adn really have no idea what love or dating mean, but an actual relationship. If I can warn you though, this relationship is NOT love. It is false love. At no point is this relationship good, nor healthy, and you will unfortunately learn this the hard way by doing things you do not want to do, and becoming a person you do not like and do not recognize. Know that this is temporary, and that you take the initiative for the first time by choosing to end the relationship. I wish I could say that that would be the end for you with this person, but it isn’t, and they try to contact us, but we persevere.


I know you already know this, and I know that it sounds cliche, but puppy love was your first and longest love. But here’s the thing, this also isn’t really the love you want or deserve either. Puppy love, is just a very intense and long held crush you have on a friend, and that is okay, because in time you will learn to let it go and find something better.


This love is an idealized kind of love. It is a long standing crush that was a “one that got away” complex hyperbolized. For us, that looked like a childhood, school crush, that developed into a one that got away, then you got together magically over one month, and it was fireworks. Mostly the reality check was that it was just sex and a hyper idealization of the love you shared. That bubble is quickly shattered when he leaves you for his ex-fiance. Enough said there.


When you are about nineteen, you experience your first real test as an adult when it comes to dating. You meet a great, kind, beautiful guy in college, and the relationship feels so prefect and right. You will laugh, have shared tastes in music, but that bubble too starts to burst around the two year mark when you both begin to realize you want very different things out of life. It’s unfortunate because you do truly have love for that person, but you realize that he would have made a better life long friend, than a partner, and you will feel like you ruined it, but you didn’t. Perhaps you will even learn to be friends again, as unlikely as that is. Only time will tell.


Regardless, all those bad relationships (and a few friends with benefits) have led you to a fantastic place between twenty three and now nearly twenty five. Our most recent relationship is stellar, especially due to the fact that you have taken your past relationships, learned from them, and applied your new communication skills to it. He is great, kind, and loving, and very, very handsome. You even get to live with him! And hopefully soon, in the semi-distant future, he will ask you to be his wife.

It’s crazy to think how much the heart, body, and mind can go through from ages fifteen to twenty five, but trust me Little Me, I wouldn’t have changed anything that happened, or how it happened, because it got us here to who we are now, with who we are with. And that to me is just perfect.



Baleigh Shortreed

Writer, Author, & Entreprenuer teaching you to advocate for yourself through written, verbal, and digital means.