Dear younger Brooke,
It’s been a while since I’ve written you last. Since then I have turned 22 and moved to a new city to start nursing school. I’ve experienced the awkward period of life right after college, where you feel like a baby that’s been kicked out of the womb too early. There are a few things I’ve learned recently that I wanted to share with you, so listen closely. Get on a plane. I know you had a terrible, horrible, no good, traumatic experience, but you can do it. And once you conquer that, the sky is literally the limit. Don’t compare your journey to others. I know that when you’re young, you are basically on the same track as your friends. Unfortunately, no one prepares you for when life happens and the people around you seem to be moving at a faster pace than you. I’ve been told that this is okay, and everyone’s timing and journeys are different. I’m still trying to figure this one out for myself. Work hard. At everything you do. You tend to be disappointed in anything less than perfect, but try to hold yourself to a standard of grace, not perfection. Trust me on this. Don’t stop competitive dance just because you don’t feel good enough. You will definitely regret that. You are going to hit a particularly rough patch in your life, but just keep going. It might feel like your world is crashing down, but you will get through it and be better for it. Don’t feel defined by your appearance. For a long time you will continue to be called “little Brooke” and you will be the smallest in your classes. But this doesn’t last forever, and one day you will have to stop being defined by your size. It will be a hard realization when you grow and change, so prepare yourself for it now. And most importantly, don’t wear underwear under your leotards. It’s not attractive. Now go have fun, watch Matilda, play outside, have a picnic with your Beanie Babies, pretend the floor is lava, and enjoy your childhood.