A Letter To My Teenage Self - Kyla


Kyla has joined the Girlvana family. She completed her TT with Ally Maz from the other side of the continent, and her strength, resilience and beauty is a reminder to us all to keep pushing, keep learning and to keep teaching. Here she shares a poignant letter to her teenage self, discovering a few home truths on the way. Thank you for being vulnerable with us and for us, Kyla. XO

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Hey you,

I can see you now, your always long straight hair, your very sun kissed skin, super freckly face and over plucked eye brows anxiously over-thinking what friends are going to make you cooler or what boy is going to save you. You are beautiful, but don’t quite understand that yet. 

I wish you could have a glimpse into the world we live in now. Turns out the universe isn’t so bad, there’s a lot of light after the darkness, and although it seems cloudy even on the sunniest days, I promise you, it gets better. 

Your laugh is contagious and free, it will eventually be used as not just a crutch but the sound of pure  happiness oh ya- happiness does exist, it’s unreal. You don’t need to be subconscious and hide your face with your hands every time you smile. Your cheekbones can hurt from smiling, and your eyes won’t always be sore, your eyelashes will drip from ocean water more than they will with tears.Your shaking hands and speeding heart still exist at times but typically because you drank too coffee, not because you are afraid. 

Cops don’t actually do house visits on the weekly, crazy I know. You no longer hate the colours red and blue. Your heart doesn’t sink every time you hear a siren, or see flashing lights, because you don’t need to wonder if they are on there way to your house. Truth be told, they have become somewhat of a comfort to you as your hear them often outside your window on  the busy streets of your downtown apartment and although you could think the worst, you think positively about how someone, somewhere is being saved. 

There will come a day when you fall in love with moments in between, the to-and-from becomes a huge part of who you are,  your monumental moments of growth often happen when your transporting from one place to another. You’ll fall in love with the journey, because it’s time for yourself, not because you want to slow down your pace to avoid going home. Time is something you no longer wish away, it’s something you wish you had more of. 

You are so much more brave than you think you are. You are one of the strongest most resilient teenagers I have ever met, I wish you knew that. Sometimes I think you are the most fearless where you are  now than you might ever have to be again. 

Turns out girls can be nice, There are some kick-ass women out there; they are a huge part of your future and you haven’t even met the best ones. You have beautiful best friends, with hearts full of love and support. Don’t let the mean girls get you down. Don’t push back, keep showing up at school for yourself, don’t let them steal your education. It’s shocking, but the girls who made you bleed inside & out, we have compassion for them now, and you will be out of those concrete walls in no time.

Nothing is forever. Nothing. Your world will shift rapidly, Ask yourself “will this matter in 5 years?” whenever you are in pain, because the answer to that question almost every time, is hell fucking no. The series of change in your world will sometimes feel like a tsunami, every, single time you make it through, just remember to breathe. You learn to handle things with ease.

You will lose some loved ones, a lot earlier than you expect and not in the order you expected too. Use this as a reminder to make the most of your time with everyone you love. “There is always tomorrow” is something to take with a grain of salt, please live your life fully. Tell the people you love that you love them every single time you have the opportunity.

I never want you to regret not sharing your truth, love or heart.  Don’t fear death. You are surrounded by so, so, so much life. Spoiler alert: so you can give your heartache a break.

Baba does live to see you graduate, not just high school, she lives to see you move, go to college, fall in love (and fall apart) she is still funny as hell, she made it to 90 and you are still her little girl. 

Mom does save herself, she does get sober. She relapses a couple of times, but in the end she chooses herself and she chooses us.  She is so fucking proud of you every day, now and forever. Even though it doesn’t always seem like it she’s doing the best she can,  you could be a little nicer some days. You should see her now, she can’t even begin to grasp how proud of her we are. She will teach you to love yourself more than anyone else and that being alone is better than being with an abusive man. You are so wise because of this and although you’ll go through some heartbreaks, you will never go through any bone breaks. 

Raiden grows up, from the tiny baby you would give your whole world to protect, to a very tall, golden hearted teenage boy, who would now give his whole world to protect you. For for the first time you see what it is like to have a real, hard-working, caring, supportive , “man of the house” around. Spend more time with him, he doesn’t stay small forever, he grew up so fast. Be proud that your undying love and sensitivity has turned him into a strong, empathetic, caring man who is going to treat some girl like gold and one day be the type of father we never had. 

Your heart is going to break more than once, every single time it’s going to feel like the end of the world and I know you’ve heard this before, but I promise you it’s not.

Your first love isn’t true love. You will not get married, have a house and babies by 27, so stop the stress and pressure, it’s not a life you want. It’s kinda funny now.

You will  leave safe and comfortable to find yourself, and you’ll be left by a partner who needs to find himself. You will call Vancouver home and feel alone and apart of something at the same time.  You’ll live by yourself (who ever thought),  you’ll learn to love the rain, you’ll cry yourself to sleep and you’ll learn your sadness makes you stronger it’s apart of the process.

Don’t waste your time envisioning the ideal relationship, you won’t want to be with the type of person you think you do now. You will throw out your mental check-list of the perfect man “on paper” and ultimately meet someone who redefined your definition of true love. He is a real, honest, kind, supportive, caring human who loves you for everything you are. He loves you on good days and bad days, he loves you in the morning and he loves you at night (even though you keep him awake with your restlessness). He loves you through your anxiety attacks, your tears and especially your laughs, he is the most patient human on the planet. He keeps you calm and yet let’s you be wild. He gives you the type of love you’ve heard about, but don’t have an example in your life of. He doesn’t give up when things get hard, he knows how important loving yourself 1st is and one day you two will be the type of parents kids like us hear about, together, in love and building a life,

So for now, my love, please focus on yourself, please learn to love your body, it’s literally perfect. Stop caring about material things, the newest jeans, the glossiest lips, and making yourself small to fit in. Be big, take up space and be kind. Dream a hell of a lot bigger, stop just surviving. Some of your wildest dreams are going to come true, things you never even thought of. Stop holding your breath, just breathe. You will see the world, and the world will see you. 

I am proud of you, you little warrior,  It all paid off, thank you for getting us here.

- written by 26 year old Kyla

Catherine Sarsfield