To Thine Own Self Be True.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

~Shakespeare

Please watch THIS to begin.

I am so excited to promote Dove’s Self Esteem Movement and to invite you to participate with me this weekend in the first ever Dove Self Esteem Weekend where one hour of your time can make a difference. Visit this site to find ideas for self esteem activities you can participate in over the weekend and place on a map. By joining this movement, we are being asked…what do you know now that you wish you would have known at 13?

The women and girls featured in this post are all beautiful souls I happen to know and love. Thank you to all of them…for answering an e-mail all-call and showing up the next day to be photographed.

What do I wish I could tell my 13-year old self?

To Thine Own Self Be True.

I am a woman. Someone’s daughter. A lady, a girl, a female, a what-have-you, but I join the other millions of double-x chromosomed beings in this amazing place called womanhood. And while I have walked years on this Kotex-buying, perfume-sampling, leg-shaving, tear-jerking, hand-holding, nail-painting, hair-dyeing, love-falling, soul-satisfying path, it wasn’t until I was lying on a table holding Brett’s hand watching a wand circle over my jellied belly and hearing the nurse say “Right there…yup, it’s a girl” that it hit me. This being-a-girl thing.

It’s one thing to find yourself, to know yourself, to love yourself and dwell confidently as a woman in a world that can seem to gnaw at your perceptions with expectations to be smarter, prettier, richer, funnier, faster, better, different from any marvelous thing you already are.

But, how will I raise my girls to know this? How will I teach them to believe that they are as amazing as I know them to be?

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I wish I could have known what I know now back then.

When I wore Escape perfume just because I heard the guy I liked loved it when really, it was too sweet for me and gave me an asphyxiating headache every time I wore it.

When I drew in a mole above my lip with a chocolate eyeliner because Cindy Crawford had one, and everybody thought she was pretty.

When I cried because my mom bought me knock-off Keds instead of the real ones and I thought everyone would think I wasn’t cool. At least not cool like Jorie Kutzy because she had the real blue label on hers.

When I wore long shirts that covered the butt of my jeans because I thought it made me look less fat.

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I wish I would have known that Confidence is Beautiful.

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I wish I could take that girl I was and tell her from my grown-up self…

Be yourself. You will stand out. I promise. Just be you.

In my thirties, through both the joys and hardships of my life, I feel I am finally arriving to the very comfortable place of knowing myself, accepting myself, and celebrating the intricate infrastructure of assets and flaws, talents and fears, strengths and struggles. I own them and revere them.

The women I think as most beautiful in life are always, always…the confident ones. And the traits I remember about my favorite people are never their waistline or their face symmetrics, how well they did in school or how much money their parents made. No, it’s their infectious laughter. The way they scrunch up their nose when they smile. The way they freely dance, run to hold a baby, sing off-tune, rock out Navaho jewelry at a black-tie event, compliment others, accept a compliment, look for beauty and believe in who they are without any apology. The way they proudly, beautifully swim against the current.

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Don’t quite fit in? Fantastic. Not like everyone else? Even better. Curves? Embrace them. Freckles? Love them. Braces? Own them. Laugh lines? Rock them. Take everything you are–your background, your family, your history, your story, your community, your style, your job, your dreams, your talents, your body, your humor, your sorrow, your joys and make them yours. Be ashamed of nothing. Make the most of what you have and Girl, make it look damn good…because you can.

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And when you doubt yourself, when you feel unsure, let these words fuel you: To Thine Own Self Be True.

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To Thine Own Self Be True.

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To Thine Own Self Be True.

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…and no one can ever take that away from you.

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Are there days ahead where I console the tears of my teenage girl because someone made fun of her or will I watch her try to be someone else while she figures it all out? I’m sure there are, and that kills me. But I will show them the way. I will celebrate their strengths and help them use their struggles to balance it all out, to learn something new, to feel the victory that comes when you conquer hardship, when you discover a little more amazingness about yourself.

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Not caring what people think is difficult and, as one who just wants everyone to be happy, I struggle sometimes with the choices I make and what people will think of them. But I am always happier when, in a moment of doubt, I return to that peaceful, comfortable place of To Thine Own Self Be True.

What I’m really trying to say here is, Dammit 13-Year-Old-Self, you have no idea how fabulous you are. But you are. Breathe it in. And let it out. You are fabulous. And when you are true to yourself, you will grow. No, you will soar.

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I think women are amazing. Hell, we can thrust living beings out of our bodies in one grimacing push. That, in itself, is impressive. But we have to learn to celebrate our beautiful differences…for ourselves, for our children.

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In celebrating this weekend and the power of girl’s self-esteem I’ve collaborated with jewelry designer Whitney Hill of Belkai Designs to create a piece I am so proud of. I’ve been wearing it all week and feel empowered just in doing so. I can’t wait to have my girls wear this same necklace, and to know they are learning and believing this powerful truth: To Thine Own Self Be True.

The Empower Necklace.

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10% of the profits of each necklace sold will go to Girls, Inc.–inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold. And certainly, to be true to themselves. Don’t forget, for a limited time, use the code ‘kelle’ at check-out for 10% off. A perfect gift for a teenage girl, I’m thinking. But, then again, I’m 31 and need to be reminded too.

And, we are giving away one Empower Necklace to a random commenter on this post. Tell me, what do you wish you could tell your 13-year old self? Winner will be announced Saturday evening.

Feeling blessed to know the beautiful women and girls in this post, many of which have weathered some pretty rough storms in life. And feeling blessed to share the rich world of womanhood with them, with you and to passionately accept this role of empowering the future for our girls.

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…and props to Diggy for turning me on to the Matisyahu song.

Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. THANK YOU. Just THANK YOU, so very much Kelle.

  2. gorgeous as usual. so simple yet still makes a statement.

  3. Your work just speak volumes! Look at each face ~ each person just glows under your direction.

  4. I would tell my 13 year old self that those other girls feed off of your insecurity. Hold your head high and just keep smiling and singing!

  5. You hit the nail on the head! I love that!

  6. SO TRUE. A great movement to be a part of.

  7. Oh my, there is such a long list of things I would tell my 13 year old self. The biggest one being to stand up for what is right, even when its not the popular thing to do…in the long run, you will be better because of it.

  8. Oh my gosh Kelle!
    Just got to say that i ADORE your blog, and especially your thoughts and photos of Nella♥ as I work with disabled children, and mainly with a down syndrome-boy, they are so very special to me♥♥
    All the way from north (NORWAY);love from
    Linnea♥

  9. Oh boy. What would I tell my 13 year old self? That’s a serious question. One that I haven’t thought about in so long. At 13, I moved away from all of my friends. I thought it was the end of the world. I was teased every day. For being skinny, for being short, for being a teacher’s kid, for being different. I wish I could go tell me at 13 that the pain would end and joy would begin through those same differences. I wish I could tell the 13 year old me that suicide is not the answer and to look forward to the future where I would be married to a wonderful man who fell in love with me in spite of myself. Fortunately, God place the right people in my life that were able to push me through the worst moments to get me through to the best ones.

  10. Oh! That was so beautiful.
    Very, very beautiful!

    ‘When your heart speaks, take good notes.’ ~Judith Campbell

  11. Beautiful mama… your photographs speak volumes!

  12. Once again you have me in tears. To Thine Own Self Be True, girls and women everywhere need to rock that anthem!

  13. I would tell myself that a spiral perm is never a good idea… :)

  14. I got lucky at 13 years old I received some advice from my dad of all people and it carried me through some of my darkest hours.

    you may not fit in now but someday you will, someday you will thrive just being YOU. Everyone has their prime and these girls that tease you are in theirs now. How sad is that, that your best years are in junior high. Hang on because someday you will come back with vengeance.

    At 23 I am starting my prime. I love my life, I feel beautiful, I feel powerful. My dad was right. I am so grateful for his kind words and that I was patient enough because this life, right now, is worth the wait!

    Thanks Kelle for you always inspiring words

  15. I love the way you put your thoughts in to writing, you are good my dear.

  16. I was also left in tears after reading this… I would tell my 13-year-old self that it doesn’t matter what you are wearing today or who you are eating lunch with. What matter is that you love yourself and surround yourself with people who love the ‘real’ you!

  17. I love the necklace and what it stands for! My 13 year old self would have needed to hear your parents divorce doesn’t define you, you are beautiful, and more than enough!

  18. I’d say:
    “be yourself, just as you are.
    belive in yourself, cause you know best. be belowing to others, cause everyone deserve it. be the best you can be, cause you deserve it…
    ♥ live ♥ love ♥ laugh ♥ “

  19. I would tell my 13 year old self that “you are of far greater worth than rubies, fearfully and wonderfully made, woven together in the womb, created with a plan and a purpose. You are valuable.”

  20. I wish my 13 yr old self knew that if people don’t like you for you, then they aren’t worth having as friends. Be yourself. Surround yourself with true friends who feed your soul. Stop trying to impress the “popular girls”.

  21. WOW, Kelle, I log in everyday hoping to see a new posting from you as your writing makes my day, brings a smile to my face, reminds me of all the love and goodness I need to embrace. This one though, oh this one, I needed it. Thank you for the reminder.

  22. I would tell my 13 year old self, “Be strong and walk tall!” :)

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  24. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!!!!!
    Thank you for sharing such beautiful words!

  25. I’d say, ” 13 year old self, you are only 13 once. Be your precious self that has a tomorrow and a tomorrow and a tomorrow.”
    “For after tomorrow you are a little more than 13, and a little more you.”

  26. If only I could tell my 13 year old self that Tall is beautiful. Who cares that I towered over the rest of my friends, classmates and peers. I am beautiful. I need to stand up and be proud. I need to be confident in the body that I live in. I need to celebrate my life.

    This was a beautiful post Kelle. Thank you

  27. Fantastic post Kelle, and well-timed too :) I’ve been contemplating my place in the world recently and your words have given me a measure of confidence that I simply cannot describe xxx

    To my 13-year-old-self I would say to her only one thing:
    Life can be a bumpy ride but you will find love and contentment if you can open your heart and stay true to yourself.

    Sending you much love
    Stace in Australia
    Just Life

  28. I would tell my thirteen-year-old self to buckle in for the next five years or so, because people are cruel and it’s going to hurt. But also that it will get better, eventually, and that everything they made you feel was a lie. That you were good enough the whole time. That perfection is not something you strive for, it’s something you laugh at. And that you were beautiful. Really.

  29. I wish i could tell my 13 year-old self…Not to be so afraid of not being cool. Stop worrying about what you don’t have and cherish what you do have. Money isn’t everything you will learn that soon enough but if you learn it now your one step ahead of everybody else. With the will and power to help everyone in need of advice. Your a strong girl. A fighter. A lover. A teacher. A sister. A daughter. A family member. And about all A friend.

  30. Thanks for a lovely post – one read with tears in my eyes.

    What I wish I could go back and tell myself is this – “This too shall pass and what happens each day only defines you if YOU want it to!”

  31. LOVING these words of truth! Oh, they should be printed out for all girls to read!

  32. I would tell my 13 year old self… enjoy the ride, enjoy being a child, enjoy your siblings, enjoy your parents. All too soon, this will be over. Oh, and you don’t have to be perfect. Just be you. That is enough.

  33. I would tell my 13 year old self… enjoy the ride, enjoy being a child, enjoy your siblings, enjoy your parents. All too soon, this will be over. Oh, and you don’t have to be perfect. Just be you. That is enough.

  34. dear little me,
    he’s not worth it.
    and someday, you will be free of your family and the hurt they’ve inflicted will fade and someday you will look into the eyes of your amazing husband, and the eyes of each of your stunning children and you will feel a peace and a joy words will not express and it will all be so beautiful.
    and i’d give myself a great, big, long hug.
    thank you for sharing your life, kelle. I love reading your stories.
    loves from sc
    e

  35. Crying. Again.
    I would tell my thirteen year old self: “Someday, you will love yourself most of all for your differences. Your future husband, your joy and companion and partner and love, will choose you for how unique you are. You’re beautiful and clever and important – in a different way than everyone else. And that’s a good thing. It defines you and nurtures you. Hang in there. It will be glorious.”

  36. I would tell my 13 y.o. self to not get sucked into the peer pressures of trying to be so much like the other girls. Hold my head high and BE MYSELF! Concentrate more on what makes ME happy πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for all you do, Kelle. I truly admire you!

  37. I would tell my 13 year old self, “Beautiful is not defined in one person, one picture, or one experience…beauty is determined by the soul who loves.”

  38. I would tell myself not to listen to the other girls. They say mean things because they think it helps their own self esteem, but in all reality they are crying out. Hold your head up high and flaunt who you are, who you really are.

  39. I would tell 13 year old me: The acne will clear up, the boys who called you ‘crater face’ will one day no longer matter. Don’t get wrapped up in boys who belittle you. Go to church and trust yourself and your beauty will shine through in everything you do.

  40. I would tell my 13 year old self, “Who cares what they think? Be proud of who you are, if it makes you happy and proud then go for it.”

  41. Amazing photos and post.
    I would tell my 13 year old self to think before I act and believe you can do anything if you just try.

  42. Thank you thank you thank you… I need this so much today. So much.

    I would tell my 13 year old self… “Glasses and braces at the same time are cool… no they are awesome. And that hair! You are going to love that curl one day. Just because you think that you are the ugly duckling now doesnt mean that you will never have a boyfriend, or a first kiss… who cares! Have friends that love you for you… not what they want you to be. Just be you. One day the glasses will be gone, braces too.. your first kiss will suck and so will the guy. BUt that is life. Love it up, live it up… you are a woman so roar, baby, roar… and don’t ever forget to love yourself.”

    I wish that I could have hear that… but I know it now…only 13 years later… and baby I got a lot of roaring to do!
    Thank you for this post! Your writing is an inspiration!

    Katie
    http://www.mycrackinthegrigsbylife.blogspot.com

  43. First off, this post is just what my 25 year old self needed to read!

    I would tell my 13 year old self to soak up the time you have NOW. Don’t long to fast forward your life, be present. Don’t do things that aren’t “you” in hopes that people will accept you. Just be yourself, the pretty, and the not so pretty. Just own it. Also, I would let her know “Mom is always right, no matter how much you try to fight it.” :)

  44. LOVE your blog!!! I would tell myself that “it” doesn’t matter so much… life has a way of working out and falling into place. Whatever you are meant to be… will be. And that will be okay.

  45. That headband looks awesome on you! Thanks so much!

  46. This is beautiful! The first 2 things that come to mind are:
    You will not marry any of these boys.

    Who cares if the label says ‘GAP’? Your mom took her time, love, and creativity to make you beautiful things to wear.

  47. I would tell my 13 year old self to be brave and have a voice. I would tell her to hang out with who she really wants to, not try to be cool like the “cool kids”. I would also tell her to remember to have FUN. No worries!
    I love your blog! You inspire me!

  48. Ohmygoodness, my 13 year old self would have seriously needed to read this post, to watch that video. She was tall, awkward, and living in a foreign country where she could not possibly have stood out more. I wish I could tell myself that being different is a gift, and that I *would* see it one day.

  49. I would tell my 13-year-old self that she should worry less about what others think and that not everyone can be pleased.

  50. Beautiful post and necklace!
    I would tell my 13 year old self……..just be yourself and feel the freedom and love that will follow!

  51. Love. This. Post.

    I would tell myself that being myself will get me further than any facade I try to put on.

  52. Stand up for yourself and your loved ones. Simple. as. that.

  53. Thanks Kelle, what a great reminder to me as a mom of a litte girl and as a woman.I want my daughter to know she can do anything she wants and to not let people hold her back. I am so proud of who she is at almost 3.

    I would tell my 13 year old self that life is hard and to enjoy being 13. That most of the people who are mean to you have their own problems and most of the friends you have now especially the ones who hurt you will not be in your life and are not as amazing as you are. You can do anything you put your mind to – be confident and hold your head high it will get better.

  54. What would I tell myself at 13? What I tell myself now. “Who cares.” Who cares if I parent differently than you, who cares if my kids can’t kick a ball as far as yours, who cares if I want to go to bed early and not party all night, who cares if I have a soda instead of alcohol, who cares if don’t have enough money to be trendy or drive the nicest car. Who cares what others think of you. Just love you and nothing else matters.

    ~Skylar

  55. Amazing blog Kelle! Truly inspiring! My 13-year-old self would be told: “To enjoy every second as it goes by too fast. Stop worrying about what others think, that you’re not skinny enough, not smart enough, not athletic enough, etc…just enjoy being you! You are amazing!” : )

  56. I would tell my 13 year old self….that today is a mere slice of life, and that who you are, your experiences, dreams, goals, and friends will shape this moment, but ultimately you are destined for great things-you are powerful, you will have wisdom that will guide you. You will not know who you are or where you are going until you hear the heartbeat of your daughter. You will be redefined when your unborn son is faced with challenges, and you are his advocate-his ultimate fighter. You body will change, you will have faint reminders of the transitions your body has made. You will run faster with age, and truly enjoy the adrenaline you feel-you have know idea how running will get your through some horrible times….You will find peace in your daughters big brown eyes and in yours infectious smile. To my 13 year old self…you have not seen the best yet!

  57. Oh my goodness, I love your blog!

    I would tell my self, “Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken!”

    Oh and to lay off the aqua net hairspray! :)

  58. Throwin’ in the towel here… Completely sure that you are my long-lost sister (and I’m an only child!)

    I’ve been a fan of Dove for years, not only for their lovely products but because of the message they stand behind. For the 8×10 magazine ads that show healthy women with real bodies proudly flauntin’ what they’ve got. The self-esteem ad they have running is just superb, and I love the commercials. My heart nearly lept as I thought you were actually IN the commercial. But it doesn’t matter who has camera time and who doesn’t. Empowering people like you, Kelle, are all around. 95% of us on here don’t even know you personally, but you have changed us all so, so much for the better. We mother better, live happier, take better pictures, and learn to document what makes us happy. And heck, as if I felt I didn’t already have THAT much in common with you – you go and smack a Sara Barellies song onto the post who happens to be my favorite artist. Wow, just wow!

    Anyhoo, if I had to tell my 13-year-old self something… it would probably be to embrace my body more. Stop wearing frumpy clothes and enjoy a girlie t-shirt and shorts once in awhile. Not that I regret my tomboy past, but I so wish I could’ve gone through the girlie-girl phase with lip gloss and fun hair. But hey, Junior High is tough enough!

    Love the black & white pics. Love, love, love. :)

    xoxo from California! :)

  59. As a mother of a beautiful daughter in her 13th year of life I tell her to be a good example for all to see.

  60. Wow, you seriously just had me in tears just thinking about how I felt when I was 13. If I could go back I would make sure to remind myself that I wasn’t as fat as I thought I was, and I would have given myself the courage to stand up to people who would tell me otherwise. I would have said to not dye my hair just because I thought blondes were prettier, and to love myself as much as I loved everyone else. I would have told myself that I am so special, that I will have a prince to marry me some day, instead of thinking I would never get married, because September 25 of this year, I married the best man I could have ever asked for, and well if I knew that, I wouldn’t have tried so hard to be somebody different all those years. Confidence is such a key, and I wish I could have leaned it at an earlier age. Heck, I’m still learning it today, and your post helped me to realize how far I have strayed from that. Thank you so much. God Bless you and your family.

  61. life’s too fast for constantly worrying about saying and doing the right thing. Live abundantly!!

  62. Thanks for the inspiring words and beautiful pics!

    I would tell my 13 year old self to not care when anyone thinks/says and to enjoy being young because it ends all too soon.

  63. First off…thank you for sharing so much of your life and spirit with all of us…it is truly inspiring! Secondly, I would tell my 13-year old self that loving to learn is nothing to be ashamed of…soaking in information is something to enjoy and relish in, it is not something to be teased or made fun of!

  64. You’re such an amazing writer.
    I could tell my 13 year old self so much, but number one would probably be: to embrace my super skinny, lengthy figure. Don’t feel awkward just because you’re taller than most girls- stand UP straight and be confident! (I was probably only 5’6 but I had issues being comfortable with it!)

  65. I would tell my 13 year old self to just be you! No one else can do it….and you do it oh so well!

  66. What a powerful post! I wish I could tell my 13 year old self…Be kind. You will never regret being kind even if it’s not cool at the moment.

  67. Beautiful as always!
    And yo, thirteen year old, Patty, stick with Accounting girl. You own it!! And, no, you are not a GEEK, you are a smart young woman.
    PS. I’m buying that necklace!

  68. Love it! I would tell my 13 year old self to be confident, love yourself, and your family is always there.

  69. I have two girls on the brink of that moment in life when so many unimportant things in life become all too important. THANK YOU for this post. It brings tears to my eyes. I wish I could have told my thirteen year old self all the things you just said. I will be showing this to my girls.

  70. What a beautiful post Kelle, gorgeous pictures too!

    When I was 13 I was bullied by girls in my class. It made for a very rough experience in junior high, thankfully seeing a counselor helped me get through it. I would tell my 13 year old self this: “It gets better, it really does. You will get through junior high school, in high school you will just blend in, come college you will absolutely thrive. It will be the best four years of your life and you will even meet your future husband. So stay true to who you think you are. Forget these insignificant adolescent girls, eventually you will find really cool and successful people that will appreciate you for you”.

  71. I can’t stop crying over this post! Thank you for reminding me to appreciate beauty in all its forms.

    I would tell my 13-year-old self to stop fretting about her too-big teeth, the mole on her lip and rail-thin body. I would tell her to stop wondering if anyone besides her dad would ever find her beautiful. I would tell her it’s okay she still plays with toys (even though people make fun of her) because she will still openly play with toys when she is 27!

  72. I would tell my kinda lost, kinda awkward, kinda great 13 yr old self

    – girl, you have no idea yet what’s in store for you…but it’s great, it’s so great, so hold that head high, stand up for what you believe in because even if it’s not cool now, one day it will be. You are making a difference in this world…you really really are!

    p.s. This post made me cry going…yup….yup I know so many things that I would say!
    These pics are gorgeous by the way!

  73. What a great post! i loved all your words especially….”dammit 13 year old self you have no idea how fabulous you are.”

  74. I wish I could have told my 13 year old self that people were mean to you because they were insecure about yourself. That you did have friends, they may not have been the most popular girls in the school, or the prettiest, but they were the truest. And in life, it’s the truest friends that matter – regardless of colour, weight, height, money or all of the other things that aren’t truly important.

    And that because you cared for those people, it didn’t make you a loser, it made you amazing.

  75. I would tell myself that it is okay to be tall…really tall! Six foot tall. Tall is sexy, beautiful and who I am! I rock it now…I tried to hide it then! Which was pretty hard to hide! :)

    Love this post!

  76. I’d tell my 13 year old self to read Kelle’s post. πŸ˜‰

  77. I would tell myself to stop being afraid, you are going to grow up to be awesome.

  78. At 13 I wore big, round glasses and had shiny, metal braces…I wish I could tell my 13-year old self that even though I was awkward I was someone’s daughter, sister, friend and that I was loved. I actually met my husband at 13 and he said I was ebven pretty back then, geeky, but pretty!

  79. I would tell 13-year-old me that 5’8″ wasn’t that tall, and that the boys would catch up sooner than I thought…and that standing up tall was sexier than hunching trying to be shorter… :)

  80. I would tell my 13 year old self to never give up because years later I am the proud mommy of a gorgeous 15 months old daughter.

  81. I would tell my 13-year-old self that it gets better, and the BEST is yet to come!!

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog!!

  82. That was beautiful kelle. I found myself tearing up at some parts (and tearing up NOW, too). Just because we get older, doesn’t mean that we don’t get discouraged or sometimes forget that no matter what anyone tells us, we are all beautiful rock stars.

    Someting I wish I could tell my 13 year old self? That period, up until about 16-ish, was very rough for me. I had great moments, and I had a lot of rough moments, too. I remember being in the group of “weirdo’s” because I felt like I was weird, like I didn’t belong, and I have since realized that is a bunch of crap. We all belong somewhere. I am not weird, I am unique. I am not ugly, I am beautiful for my features. I am not fat, I am rocking my curves.

    I would tell my 13 year old self to just keep going girl. Things will get so much better. All these fears and worries you have? They will dissolve and you will start to figure out who you are. Let those nasty haters comments roll off your back, and laugh louder in return, to show them you aren’t affected. I wouldn’t tell myself to change anything, because I like who I am now, but I would gladly go back and tell myself it all gets better.

    I find myself more wonderful, beautiful, smarter, and just overall happier because I have embraced my flaws, my weaknesses, my strengths, and my personality traits. I have bundled them all up to create ME.

    We are all beautiful, and I think more people need to realize how wonderful they are just for being themselves. <3

  83. Having 2 little girls myself, I strive to teach them that they are beautiful no matter what. Inside and outside, but somehow we all hit a point in our life where we compare ourselves to others. I would tell my 13 year old self, not to compare myself to others that I am beautiful enough on my own!

  84. Very wonderfully written and truly inspiring.. =D

    Sheesh! What wouldn’t I tell my 13 year old self?! =D

    I’d say “Hey 13 year old self! Just because by those girls standards, you’re lacking in the chest area doesn’t mean that you’re lacking in every single aspect of your life! You are pretty dope inside and out! Trust me!”

  85. I would tell my 13 year old self that the pain won’t last forever and I became stronger because of it. Oh, and to forgive much, much sooner than later. Holding on to that anger will cause you to waste too much precious time.

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  87. what a beautiful post Kelle! I would tell my 13 year old self to be confident, and to stick by your morals, values and beliefs because no one can take those things from you. And also to stand up straight and smile-nothing is more beautiful than that!

  88. I would tell my 13 yr old self that it’s ok that Amanda told everyone that you stuff your bra…because it wasn’t true and you can let it go…and don’t attack her in math class. Life will turn out so great and this is just a moment in time. There will be so many GReAT moments…don’t worry.

  89. I would tell my 13 year old self to stop and enjoy. Stop worrying. Life is about living!

  90. At 13, I remember being pretty content and happy to be myself. It was probably two years later when I started beating myself up. So, I would say, “Keep being true to you. When you start to judge yourself based on others, try to push through it and stay true. I love you.”

  91. What would I tell my 13 year old self?
    You are amazing. Now show the world.

  92. Kelle, I love your blog. You inspire me everyday to cherish the little things. Thank you for sharing yourself and your life with us. 13 year old self..it will all work out, you will be ok.

  93. I would tell my 13 year old self that IT GETS BETTER. That those girls you are dying to be friends with aren’t really very nice anyways. That you’ll grow in to your body and learn how to deal with curly hair. That YOU ARE NOT FAT. That boys are not that important. And finally, but most importantly, I would tell my 13 year old self — your mother was right. About everything.

  94. I LOVE this post. It will be printed off and read and re-read as I walk my girls through their
    “13-year-old selves”. What I wish I could have told myself… it’s not as bad as you think and it will be so much better. I have to remind myself of that at times now, but now I actually hear it! Thank you!

  95. That sorrow and loss is an inescapable part of life and that it is survivable.

  96. I would tell my 13 year old self that don’t let your disability define you (I have cerebral palsy) you can do ANYTHING you put your mind too and don’t let anyone else tell you differently.

    This is my favorite post.

  97. Amazing post, thank you so much. I really needed to hear it.

    If I could tell my 13 year old self something it would be to take the leaps because you will forever regret not giving it a try for fear of failure. It stings a little less to know that you at least tried even if you failed than to never have tried at all.

  98. this too shall pass. :)

  99. LOVE this post, Kelle.

    I would tell my 13 year old self…Focus on the things and the activities and the people that make YOU happy and give YOU fulfillment. Don’t waste your energy trying to meet anyone else’s definition of success.

  100. Wow. Thanks!

    I would tell my 13 year old self so many things. But, what I really wish someone had told me is
    You. Are. Beautiful. Just. Like. You. Are.

  101. I wish my 13 year old self knew:

    That life isn’t black and white and that she must embrace the grey in life.

    Despite what the mirror said, SHE IS BEAUTIFUL.

    Her hair will never be curly and she will one day cut it all off and rock straight, short hair.

    Life only gets better…

  102. I’d totally tell my 13 year old self that there are and will be people in this world that will love you unconditionally. That you’ll create a family with two beautiful children (so far) and a husband that will show you more love that you could ever know. To hang in there!!

    Jen
    Indy

  103. I would say: Someone will love you.
    You are good enough, you ARE enough.

  104. Pushing through the emotion you stirred in me again… I would say to my 13 yr old self, “that BIG lips are beautiful and years from now people will pay big money to have lips just like yours!” also I would let her know that you are a great friend to all people.. stay that way!~

  105. Pushing through the emotion you stirred in me again… I would say to my 13 yr old self, “that BIG lips are beautiful and years from now people will pay big money to have lips just like yours!” also I would let her know that you are a great friend to all people.. stay that way!~

  106. tears….

    touche.

  107. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self to be confident in who you are and to be yourself instead of trying to please the “cool” kids. I would tell her that she is going to be an amazing daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother!! Don’t sweat the small stuff baby!!

  108. I would tell my 13 year old self that a boy can break your heart, but shouldn’t break your spirit.

  109. Don’t feel so lost – you do already know who you are, don’t let the fact that you don’t see yourself reflected back in your environment make you think you aren’t there.

  110. #1 – DON’T perm just your bangs.
    #2 – you really, truly, CAN be, or, accomplish, anything you want to. Don’t take no for an answer!

  111. I would tell my 13 year old self that all these doubts and insecurities will pay off in end with strength and loads of self-will and being ok-ness. And that guy you met in english class will turn out to be your best friend 15 years later and he will reflect on your friendship as the one solid thing in his whole life. and that is worth all those odd years of feeling like you didn’t fit in.

    Thanks Kelle!

  112. I would tell my younger self what I tell my two teenage daughters…Don’t give away your power. Don’t let someone take something from you that you don’t want to give, don’t let someone make you feel some way that you don’t want to feel, don’t let someone push you to do something you don’t want to do. We all have a power within us that tells our heart and soul what is right for each of us…don’t give this power away.

    Maybe….it’s just another way of saying – To Thine Own Self Be True!

  113. Absolutely beautiful words. Absolutely love, love this Sara Bareilles song…

    To my 13 year old self:
    1)Savor every single moment.
    2)Be grateful for roads less traveled– the bumpier they are?…usually the greatest payoff
    3)Be confident because you love and are loved.

    Actually…kinda all still applies, huh?

    You get it, Kelle. You so get it. A very beautiful soul indeed.

    xo

  114. Kelle! Thank you so much for writing about this…working together to increase self-esteem is something we all need to do.

    I heard the Matisyahu song like a year ago and loved it too!

    I would have told my 13 year old self, don’t believe the people who try to belittle you…you are beautiful. Don’t hate yourself so much, you have so much to offer the world. You are not a mistake, you are not a screw up, you are beautiful.

  115. Beautiful! Just, beautiful!

    My niece just turned 13, and I now plan to get this necklace to give to her for Christmas along with a letter to encourage her to be true to herself.

  116. I wouldn’t tell my 13 year old self anything, but I would give her a huge hug…something she desperately needed, and was never given. I love you, 13 Year Old Krystina <3

  117. I know exactly what I would tell my 13 year old self!! “Don’t listen to that girl who you think is your best friend. Yes you have been friends since birth-but she is not good for you–she says she is better than you, smarter than you, prettier than you, richer that you, more popular than you etc—she is wrong!!! Go out and find new friends, ones that cherish and appreciate you–leave her behind. That is what I would tell 13 year old me—!!!

  118. That your peers don’t determine your worth. People can be mean, petty even and you are so much better than they think. When they tease you about your hair, be grateful its the worst thing they could find about you to pick on. Let the words roll off your back…. they are just that..words. Life is so much better and bigger beyond 13.

  119. What would I tell my 13 year old self? Don’t sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t matter what you wear or what other people think–chances are no one will remember when you are 30!!! Just kick back and enjoy life because you will never be 13 again!

  120. Okay, 13 year old me–a couple things. More is not always better. Applies eyeliner as well as life. A few core friends will always matter more than the entire 8th grade. And finally, be grateful that you are not peaking socially right now. Your time is coming, sister. Good things. Seriously–good things.

  121. Thank you! This is beautiful and as women of all ages we all need to be reminded.

    I’d tell my 13 year old self: do the right thing always, don’t doubt your gut instinct, help the underdog.

    That and saving your allowance for a month to buy one shirt is totally crazy!

  122. beautiful post and necklace.. i am assuming the photographs in the charms are yours?

    i would tell my 13-year-old freckled, brace-faced self: although many responsibilities lay heavily in your lap, you are just a young lady growing in to a beautiful woman. there are things that you couldn’t have done to change the outcome of certain events because they weren’t your fault and even though it’s very hard to understand now, there really is a reason for everything. you may not always know the ‘why’ in life, but your path is destined to lead you to the ‘where’.

    and thank you kelle, i much needed that.. some cries are good ones.

  123. This is really hard for me.. I feel like I don’t even know what to say to my 13 year old self.. I know what I would say to my one day 13 year old daughter but to myself I feels tears coming on like Im vulnerable even though I know the future is good..

    maybe I feel like what I want to tell my 13 year old self I never heard from someone and it hurts..

    Dear sweet 13: you are and will be loved, you are perfect just the way you are even your teeth that never seem to look right, you will be the most amazing mother to this beautiful little girl, trust me the future is good, oh sweet 13 you are so loved and you don’t even know..

  124. Don’t be afraid to study what interests you and you are good at in college.

  125. I would tell my 13 year old self (even though a 13 year old would never listen to an old 34 year old anyway *rolleyes* like, whadda we know about being 13 lol)
    …I would say look around, that boy isn’t really ‘breaking’ your heart…those mean girls are not better then you they lack the self-esteem to be ok with themselves…and I would scream “You ARE beautiful, you ARE worth it” and give me a big, lift you off the ground hug…love you/me 13 year old shannon <3

  126. I’d tell myself to chill- the hard days get easier. You learn to make them easier, then they go away & you get a new, different kind of hard day, but you can see the beauty in the struggle because it changes.

  127. I’d tell that 13-year-old to not roll her eyes. She’s not going to have Mom long enough, and Mom hates it when she rolls her eyes and makes “that noise” that accompanies.

    Actually, come to think of it, I wouldn’t tell her that. She’d just roll her eyes.

    Instead, I’d just say to hug Mom once for me.

  128. Love this post Kelle…so much so that I’ve re-read it three times. You always have such an amazing way with words. Thank you for being you!

    I would tell my 13 year old self that there is so much more to life than having the cutest boyfriend and being the prettiest in the class. Too many thoughts were wasted wondering why I couldn’t get a boyfriend in jr high. Today I am married the gorgeous man I met 4.5 years ago in the airport security line that loves me just the way I am.

  129. I soo needed this post today, its crazy how life works!
    I was home this summer at a pool I use to go to all the time as a teenager and I wrote on my facebook status. Its amazing how much more confidence I have at 31 than at 13, even after a child. The things I will teach my daughter someday if I have one. Confidence is beautiful and noone can take it away!

  130. Beautiful! I would tell my 13 year old self to take my little sister everywhere with me. Be her best friend even though there are many years seperating us. :)

  131. i wish that my thirteen year old self could have known then what an absolutely fabulous ride this life would be. a beautiful man, 2 beautiful kids, a beautiful life for sure… and let me tell you, it’s a good one.

  132. This post…reaffirmed what I’ve been feeling as my twenties come to an end. CONFIDENCE and SELF-ACCEPTANCE are where it’s at. The last time I went clothes shopping I kept thinking–my God–I love my body! I appreciate it so much! So much more than my fifteen year old self ever did, and that was almost fifteen years ago now.

    I would tell my thirteen year old self–LISTEN UP CHICK, you are going to do many great things. Feel how powerful you are and coast on that emotion every day! Develop your inner voice and learn from it. You are GOOD to the core.

    I already tell these things to my 14 month old daughter. She NEEDS to hear them and know them like she knows her name.

    Thanks, Kelle, for all that you do!

  133. AMAZING! I would tell my 13 yr old self to slow down, enjoy my family more and most importantly, that life only gets better!

  134. You covered so many bases in your post and I’ll concur with the keds thought! As I get older, I start to tune out any teenager talk of “but she has this or that…” and I totally forget that that teenage girl REALLY cares about what people think of them. So, I would say to my 13 year old self: LISTEN TO YOURSELF AND DO WHAT YOU LOVE. and then, SHARE that with those around you. Love others and don’t worry about what they think of you!

  135. I would tell my 13 year old self that college will be great and to love even when it hurts because it is worth it

  136. I wish I knew as my 13 year old self that everything was going to be okay. I knew, back then, that I was going to go through some pretty rough seas but I had no idea I was going to sail right through them and in the end have my daughter. I did it. I wish I knew then.

  137. I would tell my 13 old self – that I MATTER!

  138. Hey 13 year old Emily,
    Hips and boobs don’t matter, one day people will be jealous of how skinny you are AND you’ll find a man that will love you for exactly who you are. And the amazingly cute daughter and son you have, won’t care about either, just that you love them!
    Love,
    Your 30 year old, smarter, self

  139. To my 13 year old self- You are now becoming who you will soon be.

  140. i wish i could tell my 13 year old self, that none of the silly arguments and the days when all of your best friends are mad at you wont matter in 10 years, or even in 5. The best day of your life hasnt happened yet, and keep on keepin on.

  141. To my 13 year old self….don’t be in a rush to grow up!!

  142. After reading this 3 times, sharing it on my Facebook page (with props to AMAZING YOU of course) & replaying that Matisyahu song..I still cry with an overpowering sense of love for everyone…especially WOMEN! One of my favorite sayings ever has always been “girls should stick together.” AWESOME post, Kelle! I would tell my 13 year old self to “respect, voice & rock out your opinions and views on things. Don’t mold yourself to the group of people you happen to be surrounding yourself with. BE YOURSELF!” Thanks, Kelle!

  143. The one thing I would tell my 13 year old self is the same thing I tell my 13 year old daughter…

    You will only be this age once, you will only travel this road once, you can only embrace these experiences once. So stand tall, look each adventure in the eye and never forget who YOU are. You don’t look like everyone else but why is that important? Embrace being different because we are all different. Dress crazy, act silly and love being a GIRL! Girls rule!!

  144. Beautiful, beautiful post! As a mom of twin girls, I am already thinking about how I can make them feel good about themselves.
    What do I wish I could tell my 13-year old self? I wish I could tell her that your life will work out exactly the way that it’s supposed to and no amount of crying or worrying will change that. You are beautiful, strong, and unbelievable just the way you are. That is what I wish I could have heard all of the people who loved me telling me.
    Thanks, Kelle. You’re amazing!
    Kim

  145. There are so many things I wish I could tell myself at 13, but I think the thing I needed to hear the most was that I was loved. My biological parents were 16 when they got pregnant with me and they gave me up for adoption. At 13 I was just starting to truly understand what that meant and many people I went to school with were very mean about it. They would tell me that my parents gave me up because they didn’t love me and that I was a mistake that no one wanted. I have learned that really what they did was such an unselfish gift that could only have been out of love and I could not ask for a better family now. And being adopted has taught me that I have a wonderful gift to help people I have an opportunity to reach out to other people like me who at some point have felt abandoned and not wanted. But those feelings are so untrue and temporary. Its only the feelings of a small minded 13 year old who doesn’t truly understand gifts and opportunites.

  146. If I could go back to my 13year old self. I would love to tell myself that life will get better, I will be loved. One day I will have a wonderful family.
    I would say go out explore the world, creativity, find yourself… because when you do, your beautiful!

  147. I wish I could tell my 13-year-old self to quit scanning the room for negative reactions every time I opened my mouth. I’m smart, I’m funny, I don’t need approval.

  148. Slow down!! There is no need to rush through growing up. It is a process to be enjoyed and savored.

  149. this post brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for the reminder. I would tell my 13 yr old self that just because you don’t know as much as the ‘math team kids’ doesn’t mean your stupid in everything else.

  150. I would tell my 13 year old self that you might feel lost now, you might not know who you are, but you will figure it out. People may not get you, and you might feel alone at times, but there are people out there who will. Just be yourself, and it will take you right where you are supposed to be. And it will be great!

  151. ,,,”self”…live each day as though it’s your last and never ever forget to count your blessings,,,

  152. I would tell my 13 year old self to worry less and laugh more. EmbraceYOU, curls and all. And be happy, life is far too short to not love as much as possible.

  153. kelle-
    thanks so much. all this week i have been feeling alone and lost and confused-all the dark and sad emotions while being surrounded by people who i know love me. how is that? because i am insecure in who i am and who i want to be. this just made me feel so much better about being loud,crazy, zany, and a huge “life-sucker!”
    thanks for inspiring and encouraging one frail 16 year old who has become really good at hiding behind a mask.

  154. i would tell my 13-year-old self to just calm down, don’t sweat the small stuff…and that things you see as trivial will not be important 5 years from now, 10 years from now.

  155. I would tell my thirteen year old self- you don’t have to “try” to be perfect; you are wonderful, beautiful and strong just the way you are. And, you are loved.

  156. I would tell my thirteen year old self- you don’t have to “try” to be perfect; you are wonderful, beautiful and strong just the way you are. And, you are loved.

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  158. Goosebumps from reading your post …..

    What I would tell my 13 year old self:
    1. Everything you said in your blog entry
    2. Don’t be afraid to be different, be proud of it
    3. Don’t ever, ever, dim your own light so that others won’t feel intimidated around you

    Love

    A.

  159. Beautiful, just beautiful.

    I wish I could have told my 13 year old self, to be brave for the years that were to come and don’t loose your self or loose sight of what is truly important. I wish I could have seen then that family and love are the only things that matter in life.

    It is bravery and confidence I want my daughter to have. I want her to know and never doubt the love we have for her. I want her to know how beautiful and how amazing she is.

    thank you for your kind words, they are a blessing today!

  160. I LOVE this Kels! I have chills and tears and a smile all at the same time!
    13 year old self… Who cares you have no boobs, you’re not filling out that bra, whatever! Bras suck! One day, you will find a killer black dress at Macy’s and you will be so thankful because- you can’t wear a bra with it anyway πŸ˜‰

  161. I actually have a 13 year old daughter, as well as two others. I would tell them to be gentle with themselves. I would tell my young self the same thing.

  162. My little girl will be turning 13 this spring… My hope is that I continue to raise a very confident young woman.

  163. I would tell my thirteen year old self to stop caring what others think and rock out in my OWN style, because that’s when dreams really start coming true.

  164. I would tell my 13 year old self, ‘You are clothed in strength and dignity! Nobody can take your security away from you because God gave it to you – it’s yours!”

    Judy

  165. I love your blog Kelle every post is amazing (one day I dream my little blog will be this grand!) Anyway, what I would tell my 13yr old self. That it really does get better, that those really mean ‘cool’ kids, that constantly bullied me into highschool from primary were not that great & I should’ve been happier with myself and enjoyed myself more at school. I wish I had, school was the one thing about my younger life (I am only 22 now LOL) I wish I had could’ve changed or just had more confidence as I really got bullied quiet bad (I was pretty small & a little smart; apparently bigger slightly less intelligent people hate that?)…
    I enjoyed my childhood outside of school (we lived on a lovely big farm)… Another reason I got bullied I went to a ‘city school’ but lived on a farm & loved animals. Fair to say school sucked, but it got better. Those ‘bullies’ are my ‘friends’ on Facebook now & their lives aren’t that great. I can gladly say I feel a little superior to them, but wish them nothing but good.
    I just wish I could go back & say ‘screw them, you are BINDY, you are great. In a few years highschool is over, be confident and happy with yourself… Because one day you’ll be fabulous, love yourself, because if you can’t love you how can you expect others too!?’.

    Thanks Kelle!

    <3
    B. x

  166. Beautful post. Beautiful pictures. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self to embrace being smart instead of cringing at the jabs of “Teacher’s Pet.” Smart women change the world.

  167. never grow up! :) enjoy your childhood!

  168. Kelle, You’re Awesome! Or awesomer as my 4 year old would say. I would tell my daughter that as long as you are smiling you are beautiful. Clothes, make-up, hair do’s don’t make the girl. Smiles do!

  169. Today, this was exactly what I needed to hear. Girls are so constantly judging themselves, trying to measure up to someone elses’ perception of beauty and perfection when in reality beauty is just being themselves. I forgot that today, so thank you Kelle.

    To reply to your question, I would tell my 13 year old self that loving Jesus is cool, and following him will change your life in the best way. And also, be who you are because you are the only thing you know how to be.

  170. I would tell my 13-year-old self to spend more time with my family…and to put away my cell phone!

  171. i would tell my 13 year old self that you define what beautiful is, not anyone else.

  172. I would tell my 13 year old self that her parents are really not as uncool as she may believe and that when it comes push to shove all you really need is your family

  173. Aww, sigh. so true. I worry all the time that i won’t instill enough of this for aurora. My 3 best friends are my mentors and rocks, i would do anything for them. I try constantly to let them know that and still feel like they deserve more. thanks so much. I am woman, hear me roarrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  174. Wow. This might be your best post yet.

    “The women I think as most beautiful in life are always, always…the confident ones. And the traits I remember about my favorite people are never their waistline or their face symmetrics, how well they did in school or how much money their parents made. No, it’s their infectious laughter. The way they scrunch up their nose when they smile. The way they freely dance, run to hold a baby, sing off-tune, rock out Navaho jewelry at a black-tie event, compliment others, accept a compliment, look for beauty and believe in who they are without any apology. The way they proudly, beautifully swim against the current.”

    What would I tell MY 13-year old self? To shine through with confidence. Cuz in another 17 years, you’ll be 30 and you will find a woman in you that you never knew was there all along. And you will love that woman. With all her confidence and strength.

  175. I wish someone had told me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made… that I have value, worth and significance… that I am loved by God.
    Just the way I am.

  176. To my 13 year old self, I’d say size is only a number. Whether it’s 6 or 26, we’re still all just souls in a vessel. Oh and by the way, you’re NOT fat 13 year old self.

  177. I would tell my 13-year-old self that the best is yet to come. That life doesn’t become all about boys and homework, and cliques..It becomes about the beautiful daughter I have, the wonderful husband who would do all he can for our family, and the friends I have made later on who I can cherish for a lifetime. I would also tell myself that there is a big, big world out there and that nothing can stop you from making a difference.

  178. I would tell my 13 year old self to do what makes me happy, not what I think other people want me to do. Who am I kidding, I need to tell my 30 year old self that often – I forget this very basic concept far too frequently.

  179. 13 year old self: you WILL find a dead sexy boyfriend who worships you back, and you will marry him and live happily ever after. Chill out, and enjoy the ride…!

  180. I just have to say that i love your blog and check it every day! this is my support group. I also have to say we must be kindred spirits; I swear that every time you put on a new song its always something that I have been listening to on repeat for days. Ex:Home by Edward Sharpe has been on repeat all summer, as well as Dog Days of Summer, and One Day by Matsuya. Im just saying, girl youve got some excellent taste in music! :)

    I would tell my 13 year old self the same thing I’m still trying to learn today YOU CAN BE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE! we are all powerful, beautiful people and are difference makes us more alike than we think!

    Keep blogging because I dont know where I would be without my fix!

  181. I would just give me a hug and say “you’ll get through this, I promise”.

    The best thing? I have 8 and 12 year old daughters and I get to give THEM all my best advice. I get to tell them that they are beautiful, strong and wonderful and that their unique combinations of personality and spirit will do amazing things for this world and the people blessed to meet them.

    I’d tell the 13 year old me “you are destined for so much love”. And it’s true.

  182. I would tell my 13 year old self to love myself for every little difference that I have. I would have told myself to wear heels and be proud of being tall, instead of fearing that I would be taller than the boys! I would laugh, smile, dance, praise God, and be happy to be a woman!

  183. One word for you = INSPIRING

    When my precious little girl with 47 chromosomes turns 13 I will tell her each and every day how beautiful she is inside and out. What an tremendous little soul she has and to continue gracing us with her presence. With all the love in the world we love you Baeleigh Quinn.

  184. I loved your quote a few posts back about don’t try to figure out who you are, aspire to who you want to be. I would tell myself that again at 13. You can be anything you want to be.

  185. that was truly beautiful. i loved it for me ~ wife, mother of three little ladies, daughter, sister, teacher, and most importantly a pretty freaking strong woman. made me teary….truly perfect!

  186. Such a beautiful post. What I would tell my 13 year old self… stop worrying so much about what others think and ENJOY yourself!

  187. I’m going to have my 12 year old read this post!
    What would I say to my 13 year old self? Worry less. Every second of worry is a second wasted.

  188. 13 year old self…. your parents love you and are trying their best to do everything for you and because of you. Show them love. Show yourself love, show others. You are awesome, don’t let anyone make you hide that. Shine on girl!

  189. dear 13 year old self;

    it is okay to be organized and get your projects done efficiently and well. do not be ashamed. and it is okay to get involved and help people!.. this does NOT make you a ‘teacher’s pet’ or a ‘suck up’. be courageous! these are your talents and you are blessed.. they are going to serve you well in the real world one day!

    much love,
    future self. xoxo.

  190. I would tell my 13 year old self…
    Fake it!! No one will ever know you are dying of embarrassment on the inside, just fake that confidence and one day it will be real.

  191. Great post Kelle – super inspiring! I think due to a bit of a rough childhood and other general rubbish I had to work out pretty quickly that I had to love myself because no one else would. I know I don’t look perfect but I don’t care – I’m happy and that’s what’s important.

    If I could tell my 13 year old self anything I’d tell her that I love her and to stop writing that awful poetry and listening to Nirvana.

    Stace x

  192. There are so many things that I would tell my 13 year-old self. At that age I thought my mom was hard and didn’t understand what it was like being a teenager. I would go back and tell myself to listen to her that she knew what she was talking about. She knew that life was so much more then the piddly things that I would get worked up over. She knew and truly understood the bigger picture. I would tell my 13 year-old self to listen to Mom with my head and my heart. My mom wasn’t hard, she’d just been there before and knew that you come out stronger on the other side.

  193. Oh my gosh, this post is beautiful. Just beautiful. I would tell my 13yr old self that freckles are beautiful…and boys aren’t everything. :) Hard to narrow it down…

  194. loved this post today!
    I would tell my 13 year old self..that I have so much going for me and not to worry so much. Love yourself and try to not let what other people think bother you. <3

  195. I would tell my thirteen year old self that the friends who really would have mattered and cared back then were the ones I teased and made fun of. And that amazingly, thirteen year olds grow up and learn to love and forgive each other forging friendships they never imagined at thirteen.

  196. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self that it doesn’t matter if you’re not part of the ‘cool’ group. You are special, and talented and worthy

  197. Hi Kelle! I’ve been following your blog for awhile now and you have inspired me so much. I’m not leaving a comment to win the necklace, but to ask your permission to use your words to help me write a letter to my 15 year old daughter. The things you have written in your blog today are very much the lessons I would love to convey to Megan. Thank you, Debbie (Australia)

  198. Two years ago, I would’ve tell my 13-year-old self to prepare for the pettiness girls bring on. If they hate you for no reason, SO WHAT! So be it! Let them! Just be yourself, and the ones who come around to love you, and cherrish time with you, are the ones to keep around. I would’ve told myself to watch out for backstabbers, that your REAL friends are going to stick around, and if you can only count them on one hand, then so what! My grandpa and my mom have told me since I was little, it doesn’t matter the amount of friends you have, even if you can only count them on one hand, its better than having 10000 who might not always care as much for you. I have learned all this from experience and I would have portrayed myself as a stronger woman, and embrace who I am no matter who thinks what.

  199. What a empowering blog entry Kelle! Your words are amazing! There are days when reading your blog puts me in a better mood.

    I wish that I could tell my 13 year old self that it is what is inside that counts. This body will do some amazing things and don’t forget that. Don’t listen do what other people say about you. You are an amazing person.

  200. What a empowering blog entry Kelle! Your words are amazing! There are days when reading your blog puts me in a better mood.

    I wish that I could tell my 13 year old self that it is what is inside that counts. This body will do some amazing things and don’t forget that. Don’t listen do what other people say about you. You are an amazing person.

  201. Kelle, just when I don’t think your posts couldn’t possibly get any better, they do! I would tell my 13 year old self two things: to enjoy my first two years of college life more, (I was stuck up a boys butt), and that she shouldn’t be ashamed of her tender heart…it will make a difference in the lives of many one day! You have inspired me to think positive a lot more than I have been lately…I needed that! Thank you!
    Paula :)

  202. First off, THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! My face is covered in tears, its been a rough day. I made one tough decision today, one long coming and one very necessary for myself and my family. To thine own self be true, right? I NEEDED this post today. Because in the end, you are all you have. You have to be true to yourself. What would I tell my 13 year old self? That everything has a way of working out in the end. To live my life fully, to have fun and let go of a great many things. The things that don’t really matter.

    Because then, I didn’t know what I was capable of, and that someday I would be blessed with 2 beautiful children (the best things I’ve ever done in my life), and fantastic hubby and one crazy pug. And in the end, I am true to myself- and they’re the only things that truly matter. : )

    THANK YOU KELLE! Girl, you don’t know how much this post means to me!!! YOU rock!

  203. Beautiful post, Kelle!!

    I would tell my 13 year old self, it’s more important that you like yourself than others.

  204. I would tell my 13-year old self that the people who are mean in middle school are the people who will be mean in high school, and are the people who will be mean in college, and even into adulthood. Don’t let them determine how you feel about yourself.

  205. Our 13-year-old daughter came to us through the gift of adoption 9 years ago. She has muscular dystrophy and, being 13, worries about the ways she isn’t able to do the things her friends can do. I would tell her that she is beautiful just the way she is and she doesn’t have to pretend she’s someone else. She should be true to herself.

  206. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self that I will make it out of the crud and turmoil and confusion with grace, strength and a damn good head on my shoulders. No more, no less.

  207. I would tell my 13 year old self that its OK to just TRY. Its OK to fail. If you fail, give a shout of anger, its OK to be mad, its just not OK to hurt people because of it. Then stand up, brush yourself off and move on to the next thing.

  208. Love all the words. So simple but true. Love fo;;owering your blog.

  209. I would tell my 13 year old self, don’t worry about what others think about you, especially with the boys. You will marry your best friend. He will be amazing and will treat you amazing. You will overcome many obstacles over the next couple years and will come out even stronger on the other side.

  210. My daughter is 19…I told her at 13 and still tell her at 19…this too shall pass. When she is struggling with life, friends, boys, school, athletics, whatever…this too shall pass and when it does you will wonder why you worried so.
    Love the photos!

  211. I would tell my five foot ten thirteen year old self put your shoulders back and don’t be afraid to stick your flat chest out!

  212. I would tell my 13 year old self to know that your mom loves you in spite of herself and is ALWAYS right as much as you’ll hate to admit it. And to make sure to hang on to those really good girlfriends instead of ditching them for a boy…any boy. One day you’ll find a guy who loves you and appreciates your great friendships.

    Thank you for your great words always Kelle!

  213. Thirteen girls around the world should read this post. It’s powerful.

    I would put my arm around that thirteen year old little girl and tell her that she CAN be anything that she wants to be in this life. More than that, I’d show her how.♥

  214. A beautiful post. As the mother of young daughters, I worry often about the teen years, the cruelty of others, the pressures. I can only hope that I can give my girls (as I strive to every day), what I am so lucky to have received from my own parents – the deep, abiding knowledge that I am loved, that I have a safe home and a loving family – the knowledge that those things, the things that truly matter, will win the day over mean girls, designer clothes, boys, etc. And, I would tell my 13 year old self (as I will tell my own girls), exactly what my Mom and Dad told my husband when he asked to propose to me – take care of her for “she is much loved.”

  215. A beautiful post. As the mother of young daughters, I worry often about the teen years, the cruelty of others, the pressures. I can only hope that I can give my girls (as I strive to every day), what I am so lucky to have received from my own parents – the deep, abiding knowledge that I am loved, that I have a safe home and a loving family – the knowledge that those things, the things that truly matter, will win the day over mean girls, designer clothes, boys, etc. And, I would tell my 13 year old self (as I will tell my own girls), exactly what my Mom and Dad told my husband when he asked to propose to me – take care of her for “she is much loved.”

  216. Dear 13yo me…You are beautiful, clever and loving. Don’t ever lose that and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You will look back on this time in years to come and remember that while there were rocky patches, it was a great time. And when that boy breaks your heart, don’t fret too much – the perfect one will find you and make all your dreams come true…and give you the blue eyed, blonde curled baby girl you always wanted. Love yourself, you are worth it more than you’ll ever know.

  217. I would tell my 13 year old self…. Be who you are, you are BEAUTIFUL. And just because you dont have boobs now doesnt mean they wont come, so stop looking up natural ways to grow boobs on google. (:
    Lexi!

  218. I wish that I could tell my 13 year old self to carve my own path. Not to worry about what other people might think. It doesn’t matter. The people who you/I thought knew everything then, didn’t. And their opinions and judgements don’t matter now. And I hope that young girls today could understand that. This is an awesome thing you are a part of! Thank you!

  219. Dear 13-year-old ME,

    Don’t worry so much, life comes as it comes…you will make mistakes, learn from them, and do wonders because of them.

    ps…you will grow out of your gawky body!! πŸ˜‰

    Love,
    ME

    Love the post Kelle!!

  220. This post is just amazing. I may just have to write the entire thing into my ‘favorite quotes’ journal.

    I think I would tell my 13 year old self not to be afraid to be the smart and kind person you are inside. Someday it won’t matter that you aren’t the prettiest, most popular girl with a boyfriend- but those other things DO matter. People will love and remember you for them.

  221. Ah, me at 13. That’s right where I stopped being blissfully ignorant of other’s opinions and started realizing that there was a “cool” and an “uncool” way to do things. I’d like to tell my 13 year old self that it’s cool to be happy. Bottom line.

    Thank you for putting the info about this movement out here for all of us to see and be a part of.

  222. i would tell my 13 year old self that true friends will stick around through thick and thin and not to worry about whether or not the “popular” kids in school are accepting me :)

  223. I wish I could tell my 13-year-old self that middle-school crushes do not, in fact, break your heart. And the man you will marry is nothing like the boys you are obsessed with now– he’s so much better.

  224. I would tell myself to enjoy childhood. Don’t be in such a rush to grow up!!

  225. Love this post!
    I wish I knew what it was like to be in the “real world, as a grownup” then I wouldn’t have rushed everything. I feel like alot of times I was rushing to get to where I’m at now. I’m only 22 but I already have lots of responsibilities as a nurse and it would’ve been nice to take my time and enjoy being my own age throughout the years :)

    ~ Jeanne

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  227. What am empowering feel good post. Such kind wonderful words.

    If I could tell my 13yr old self anything it would to just not care what other’s think… Don’t wear baggy shirts.. it doesn’t hide anything and who cares if someone sees your arms? Get off that wall, wall flower and have fun!

    I wish I had had more fun, especially expectingly becoming a mom so young so that I don’t have much time for ‘me’ or fun not involving the kiddies

  228. Girl, I know you don’t know me personally but it seems like you and I are on the same wavelength lately. I TRULY needed to read this today.

    I would tell my 13 year old self to let go of my self-consciousness. To not worry about what others think. To let my creative side blossom more than it did. To let the artist deep inside my soul OUT. That I can be free to be me. That’s what I’d tell her.

  229. Loved loved this entry! So inspiring and motivating! I would tell my thirteen-year-old self, “Darling, you are worth love too. Love yourself as you love your dearest family and friends and things will turn out alright.”

  230. I’d tell my 13 year old self what I tell my almost 29 year old self…you are beautiful & perfectly imperfect. Smile wider, laugh louder, & DREAM BIGGER.
    As always Kelle, I am grateful for your words & photos. You touch so many of us, and most importantly your girls! -Katrina

  231. wow… LOVED this post. As always, your words are beautiful and inspirational :)
    So, what would I tell my 13 year old self? probably: trust yourself, you are beautiful and smart and your gut instinct is always right. never second guess yourself based on what someone who doesn’t even know you thinks or says about you. and also, “this too shall pass”

  232. Another lovely post. Oh, what I would tell my 13 year old self…

    Be confident. Be kind. And be oh so thankful for the friends you have now, because they are keepers and will be with you for many years to come!

  233. Kelle,
    I loved this post so much! Everytime I hear the Brad Paisley song “Letter to Me” I think about what I would write to myself and wish I could put a letter in the mail and send it back in time to that scared 13 year old little girl starting a new school and making new friends.
    I would tell myself to hold my head high, perfection comes from imperfection, the trials and hard times I would go through would only make me stronger, no one but God can fill the God sized hole he put in me, and to follow my dreams and never let anyone stand in my way or tell me I’m not good enough or I don’t deserve every single one of those dreams!!

    And most of all… to thine own self be true!

    ~Michelle

  234. I would tell my 13 yr old self that high school is NOT going to matter in the long run! haha

  235. Hey 13 yr old me –
    One day you will be glad, so glad, that mom wouldn’t let you get that spiral perm!

    xo

  236. I would tell my 13 year old self to steer clear of that skateboarder with the beautiful blue eyes and wavy brown hair.

  237. I would tell my 13 year-old-self that it doesn’t MATTER that they make fun of you, you’re cool either way!

  238. You know what I would tell my younger self? That even though the magazines bend over backwards to SAY that “Men prefer women with meat on her bones”, ALL women are beautiful. Even the skinny minnies.

    Also? I would tell myself to please stop safety-pinning my too-short jeans into “pegs”. It pains me!

    Your photos rock my socks off. I love the gal with the blond bob just looking right back into the camera. Powerful stuff.

  239. OK, not a woman but I still want to tell my 13 year old self: Be good to you. Others will come in and out of your life–some of those comings will be wonderful and some of those leaveings will be sad. One will remain. YOU. So be good to you, you will sometimes be all you have. Do your best to live at peace with everyone, but know, sometimes in spite of your best, others will reject your kindness and chose strife. Be kind anyway, but guard your heart. Find your measure within. Don’t let others set your standards. Make not your goal to be loved but to love, or you will change yourself to be lovable to some. Love the one who loves you just as you are. You are the only one who can be you. And you is the very best thing you can be. Appreciate your past–the pretty parts and the painful parts because they all gave you something. Be thankful for the little tiny things, for they are the stuff the big is made of. And appreciate everyone around you. Look for beauty, Believe it is there. Talk to God, and know He listens because you matter to Him. Don’t let anyone make you feel less. Stand as tall as you are. Feel your power. Know you are the only one of you, and you are perfectly YOU.

  240. “Self, thanks for getting us this far!”

  241. thank you for this, for these words. i needed this desperately, today of all days. to my thirteen-year-old self, i would say to live well, to live very well, even in the midst of seventh-grade angst.

  242. Dear 13 year old self…

    You are fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator who designed you for His great purposes in this life! You are a unique creation so stop trying to be like everyone else. Listen to your parents. Love God, love people and love life! The end. :)

  243. I love this post and love all the black and white photos. Gorgeous!
    I wish I could tell my 13 year old self to enjoy being a kid. To not try so hard to grow up so fast.

  244. Lovely. I am a middle school teacher and a cheer coach, my entire day is spent picking 13 year old girls up, dusting them off, reminding them they are beautiful and that the boy is a jerk, and to listen to their mother, and to follow their universe given intuition…….I can’t help but see my own 13 year old self in their tears and smiles and insecurites……..
    They are amazing girls who will be breathtaking women someday and I will be so proud to have helped them.

  245. Loving this post, and your beautiful pictures! I would tell my 13 year old self that someday I will relate with my parents, and that they were right when they said it was harder on them to discipline me than it was on me. Crazy how being a parent puts everything into perspective :).

  246. As a thirteen-year-old, I watched “thirtysomething” on TV. I knew that a happy marriage and being a mom was where my greatest happiness would lie. It was one of the only things I wasn’t wrong about at thirteen.

  247. I have never known of anyone who embraced who they and their loved ones are with more enthusiasm and grace than Kelle. You’ve made so many lives brighter just by embracing who we all are.

    And the song is fantastic!

  248. I would tell my 13 year old self, you are much more than you realize!

  249. I would tell my 13 year old self that she was right, that she was worth so much more than others might say, and that sticking it out will be so worth it.

    I love that necklace. :)

  250. Thank you so much for this post.

    What I wish I had know as a 13 year old was that you should not be afraid of being yourself. I used to worry what people think of things I wear, things I do, and I regret it now because I would have enjoyed my teen years more if I had just let go.

  251. LOVE this post, as many have said brought tears to my eyes as those days of being 13 came flooding back. I would tell myself many things including, you are truly beautiful inside and out and one day the acne will be gone and you will “come into your own” and not be the shy quiet innocent girl everyone thinks you are but aren’t! You will have a wonderful family and great friends surronding you. You will have had the courage to live in different states and in big cities. You are a great person and remain true to yourself.
    I was VERY shy in middle/high school, even too shy to order at mcdonald’s! this later changed and I now see it in my dtr, which can be painful at times. I do know it gets better, but is hard to watch.
    I recently experienced 30 some year old women making fun of me b/c I bought pants at talbot’s and jeans off the clearance rack at kohl’s. 1 was supposed to be a friend. I felt 13 again, and was devastated for days. don’t know why women have to treat each other this way, why we can be so mean to one another. I am a stronger person now, and even though I did cry and thought about it for a few days, life won and I moved one and put the finishing touches on a combined carnival b-day party for my 3 kids w/40 children present! much better “investment” than the $200 pair of jeans that they wear! :)

  252. Wow. This brought tears to my eyes. I love being the mom to a little girl, but I am also scared to death that she may one day doubt herself, will get her heart broken, make bad decisions, let others define her, etc. But I know that I will have to tell myself in 11 years when I’m the mom of a 13 year old girl that she has to go through all those things – that those things will shape her and hopefully she will emerge stronger on the other side.

    To me at 13: “You are stronger than you think you are.”

  253. I would tell her….I would tell her…I would show her, I love her.

  254. I would tell my 13 year old self, “You are beautiful, you are kind, you are smart – don’t ever let anyone make you believe otherwise!”

  255. I would tell my 13 year old self “Don’t worry, one day, you will grow into those big boobs of yours! (LOL) and all of those girls making fun of you are just jealous!” Damn, 13 was not an easy age…….

    This is wonderful stuff you are doing right here, and as a mom of 2 girls myself, I know just how important it is. Good job Kelle!
    And by the way, that necklace is really beautiful.

  256. well said Kelle! You’re a beautiful woman, inside and out! 13 is tough…but so is every other age! Women are SO hard on each other! I have to say that I always pay compliments, because it makes me feel like a bigger person. Thank you as always for your inspiring words!

  257. I loved that. I cried!!!

  258. Dear 13-year-old self,

    I’ve got a list for you:

    1. You don’t have to be just like your mother.

    2. Go easier on yourself. It’s okay to crack up at your own dorky moments. Even if your face is on fire with embarrassment, go ahead and laugh because, dang, girl, it beats crying.

    3. Take a shower and wash your hair. Eat right. Wear shoes that fit. Stay safe. Take care of yourself. It’s a sign of respect.

    4. Do your chores, especially when your world is falling apart. Sure, taking out the garbage and cleaning your room are boring, but they help pass the time until things get better. Which they will. Trust me.

    5. This one might be the hardest: Learn to be comfortable alone, and do it now. There’ll be times when you’re frightened that no one will ever love you. You’ll be tempted to give yourself away, to try to make yourself into what someone else wants. Resist that impulse, girl. When you lose that lone space inside, you abandon yourself and you will be truly desolate, not just lonely. Keep that space, and you’ll keep yourself. Opportunities of the most amazing sweetness and wonder will come along–they always do–and if you don’t own yourself, you can’t lose yourself in them. Which is what you’re really longing for–to lose yourself in joy.

    6. You are a WONDERFUL person! I would not be who I am today without you. Thanks.

    Love,
    Susan

  259. Good Gracious. Your blog is so inspiring. I’m so thankful I’ve stumbled upon it. Your life, your story, is a treasure. Thank you for always being such an optimist. It’s contagious. I really feel like a better woman by reading the ‘stories’ of your daily life. sorry. tangent there.

    Anyways, task at hand, my 13 year old self was so broken… I had just recently lost my mom. I wish I could’ve loved myself more. I pitied (sp?) myself. Always felt sorry for myself. And, then my dad got remarried and I just let her walk all over me. I wish I had a voice… A thirteen year old has a voice. I hope to teach that to my 2 beautiful daughters!

    Thanks for your blog! I love it!

  260. Oh, Kelle. I might have to keep this post apart so that I can read it over and over and over again.

    “But, how will I raise my girls to know this? How will I teach them to know that they are as amazing as I know them to be?”

    I lay awake in bed many nights thinking about this myself. Mass media, bullying…I am terrified for her. How do I teach her, guide her and provide a living example when the voice of my own inner critic, though more easily quieted now that I’m older, can still be sooooo mean?

    If I could tell my 13-year-old self one thing, it would be this: you don’t have to be perfect to deserve to be loved.

    And for any parents raising up a girl, “Reviving Ophelia” is a good read.

  261. I would tell my 13yo self that it’s okay to be a redhead, okay to have pale skin and freckles, okay to be a bit chubbier than others. I’d tell her that the guy who said she was “the ugliest thing” he’d ever seen was full of shit. Because had I told her that, she wouldn’t be battling an eating disorder at 47, would have self-esteem issues that are so hard to overcome. I’d tell her how lovely she really is.

  262. Thank you for such a beautiful post! I needed it!
    I would tell my 13 year old self that what matters in life is not what others think of you or your choices it is what you think of them.Maybe if I had told my 13 year old self this I would have a better grasp on it now!

  263. kelle your blog is so inspiring! and nella…oh nella…many days i log in just to see pictures of that beautiful girl! i would tell my 13 yr old self that it doesn’t matter what you are wearing or what you look like or how popular(or not) you are. cultivate the giving, nurturing person that you are and you will feel fulfilled and powerful.

  264. I would tell my 13 year old self that everyone else wants just as much to fit in and no one else can be as unique as you.

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  266. I would tell my 13 year-old self to stop letting that dumb boy break your heart. You don’t need a boyfriend! Focus on your girlfriends and cultivating those friendships, because your girlfriends are where it’s at, baby!

  267. Thank you Kelle for your beautiful words. I would tell my 13 year old self to not worry so much about fitting in with the “in” crowd. Be yourself, be kind, be helpful to others, show love…

    Thank you again…

  268. Kelle Hampton, you rock my world. seriously.

    So, 13 yr. old Victoria…One day you will learn to embrace your brains, height, and unique looks. You will learn that those aren’t even what is important in life. So, speak your mind with confidence, share your faith with honesty and zeal, and above all be TRUE…to all….oh, and don’t lose the crazy!

  269. what would I tell my 13-year old self? WOW! lots of things. I would tell her that it was O.K. to wear knock offs cloths. Don’t worry about your figure it’s o.k. Mom didn’t have the $$ to buy 3 girls all the cloth the other kids where wearing. Leave your hair alone it’s o.k. to have curly hair. It’s alright you rode the bus to school not that your dad dropped you off in a Toyota.

    I would have to sit down with my 13 yr. old self I have lots of things to tell her that she looked beautiful.

  270. I would tell my 13 yr old self…

    Your Mom really does know more than you:)

    Make up is not the most important thing in the world.

    NEVER NEVER say the “R” word. It literally makes me ill thinking back to how often I would say it at the age when I did not think something was “Cool”

    You will get boobs some day:)

  271. This post was beautiful. Tears!

    I wish that I could tell my 13 year old self to dance! Laugh! Jump out of your comfort zone! Stick up for yourself! Ask yourself, what would my mother do?

    It wasn’t until later in life that I realized it was ok to be the one laughing the loudest… or even the only one laughing. And if I want to dance when I hear a great song in a store, I can shake it a little no matter what anyone thinks. Be bold!

    My mother has always been so bold and I was so envious watching her say what she wanted/needed to say regardless of other’s thoughts/words. Luckily, my amazing mother rubbed off on me in ways I never saw coming. These days I find myself saying and doing things that make me want to scream, “I’M TURNING INTO MY MOTHER!”

    And believe me, there is no one else that I would rather turn into.

  272. So magnificently inspiring! I think those painful moments where we tried to change the essence that makes us- well us are moments that we need to one day appreciate confidence. I used to flare my nostrils because I thought my nose was tiny and boyish and now I embrace my nose because it is mine; uniquely mine! I have a new-found confidence as I mature and grow older. Of course, I still have confidence to gain and maturing to do!

  273. Love your blog and pictures as usual. I wish I could tell my 13year old self to have more self esteem, speak up and don’t be shy!

  274. I am picturing my 2 year old at 13. I wonder if she will still have her chubby cheeks? She has hair that curls in the humidity. I bet it still does. I bet it drives her crazy. But these are things I love about her. What would I tell her? I’m typing this question because I’m not exactly sure. All I know is this…Life is crazy! Life is so short! Life is good! Live it! This is what I tell myself when it gets hard. If that doesn’t help….maybe we will dance and eat ice cream? Thank you Kelle. My favorite post.

  275. Oh Kelle, I think this is my favorite post of yours EVER! First off, the Matisyahu song is my anthem. I listen to it over and over and never tire of it. Second, this post came at a time when I was forgetting “To thine own self be true” and slipping, not knowing who I’ve become.
    If I could, I would tell my 13 year-old self “You’re tall, and every boy you like isn’t. But that will all change once you’re out of high school. Some boys will be intimidated by you’re height and try to make you feel bad because of it. But you’re going to meet one amazing boy, and he’s tall too! And people are going to tell you “When you guys have kids, they’re going to be giants!” and you’ll both laugh, but it’s true! So, embrace you’re height. Wear high heels and don’t slouch!”

  276. You have such a way with words. Your girls are sooo lucky to have you as a mommy.

    I wish I could tell my 13 year old self to never be ashamed of who you are. You are destined to do great things.

  277. Dear 13-year-old self. You don’t need to have a guy at your side to be complete. You are stronger than you think. You are beautiful, you are lovely, You are…you.

  278. Kelle – thank you for writing this. My daughter is only 6 months old but the thought of her having any of the issues that I had as a girl terrifies me. I don’t want her to cry because she’s not exactly like everyone else but I know that she will and that breaks my heart even now.

    Oh geez…to be able to go back and tell me at 13 that you will grow out of this awkward stage, that the scar will never go away no matter how hard but that you will learn to embrace that its part of you and that the love of your life will love that it makes you unique in the world and will refuse to let you consider getting it fixed as then you wouldn’t be you and that you will find some fabulous people who will accept your eccentricities and you will accept theirs. There will be people who will be horrible to you and they are just mean people and there will be others that will stand beside you no matter what and they are the people that you need to surround yourself with. Please don’t let yourself get down because you aren’t like everyone else. You are fabulous, you are beautiful and you are so so worthy of more than what you think you are.

  279. I would tell my 13 year old self that your are pretty and you are good enough. You do not need to give up your virginty to make him love you. I would tell me that its ok to wait for a man who will love you and wait till your ready for it. Though now I am a mom since i was 15 and I love my child waiting wouldn’t have been so horrible. I would try to tell me to love me..

  280. i would tell my 13 year old self that girls are mean to other girls because they are insecure and DON’T be one of those mean girls.
    i’d also tell her that being 13 kinda sucks, but my gosh life gets better and better and better so hang on!!!!!!

  281. I would tell my thirteen year old self that i was beautiful .Even if i had short hair and like to make weird faces….and had a c cup by fourth grade…Thank you so much for posting this..it has also made me realize at the age of 27 what attributes i have that i can be proud of and how I can help my 3 girls to value themselves! :)

  282. What would I tell my 13 year old self?
    It will get better
    Believe in yourself
    You are beautiful
    You are smart
    Enjoy highschool-don’t get dragged into drama llamas
    listen to your brain-not your peers, not ‘that’ boy, not ‘those girls’
    don’t wish to be someone else
    You are perfect.

  283. I’d tell my 13-year-old self not to hide her bookworminess, because in 7 years she’ll get the best job ever because of her love for books.
    I’d tell her not to hide in her brother’s clothes, because everyone who meets her remembers her smile and her glowing happy eyes, not the fact that she’s a bit chunky.
    And I’d tell her to be happy with her curves, because in 6 years she’ll meet this amazing guy who will be her best friend and love her and adore her shapely butt :)
    And then she’ll get married and be happier than she’s ever been :)

    Thanks Kelle!!

  284. I would tell myself at 13 to explore every opportunity given to me. Not to turn things down, or not to say to doing things that I really wanted to do because they just weren’t “cool”. Looking back, I could have done some amazing things if I would have taken a chance on myself!

  285. Amazing post! I always loved that Dove campaign and I really needed that type of inspiration tonight!

    I would tell my 13 year old self that being the tallest one in your class is the best thing to be…and one day this thing called the internet will allow you to find TONS of cute shoes that actually fit without making your size 12’s ache. I would tell me then, that you will love being tall now, so stand proud! Embrace all that you are and look forward to all you will become because its an amazing journey.

  286. I would say BELEIVE…you are beautiful!!

  287. I would tell the 13 year old Carole-that those girls that while you may seem to be the most freckled thing under the Fl sun that your freckles will be the thing your husband mentions in your wedding vows 10 years later that he loves. I would tell her that its okay to love science and to hug her Dad every day because he will be gone sooner than you are ready for.

    Thank you for this post. CArole in Silverdale WA

  288. to my 13-year-old self: all this will pass, you great, confused, sweet, fantastic you! and all this anger, make it go away. you are so beautiful inside, let it glow.

    (i’m writing this with tears forcing their way out. i feel so much for the 13-year-old i was.)

  289. I would tell my 13 year old self that things will get better and you will survive this and be a better person because of it.

  290. *Thank-you* so much.

    Thank-you for this post. I need it, for many reasons I cannot post here publicly.

  291. Be confident and rock that cheesy perm your mother gave you, because girl your beautiful! (Although I still cringe when I see the pictures of that cheesy perm on my 13 yr old self!)

  292. I can so relate to the empowering and daunting experience of raising daughters and to kick this low self-esteem thing on its ass. This post taps a rawness in me. Having Anna Cate (now 4) and adoring her absolute beauty helped me release the self-loathing I did for being about 15 pounds overweight my entire life even though I’m healthy and active. I thought, what a slap in my parents’ face to think I’m unworthy of this gift of life, and how it would break their hearts to know I think such of myself. It would/will break my heart if my daughters think anything less of themselves than what I see.

    I would tell my 13 year old self most of what you wrote, that “you have it good, girl…you have a fabulous family, and wonderful friends who will love you in every step of your path. enjoy it. enjoy the quality time with my grandmothers and say thank you more often to my mother.”

    Saying thank you does wonders for my self-esteem. As I’m nursing Molly (7 months) and training for my first post-csection half marathon, i try to say “thank you” to my body, rather than feel unworthy because I’m still that 15 pounds overweight. I’m sorry this is such a lengthy comment, but as you can tell this self-esteem and daughters connection strikes a chord with me. I love what your doing with your life, with your story. You are beautiful.

  293. Funny how I can only think of my child and as usual not worry about myself. But, I guess if I could tell myself one thing it would be something I learned from my Mom and my very best childhood friend. Include everyone. Invite the awkward kid to your 13th birthday party. Be their friend and you won’t believe the rewards. Those girls will probably stick with you longer than the rest. And I bet you will be surprised what you have in common. Love everyone. Oh, and hug your Mama.

  294. What an amazing post!! Thank you for such beautiful words Kelle!! … I would tell my 13-year-old self: The world is so much bigger and more beautiful than it can seem sometimes. This amazing journey of life that you are on will be as wonderful and glorious as you want it to be, no matter what!! When it all seems scary and stressful, there is always something amazing around the corner, waiting to be experienced!! … Okay so that was a bit long winded, but hey, there’s a lot to say! =)

  295. Great
    Post!!!!!
    I would tell myself that being popular doesn’t make you a better person…so don’t yearn for it, people liked you for being your sweet genuine caring self:-)

  296. I would tell my 13 yr old self the same lesson i am currently teaching my 7 yr old daughter – stop putting all your energy into chasing friends who make you feel bad about yourself. If you find yourself crying all the time because oif how a “friend” teats you, this is not a real friend – friends will love you, empower you, make you feel good about yourself and filled with light, NOT be mean to you, push you aside for “better” friends etc.

    There are so many wonderful people in this world – why do so many of us females accept less than we deserve?

  297. I would tell myself…

    embrace everything that is different about me. that is what makes you, YOU, and completely beautiful. stand up for what you believe in. even though you might feel like a mess, the beauty of life comes from not having it all figured out, just figuring it out a little bit at a time. do things that are scary and listen to your instincts. you won’t regret it. oh, and you are so not the ugly duckling.

  298. Beautiful post! I would tell my 13year old self: Don’t spend so much time worrying about how you’re perceived – just be yourself! And seek a better relationship with your mom!

  299. I would have told my 13 year old self, “Dude, you’re not fat. You’re wearing a 3. One day you’ll feel sexy in a 10. Don’t be ashamed to let your friends in on the fact that you listen to Elvis and Sinatra in your room while they jam out to boy bands. Go ahead! Wear your dad’s worn out 70’s cotton tee with the sailboat on it to school. Someday people will be paying $60 for a replica of it. Don’t push your broke parents over the edge because you want name brand Airwalks that everybody else has. Payless will sell them in 12 years! It’s the band nerds and computer geeks that end up being the catches, trust me. πŸ˜‰ And always, always be kind to everyone. You honestly never know what they’re going through at home.”

  300. “Be yourself. You will stand out. I promise. Just be you.”

    Since I can remember I tried to be different, unique. I hadn’t realized that I already was. Thank you for this post. I think it is such an important message. To thine own self be true. Absolutely! :)

  301. Jesus REALLY love me…everything about me, good and bad.
    Thanks, Kelle! I love the pictures!

  302. PS…I teach 8th grade so thank you for reminding me what it is like to be 13, and I’m going to honor you and this post by trying to tell those 13 year olds “to thine own self be true” more often.

  303. Dearest Patti: Stop fretting. You have an incredible destiny ahead of you, filled with an adoring husband and ten beautiful children, the last of whom holds a little somthing extra. Life isn’t all about what everybody thinks of you- although at this age it is so easy to believe that. Life can be hard but God is good, and don’t confuse the two. Trust in Jesus and stay true to HIM.
    And please stop worshipping Duran Duran. Your kids are gonna mock you for it some day.
    Love,
    Me

  304. kelle…awesome post girlfriend! so blessed to be a part of it. love the pics of all these beautiful, strong women. u rocked this out!
    as for what i wish someone would have told me at 13…i wish they would have tried harder to convince me that we grow so much in the years to come and that change IS good. i guess at 13 we live in the moment but maybe we lived to much in our “friends” moment and not what we really believed….so maybe its just speak out and be strong and continue to grow each and every day….i’m rambling now!!! love you girl!!!!
    t

  305. LOVE this, Kelle.

    I would tell myself, “Forget the boys! Your girlfriends are who get you through it all!”

  306. Beautiful post…..as always. I would tell the 13 year old me to not be afraid to be heard. People actually like what you have to say, be confident and speak up!

  307. Wow! Powerful, to say the least.

    I’m a teacher and I have a poster that says, “Thirty years from now it won’t matter… what clothes you wore, what jeans you bought, how your hair looked. What will matter is what you learned and how you used it”. I want to preach that to my students and make sure they believe it.

  308. Beautiful writing, beautiful photos. love it.

    I would tell my 13 year old self something very simple but very powerful (in my mind);

    Love yourself. Just do it.

  309. I’d tell my thirteen year old self to be confident and patient with my slow growing pre-pubecent body, because i would turn into a beautiful sexy woman. Something to be proud about!

  310. I would tell myself that I have worth, that I am loved, & to stop abusing myself and allowing others to use me. I would tell myself to hold out and be true to myself. That 8th grade is just a short glimpse of the amazing life I will have!

  311. Aww, KELLE, i always love your posts, but this one so touched me and brought up so much for me, as I am sure it would for many, woman or man. Hope I dont hijack the blog, but there is so much I think of after reading this. First, though, oh RIK – I loved what you wrote as always. Oh, that we could all tell ourselves that at 13 or hey, some of us still need to believe those words. Kelle, I am so thankful you are “true to thine own Self” and you share that self with us. We are all the better for it. I have heard about Dove and what they do, and I am so impressed. Oh, if I could talk to that 13 yr-old ME of long ago, I would tell her she is unique (this was always vague for me, as I am a twin – my sister was murdered when we were 17. Like many, i have known much hardship too). I would tell ME that later in life, I will not have any understanding of my beauty , totally clueless, tho others will tell me – I WILL believe it earlier. (like many, i had no one on my life to teach me things or how to believe in me or make Me a priority). I would tell me that I am so worthy and deserving and that I do not have to settle. that I can TRUST my instincts, and to turn away from those who don’t treat me with honor and respect. that i am so much stronger than I can imagine and that God will always be with me. To take care of me, while taking care of everyone and putting everyone first, and thinking of everyone else’s feelings. Whew! Sorry this is so long….

  312. I would tell my 13 year old self to have faith that looks aren’t everything. Even though I never got the chest I had pined for, what I do have far outweighs mammary glands! And besides, my small breasts successfully nursed my darling daughter and the world was not about physical traits but having the strength to stand tall when others stooped to criticize; stopped to help a friend or drop a note even if I never got many in return and that even though friends continue to cycle through your life (and some recycle themselves again) that doesn’t mean that that friendship didn’t have a purpose at that time. Peace out 13 self, you grew up to be a successful and determined woman. Fierce, independent, a lover and a loyal friend.

    Thanks for your blog, it made my day.

  313. My 13th year was a very hard one. New school, no friends, etc. So I would tell my thirteen year old self to perk up, smile and remember that no matter what, we’re all daughters of God, we’re all beautiful and we’re all amazing!!

    Love this post!!

  314. Everyone Counts……we are all more alike than different. We all want to love & be loved, accept & be accepted.Go ahead invite the shy & somewhat awkward girl to sit with you at lunch, she has something beautiful to offer…..we all do.

  315. wowzers. incredible kelle belle.
    so what would i tell my 13-yr-old self?
    1. be the change you wish to see in the world.
    2. it’s not about who you exclude, it’s about who you include
    3. pain changes you, so go ahead and be a 13 yr old… you will be a much better adult if you allow yourself to go through your experiences and let the pain make you stronger and give you wisdom…

  316. wow, awesome… !

    I would tell 13 year old me, “Hey, stop fretting over your teeth… you are going to work your ass off while in college and buy yourself braces when you’re 19, and you will have the fabulous smile you’re dreaming of these days … so enjoy your little gap tooth smile right now, it is beautiful too. And hey, you’re going to actually grow to love your ears that stick out too much. You are going to have two daughters and they both have your ears- and you announce it to everyone so PROUDLY.
    Sweetie, you are going to grow into one confident woman…more than you could ever have imagined at this age. It’s all good 13 yr old Dani girl.”

  317. Fantastic post, because yes, we are all fabulous!
    If I could tell my 13 year old self one learned piece of advice it would be this: surround your self with good people, love them and let yourself be loved.

    Life is so much better when love abounds.

  318. Amazing post!

    I would tell my 13 year old self to forget about what that “one” girl did or said and carry on because all the fuss I made in being her friend so I was “cooler” wasn’t worth it. The moment I let it all go was the moment I really became the person that I am today and I am proud of me!

  319. I would tell myself that the “ugly” stage is only a stage and true beauty lies within. The more beautiful you feel you are, the more beautiful you become. You’ll get there girl, hang on. Just wait. You’ll get all that you dream of and so much more.

  320. I would tell myself to give my mom a break she is trying, love who you are and enjoy life!

  321. I’d tell her, “I know you hate when people tell you how young you look, but when you’re 33, you’re gonna LOVE it!” :)

  322. I would tell my 13 year old self:

    I know your sister is driving you crazy, but you will come to know she is your best friend. Cherish her and cling to her because you have no idea how soon she’ll be gone.

  323. I would tell my 13 year old self do what makes you happy and everything else will fall into place :)

  324. God made you just the way you are, and God doesnt make mistakes! Do not be afraid to Stand Out — Be Extraordinary!

  325. My Dad was a very kind, gentle and wise man. He was my hero! He died of cancer 3 months before my 13th birthday. I was devastated for years. I would tell my 13 year old self to go out and open your heart to the world and love like you’ve never loved before. Giving love will bring an abundance of love into your life and will heal you. Putting up walls to protect will only serve to isolate and create more sadness and loneliness.

  326. I would tell my 13 year old self that “being cool” at 13 means nothing in the long run…who you are means everything, hold on to that.

  327. Gosh darn it, you get me every time.

    If I could tell me 13-year-old self anything, I would tell her that life is amazing and to embrace it. The heartbreak of teenage years will turn me into a courageous woman.

  328. awesome post as always Kelle!

    I’d tell my 13yr old self to embrace your body and love it. and don’t let anyone pull you down. keep the chin up!

  329. Thank you for a wonderful post and and a gentle reminder to be yourself. . There is so much I could tell me 13 year old self. But the first thing that comes to mind is that I would struggle with so many inner self confident issues almost to the point of starvation only to realize that the 27 year old women I am today is confident,beautiful, a wonderful mother, wife and nurse.

  330. LOL!@ knock off Keds…i had a “best friend” tell me I could never be on the dance team in high school cause at the time my single mother of four couldn’t justify the 25$ on white canvas shoes. I ended up CAPTAIN of the dance team thank you very much! I’d tell her to stop worrying so much, what you see as “flaws” make you beautiful and set you apart from ordinary, boys are yucky, and “enjoy the small things because one day you will wake up and realize they were really the big things”.
    Love you as always. Michelle from Austin.

  331. Dot, you are incredibly beautiful. I am glad yours was one of the first women’s faces my granddaughters saw when they arrived on this earth! Love you muchly!

  332. I would tell myself that being real is more important than being popular.

  333. This is something we need to constantly be reminded of. I struggled with it at 13 and honestly? Sometimes I still struggle at 38. It comes as part of the package when you are a girl, I think! Thank you for this timely and beautifully written piece. I needed to hear it:)

  334. Thank you for this post Kelle. One thing that worries me about ever having a daughter (we don’t have kids yet) is that she would go through the same struggles that I did for years (and still occasionally slide back into now in my late 20’s)…worrying too much about what other people think, and therefore not living life to the fullest.

    I would definitely tell my 13 year old self to stop worrying what other girls are doing/wearing/saying and just live your life as the beautiful, unique girl you are!

  335. To my 13 year old self,
    From this vantage point so many years along the track I want to let you know that the awkwardness and this awful stage of braces and acne will pass. The seemingly serious dramas with queen bees at school will one day seem petty and make you laugh! You will have many crushes on boys who you think are the only possible guy youcan “love” until one day you will know what really being in love is all about. 13 with all its rollercoaster of hormones and emotions doesn’t last forever. There will always be challenges in life but you learn how to handle them and grow stronger.

    Love from your much older wiser self.

    Thanks Kelle for your very powerful post.
    It is such a great reminder that true beauty comes from confidence and remembering that nobody can be a better you than you.

  336. I would tell my 13-year-old self that you will love and embrace your red, curly hair someday.

  337. Thank you for reminding us to empower our children to be the best that THEY can be and to be true to themselves.

  338. I would tell myself that life gets better. Things will get better. Time goes on. Junior High was an akward and insecure time of my life and I never thought I’d get out of it, but time flies and I’m more than content with everything I have now. I hope I can instill just a little bit of that confidence and security in my own children some day.

  339. I would tell my 13 year old self…
    be a friend to the friendless.

  340. I would tell myself that us theater geeks always win in the end – we know when people are acting and when they’re not. And I would also tell myself to keep rocking my own show!!

  341. kelle, thank you. i needed to read this today.

    i would tell my 13 year-old self exactly what i’m still trying to remind my 19 year-old self….this whole confidence thing is a process. keep hanging in there. embrace the strengths you can see in yourself and know that people don’t pay as much attention to your perceived weaknesses as you think they do. one day, you will be able to look in the mirror and see a beautiful face staring back at you. and that, will be a good day.

    again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and beautiful pictures. i’m definitely going to buy that necklace!

  342. 13-year-old self: You got it goin on, girlfriend! One day you’re going to be someone’s best friend, and adored my some great someone, and eventually, a mother to someone even more amazing. Live! and become yourself!

  343. Since it only 4 years since I was 13, I don’t quite know what to tell myself, but I think I would have said that what people said about me wasn’t true. That I wasn’t as fat and ugly as people said I was, but the more I believed them the more it affected my charisma on a bad way.

  344. Beauty, pure beauty.
    Speaks volumes. It really does.

  345. Kelle… what an inspiration that you are… such an amazing Mom!

    What would I tell my 13 year old self…? So many things. I will grow up to be an amazingly strong person…. and, although, I grew up feeling “different” than others…( minority girl in a small predominately white community) that “difference” is what made me the person that I am today …Embrace and love the “differences.” So easy to see that as an adult….now.

  346. I would tell my 13 year old self to
    1) slow down and enjoy things! Things weren’t nearly as stressful as I thought they were….
    and
    2) Don’t give things up just because they’re boring or hard right at that moment- most of the time you wish you had gone on.

  347. I would tell my 13 year old self… Give Kisses & Hugs to EVERYONE I know… you would have wished you had before it’s too late.

  348. I would tell my 13 year old self this: The people who are popular in Junior High will not matter in 5 years, and will be forgotten in 10. Don’t let them stifle your creativity and voice…you are beautiful, and 13 can be beautiful.

  349. I would tell my 13 year old self that I love her. And she would believe it.

  350. I would tell my 13 year old self “just be yourself…be confident…hold your head up high…oh, and it’s ok to still play with Barbies!” :)

  351. I’m in tears reading these. They are each so honest and insightful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  352. First of all, I just recently found your blog and love it. Thank you so very much. What I wish I could tell my 13 year old self? Don’t let your self image be formed by what you think others think of you. Be confident in who you are, know that you are different and that it is a good thing. Uniqueness is to be cherished.

  353. I would say…

    Everyone tells you how hard it is to be different.

    They forget to tell you how beautiful it is!

    Who wants to live in a world with one texture, one flavor, one color, one sense… we are all born right the first time.

  354. To my 13 yr old self…Just be you, people like you for who you are, you will find a place in this world that no one else has, you are beautiful inside and out and one day will be someone amazing…yourself

  355. I love this cause. I love it because I greatly desire to run up to every young girl and tell her that she is beautiful – and I do, when it’s appropriate. I believe in the power of that phrase “you’re beautiful” because when I was 14 years old, and extremely self-conscious, a girl who I looked up to told me I was beautiful. She said it in a genuine manner and it was because of that comment I made it through high school. I was suddenly free – knowing that someone, anyone, thought that my face, my hair, my personality, and even my nose (which I loathed) were all beautiful…well, it changed my life. And she doesn’t know this, and she probably doesn’t even remember me, but she helped make me the confident woman that I am. And I want to be able to provide that freedom for at least one person, if not thousands of people.

    Inside those simple words, “you’re beautiful,” there is a key – a key to life, love, and confidence. Hand that key out to as many girls as you can. If you do it genuinely, you might change a life completely.

  356. You have wowed me again with your ability to put your words to type and make them gems. Your blog matters to people – it matters to me. Thank you for articulating what so many of us wish we could!

    Dear 13 Old Self,

    Curly hair is okay and shouldn’t be damned. Celebrate it as something that makes you, you. Besides, those other girls? Ya, them. They’re spending their hard-earned babysitting money on salon perms and you don’t have to! the Angels gave you curly hair for a reason. Rock it!

    Love,
    Your Future Self xo

  357. Don’t grow up so fast. It’s ok to be 13. Live in the moment and fully enjoy it

  358. Oooh ‘To thine own self be true’ holds a dear place in my soul. My very favourite high school teacher, who was a great friend to me, and a simply beautiful man all round used to tell me it all the time during those angsty teen years… I graduated high school 8 years ago, but not a day has passed where I didn’t think of this teacher, my friend. I miss him a lot. I hope he had an idea of how special he was to me. Thanks for reminding me of this quote Kelle!

  359. Thanks for continuing to inspire!

    I would tell my 13 year old self….

    Never lose sight of who you are. Remain strong and the storms will pass….

  360. Dear 13-year-old self,

    So you look kind of awkward . . . who cares? You aren’t finished. So you don’t make the wisest decisions. That’s okay. You’ve got time. So, you worry too much about what that boy thinks of your outfit, when in reality, he hasn’t even noticed, but it isn’t that big of a deal. He isn’t good enough for you, anyway. So, you’re weird. Embrace it. One day, you will actually like that about yourself, and you will have friends that will like that about you, too. But really, your bushy hair, knobby knees, braces, glasses, polyester outfits, weirdnesses and less than perfect decisions don’t define you now, and certainly won’t define you in the future. You are growing into something beautiful that has nothing to do with anything that can be seen with the eyes. Take heart. You’ll get through this. Life gets better after 13, I promise. You are nowhere close to finished.

    Sincerely,

    Your happy, content, satisfied, confident, still weird, nowhere close to finished 26-year-old self

  361. Beautiful post!!!

    I would tell myself that one day, you will learn how to manage your curly locks…and you will be complimented every day about how beautiful your hair is! So don’t worry about what kids are saying now…they will envy your curls later!! :)

  362. Love your blog!
    I wish I could tell my 13 year old self: Doing what is popular or what someone else tells you is popular is so freaking overrated. You waste time trying so hard to be what doesn’t feel right. It’s so much more fun to just do what feels right to you. Those band members, chess club, debate team, math club people….they get it. No, really, they get it. You just don’t know they get it. Learn from them.

  363. I would tell myself to not change for anyone. Find friends who accept you for who you are.

    Tina

  364. Georgeous photos as usual Kelle!! They are simply breathtaking!

    I would tell myself that I matter and to be proud of who I am and where I come from. It took me many years to figure that out.

  365. As usual, tears in my eyes. Your words and photos are so inspiring.

    13 Year Old Self – Live it. Own it. Be it. There’s a whole lotta life out there and you don’t want to miss it being wrapped up in the insecurities of what you think you should be and could be. Forget about the What If’s and focus on the I Am’s and I Can’s.

    Oh yeah. Matisyahu rocks!

  366. I would tell myself that it doesn’t matter what others think but what you think about yourself. That it is important tO be true to yourself. To hold your head high and be YOU be who you want to be and not what you think others want you to be.

  367. I would like to say thank you so much for this post. If I would have read this when I was 13 I think I would have loved myself more then. I wouldn’t have been scared to stand in front off all who put me down and proved to them that even though I may not have been the skinniest or the prettiest but that I loved myself for being me.
    And if I could go back and tell my 13 year old self something, I would tell her just that. Hold your head high and be proud of what you got, because one day it will bite them in the ass! It took awhile to learn this but I’m proud of who I am, I just wish I would have learned to love myself I whole lot sooner.

  368. Kelle~I spent most of last night crying, angry at myself for all of my shortcomings & oh, how I wish I could’ve read this post then. Such uplifting words.
    I would tell my 13 year old self that thankfully, God doesn’t always answer our prayers (at 13 I was begging God to let me go to sleep & not wake up).
    I would tell her to just wait to see what gifts God blesses us with & what He has in store for us..I have a life abundant with love~great family,friends, my precious neices & nephews. I have happiness, peace, a beautiful home, great books,music,experiences…
    nothing I could have imagined for myself.

  369. I would tell my 13 year old self that you are more than enough. You don’t have to be who everyone else is because if you are too busy being them how are you going to have time to just be you. Find your own unique way of being smart, pretty, funny, athletic, and friendly because that is all anyone really wants to see.

  370. With tears in my eyes, I thank you! I hated being a teenager because I was taller, bigger, brace-ier, and googlie-eyedier than most others. I am now a middle school teacher and aim to guide young women through thos difficult years. I also just found out that I’m going to be giving birth to my third daughter in March. We need to tattoo “To Thine Own Self Be True” all over our house!! I will definitely be buying a necklace for myself as well as my three amazing daughters!

  371. Good gracious you make me cry more often than anyone ever has! And I mean that in a good way. :-)

    Oh how I wish I could whisper to my thirteen year old self! I would tell her to stop hiding, to not be afraid to shine. That different is not bad, it’s just different.

    Love this post… love the photos… such beauty all around.
    xo
    Kate

  372. Great post! I would tell my 13 year old self to enjoy your grandparents while you still have them. You’ll miss them once they are gone and you’ll wish you had that time back. Friends will come and go but family will stay in your heart forever.

  373. Don’t worry who you are at 13, it doesn’t matter if you are not the cheerleader, the most popular or the most beautiful. It all will work out, when you are older you will look back and be thankful you are you and no one else! There are great things in store for you – great things beyond your wildest imagination . . . great friends and great things and one of the best you don’t even know yet a wonderful friend named Kelle who will inspire you to be the best you, the best you can be!

  374. What an amazing post! Loved it!Your posts always tug at my heartstrings!

    Would tell my 13 year old self “you are definitely worth it!”

  375. This could not have been posted on a better day! Thank you! If I could go back and have just a few minutes with my 13 year old self… I would tell myself to spend as much time as I could with my dad bc later in life (sooner than I thought) my time with him would end.
    I would also tell myself to go to medical school and be a doctor :)

  376. Where do i even begin to talk to my 13 year old self….insecure would be my motto…my best friend decided we shouldn’t be friends anymore which crushed me. from then i sought out everyone to accept me. I think i would tell myself that only what i thought mattered. To be a kid and have fun, don’t try to grow up and be someone you weren’t. Boys can wait.

  377. I would tell her, “slow down, stop worrying…it will all be okay – AND I would tell her to be strong because she would encounters some things in the future that needed it.”

  378. Shoot I’m in tears. and this music doesn’t help.

    Beautiful. I’m gonna inspire me some girls this weekend. My niece, who is, 13. How uncanny.

    xoxo,
    Lori

  379. I would say “you matter.”

  380. to live my life for God’s glory…

  381. 13-year-old-self: You CAN wear your hair in a pony-tail, even though your shoulders are really broad. No one else even thinks that. And even if they did, who the hell cares?

    And 13-year-old-self, life is going to get more scary and more painful than you could ever imagine right now, far more scary than your broad shoulders and being taller than all the boys. But you’re not just going to make it, you’re going to thrive and find a satisfaction and a joy that you just can’t imagine right now either. Oh, and you’re gonna wear your hair in a pony tail almost every day, and you’re gonna marry a guy that’s shorter than you and be more proud of being married to him than you ever dreamed possible :)

    Thanks, Kelle. This post was beyond beautiful.

  382. I would tell my 13 year old self that my body is sacred. I would tell her to just hold out a little longer because in a few years some man will truly appreciate and love it for all the little imperfections that he will call perfect. I would tell her that she is worth it. She may not look like all those other girls, but there will only be 1 her so live it up baby. Finally, I would hug her and remind her that people make mistakes and it doesn’t mean she is going to Hell, so stop worrying about what all the other kids in sunday school say :)
    Love your blog- always have, always will. Love your sister who introduced me to you long ago. Just love you!

  383. Great post! I would tell my 13 year old self to enjoy your grandparents while you still have them. They will not be around forever and you will wish you had that time back with them. Friends may come and go but family stays in your heart forever. And you’ll have plenty of time to be with your friends.

  384. February 1992 (letter to myself)
    Dear Katie,
    I promise, being in the popular clique does not make you a better person. Being your honest true self makes you the better person.

  385. I’d tell my 13 yr old self that it doesn’t matter what people think. Don’t ever forget that. Be yourself.

    Thanks for the post.

  386. I wish my grown up self had told my 13 year old self that you have options – you will always have choices, sometimes you just need a little help seeing them and that is what older, wiser women are there for. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

  387. You are amazing…just be yourself.

  388. Kelle, thanks so much for this!!!This post is definitely what I needed, at this exact moment. I’m sure we will never meet, but I hope you know just how much your words inspire me and several hundreds, each time we read your blog. If I could tell my 13-year old self, I would say: Don’t give in to the insecurities that come with being a girl. Always love yourself know matter what and never let any negative attention, interfere with the way you live your life. Dream big and hope for great things and know, that you are so deserving of anything that comes your way. Stand up for what you believe in, even if no one else does, and always, always do things for yourself and happiness will come your way.

    Thanks again…you rock!!!!

  389. I wish I could tell my 13-year old self that I wasn’t really going crazy but that it was a thing called “hormones” that made me feel crazy. I wish I could tell her that life would get easier and that she would grow up and go through harder things but she would be able to handle them with God’s strength. I really wish I could just give her a hug and tell her she was going to be fine. :)

  390. I would (and still do even now) tell my 13 year old self to breathe…hold your head up high, and breathe. You are strong, and compassionate. You have what it takes to pour love into these amazing young little ladies. So, when you doubt, just breathe, breathe in that love and let it flow, because love is beautiful, and oh so powerful.

    PS Just this afternoon I found myself telling my almost 8 year old that it just doesn’t matter what those 3rd grade girls said, because she and I both know what an amazing kid she is. Period. Amazing. Truly.

  391. I would tell my 13 year old self that no person defines my worth, my worth is given by my creator alone and I am worth it all to him.

  392. To my 13-year-old self, I say:

    “This will end. The drama. The hurt at home. Your family feeling badly about who you are. It will end. I promise, I promise, I promise. Don’t let it define you. Be strong. Love your friends well. Take risks. Braces are just around the corner. Life gets better than the family of origin you happened upon. People will love you. Immensely. And you will learn to love everything who God created you to be.”

  393. I would tell my 13-yr old self, “screw them. screw them all. ’cause in 20 yrs you won’t remember half of their names and they will all be divorced and probably dealing with alcohol issues. do what makes you happy cause in the end you only gotta live with yourself” Oh, and I would say “get your butt off the couch and run or you’re gonna spend a lifetime trying to lose all that weight…”

  394. What do I wish I knew at 13? Everything you just wrote in this post. I’m 43, & still trying to figure it all out. You go girl. :)

  395. Another amazing post! This is a big topic for me because I have 2 little girls and I struggle every day to not bestow upon them the eating disorders or body dysmorphic disorder that I have suffered from as a teen.I am recovered but its like being an alcoholic, its always there; right around the corner. What would I tell my 13 year old self? I’d say smile hard w/ those big shinny braces, because you are beautiful.Laugh your goofy Ricky Riccardo laugh because one day the man of your dreams will find it as endearing as you find it disgusting. I’d tell her, Your value in life is not measured by the size of your jeans and comparing yourself to others is a pointless waste of time.Be the best you that you can be, that’s enough.That’s better than ENOUGH , its exhausting potential and being comfortable in your own skin.I’d tell my 13 year old self, “Breathe little girl, there is plenty of time for growing up, embrace yourself.You are the perfect you and what seems momentous today and earth shattering will pass and make you stronger.Love yourself with the reckless abandon that you would give any one else who had a special place in your heart.You deserve it!

  396. I wish I could tell my 13 old self that nothing is impossible and if I put my mind and heart into it I could be whatever I wanted to be.

  397. Dear 13 year old self. You will not find what you are looking for in anyone else. You are beautiful. Please stop trying to obtain your sense of self worth through what other people think of you. That boy? He is not worth the headache. That mean girl? She will be trapped and miserable in 10 years.

    Two of my daughters are about to turn 13 very soon and I tell them all sorts of stuff. Things I wished my mom had told me, plus all the stuff she did tell me and I just didn’t listen to. We talk about real deal stuff. Even if it makes all of us squirm a little bit. STD’s, safe sex, love, crushes, college, homework, responsibility. All of it. I am amazed by them, it is so much work being 13. Just incredible, back bending, heart wrenching work.

    You couldn’t pay me money to be 13 again!

  398. I would tell my 13-year old self to have more confidence on the basketball court and appreciate my parents every morning for driving me across town to attend a better school.

  399. Dear 13 year old self::

    put down that bag of chips, put down that chocolate bar, who cares what other’s think. Don’t let the bullies get to you. Don’t eat to forget. You are happy and have friends and life is grand no matter what those bullies think.

  400. I’m 23 now. And I wish I could go back and tell my 13 year old self what I know now. But just to plan ahead… what would you tell your 23 year old self? Maybe I can take some wisdom and run with it. Since I have no idea what I’m doing!

  401. I would tell my 13 year old self that friends don’t define who you are, you are special, you are loved, perms will ruin your hair and when you are older don’t marry a man with the same last name not only does it cause confusion because people think you’re related but there is better catch out there. ~ Thanks Again Kelle for another beautiful post.

  402. Oh I would tell myself so much but the first thing that comes to mind is, “Stand up straight! Be proud of your height! Walk with your head held high, who cares that you are the tallest. You stand our for being unique and that’s much better than trying to fit in.”

    I’m of average height now, but in my preteens and early teens I was always the tallest in my classes and always tried to make myself appear shorter.

  403. At 13 I would have told myself that it’s okay to be a little bit bigger that all the rest of the girls. It’s ok that I don’t wear name brands and that my mom making my clothes isn’t lame. 13 was a rough self-esteem age for me…I hope I can guide my girls (I have 3 of them) to be confident through those tough years.

  404. Thank you for this.
    i needed this.

    i dont know what i would honestly tell my 13 year old self, because a lot of the dumb insecurities are still there. i am just more aware that they are silly now
    :)

    again, thank you

  405. Having a 15 yr. old daughter and 3 younger kiddos, I’ve shared my experiences and lessons learned in my younger days several times. I always tell them to be sure you can live with your decisions and actions tomorrow. No one is harder on us than ourself. You must be strong and not allow others to sway you. Guilt will eat you alive, steal your happiness and make you a miserable person, so always tell the truth and do the right things! Doors of opportunity will open for those who follow God, stand up straight and smile at others. If you wouldn’t do it or say it with your Dad and I standing beside you, then you probably should not do or say it.

    I hope that I can instill a love of being who they really are inside their hearts so others don’t sway them.

  406. I would tell myself that although I have many of my mother’s traits you are not her and you do not have to live in such a negative outlook. Be positive, hold your head high, be confident and strong, and mostly love yourself fisrt before you worry about anyone else ever loving you…it took me till I was 27 to love myself- I hope my daughter (and son) can love herself long before then.

  407. I would tell my 13 year old self to smile and let that light shine on others!

  408. a mirror can’t see your heart. the real treasure that you are lies there and the beauty that you can see on the outside is just a little glimpse of what’s on the inside. show people your heart and what you love… be yourself. do what comes natural to you and just be real. you will be loved for who you are, i guarantee it.

  409. I would tell my 13 year old self to strut. To embrace the strength I felt, I knew was within me…but it frightened me, I would tell myself not to fear it, ever.

  410. What a totally awesome post! I’m 58 and would have love to have read this when I was younger. It’s never too late right?

  411. You’re so awesome. I don’t think I could say it any better than you just did.

    I would tell my 13 year old self to forget about what girls or boys or family or coaches or teachers or anyone else thinks. Focus on what you believe in and cherish and love and learn about God and His greatness.

  412. This was absolutely beautiful!

    I have to say, I am only 22 and there are probably a million things I wish I could tell my 13 year old self! But I think the most prevalent would be to take some risks, real ones. Talk to the cute boy in math class, wear those black and white saddle shoes you always loved, and smile a huge smile when you have something to be proud of. People will applaud you for your confidence, even other 13 year old people.

    Oh, and about that very slight bump on your nose? When you’re 22 you’ll love it, so stop avoiding looking at your profile in the mirror now, and check out how sweet that little hill really is. :)

  413. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self that I am beautiful and I am enough….

  414. Dear 13 year old Jenny,
    Things will get harder than you would have ever thought you could bear, but you will be strong enough. You will get to the point where negative things other people think about you, or ones you love won’t matter. Will it hurt? Yeah, but through it all you will teach, love, and be a great mom sister wife. You will make an impact on other’s lives and the world. For this You are beautiful, even if you don’t feel you look beautiful.

  415. I would tell my 13-year-old self that a few good friends are better than being popular. Being smart, working hard, and helping others is more important than being pretty, wearing cool clothes, or being asked out by the cute boy. Remember what’s important: family, friends, love, generosity, and kindness – to others and to yourself. One day you will have everything you ever wanted or needed – life will be complete. You will have bliss. happiness. contentment. security. fulfillment. LOVE.

  416. This comment has been removed by the author.

  417. I’d tell myself that this is just a stage and life will get better, just sit back, wait and enjoy the ride. Oh how I wish I would’ve told myself that!!

  418. I would tell myself to be happy and to live for the day. I spent too much time worrying about the future and didn’t live in the moment enough.

  419. WOW! Just what I needed today!!! Through life’s ups and downs, it amazes me that sometimes things happen for such a reason! Thank you Kelly for your words of inspiration. Never have left a message but I read your blog often….always brings a smile and your photos are just beautiful. Thanks again…and LOVE the necklace! (hopes the ‘counter’ falls this way!)

  420. I would tell myself to cherish my family and tell them how much I love them every day, because when all else fails, family is who you can always turn to to love and cherish you unconditionally exactly as you are. Now my sisters are my best friends in the world!

  421. OH, I just wanted to add, Kelle, that I am so glad to see the proceeds from the necklace go to Girls, Inc.. I am familiar with their work locally and have donted to them. I love causes that help young girls, especially those who are marginalized. Girls so often suffer from low self-esteem and any group that combats that is great.

  422. Make your own decisions, believe in yourself because you are a beautiful, warm human being. Be kind to everyone, especially yourself….

  423. I was warned that I may need a kleenex for this post. As a mother of two girls, I needed an entire box. I spend a lot of time thinking about whether I will help to instill a positive sense of self in my girls. If I could chat with my 13 year old self, I would tell her how beautiful her life is now. I would tell her that she will eventually have friends, an amazing husband and two little girls that will love her forever unconditionally for everything that she is…and for everything that she is not.

    Thanks for this post, Kelle.

  424. “…Slow down. You don’t have to figure it all out right now. You’re only beginning.”

  425. I would tell myself that it’s okay to believe that the world is an inherently good place because the older I get the more I realize how lovely it it. I spent a lot of time looking to fix everything for everyone, when in many cases things were lovely just as they were.

  426. I love love love this.

    I wish I would have known…
    “this too shall pass” :) What a beautiful thing to be apart of. <3

  427. I would tell my 13 year old self to live for today. Stop trying to grow up so fast thinking that life will be better When I have a boyfriend/When I can drive/ When … the list goes on. Life is a journey that you only get to travel once so enjoy each and every day. Life truly is what you make it so just be yourself and it will be GREAT!

  428. Laugh out loud, be silly, and surround yourself with those people whom you are most comfortable doing these things with. I am 37 years old and my best friend has been that since I was 10 years old. If I had known at 13 how important she was going to be to me through all of life’s upcoming events, I wouldn’t have wasted so much energy on some very superficial “friendships”. I am so blessed to have her in my life and some other very “true” women!

  429. I love this blog post. And the necklace is so beautiful!
    I would tell my 13 year old self to stop worrying and just be yourself! Everything will be fine. My aunt always says “What’s for you…won’t pass you”….I wish I knew that at 13…

  430. Oh my, so much would I say to the younger me. To believe in myself and accept myself and not give in to peer pressure would be a good start. I love your line “But, how will I raise my girls to know this? How will I teach them to believe that they are as amazing as I know them to be?” I couldn’t have put this any better. I have two girls too, and they are as amazing as I could imagine any two little girls to be. The sad thing with being a parent is that you don’t realize how much your parents love you until you become one yourself.

  431. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! If I could tell my 13 year old self something it would be that life happens so quickly, and to just slow down and enjoy the ride!

  432. I would tell myself..it gets better girl, so just hang on:)

  433. I would tell myself….
    To listen more carefully to what my heart says
    To enjoy more…worry less
    That my beauty is in my love of life
    To be more appreciative and grateful for sure

  434. you inspire…

    i would tell my 13 year old self that you will rise… you really will…

    xoxoxo

  435. This is my absolute favorite post of yours to date! Well done!

    If I could tell my 13 year old self something it would be that my peers are more insecure than I think they are. All of them. Whether they have money, good looks, cute boyfriends, cool cars.. everyone is insecure and trying to find their way just as much as I am. And no matter how perfect their lives look on the outside.. you never know what is actually going on in the inside of their hearts and minds.

    Oh.. there’s SO much that I need to say to that 13 year old girl. But, then again, its what I didnt say.. and the mistakes that came from lack of knowledge that have put me where I am at today!

    I adore you Kelle.

    God bless

  436. I’d tell my 13-year old self…”You are worthwhile and capable even though you make mistakes” This has been my mantra since I was 20 and if I had known this truth when I was 13 I imagine my teen years would have been easier! It’s a truth I still live by today, and share often with others.

    • Caredeen-Someone came across this powerful mantra of yours, ” You are worthwhile and capable even though you make mistakes.” and shared it with me as a quote to use in our weekly inspirational newsletter….and I’m planning to share it with them but would love to attribute it to you if possible. You can reach out to me via UnleashRipples (dot) com if you want. THANKS!

  437. That was beautiful.

    I would tell my 13 year old self that the things that seem so difficult and impossible to live through now will be a mere blip in an amazing life. A life filled with love and happiness.

  438. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I went back and read Nella’s birth story, and then to read this…I am a mother of two beautiful girls (almost 21 and 17). If I could go backto 13 again, I’d have to say to myself, “accept yourself and others as they are, and as my Granny would say…God don’t make no junk!”

  439. Oh my, what a post! I would tell myself, slow down…don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Hold your head high and be proud of who you are. Breath in all that comes with being 12 and love it, just love it!

  440. i wish i could tell my 13 year-old self to be nice to my mother because one day i would be a mother to a daughter, and i would understand… that we only want the best for them. that we may not be perfect, but we try damn hard. i’d tell my 13 year-old self that one day my mother would become my best friend. so treasure her, and make sure she feels loved and appreciated.

    i love your blog. i love that you’re supporting dove. i think raising confident young girls and women is our most important job in life. it’s something that i have always been incredibly passionate about. i’m lucky enough to have parents that raised me to believe i can do anything i want in life. to this day, i still believe it.

  441. Thank you for your inspiring post- a great reminder for all. I would tell myself to stand tall. And that my individuality is what makes me beautiful.

  442. I would tell my 13 year old self not to worry about my weight, apperance, and to love who I am!

    Just beautiful Kelle! Love Lainey’s tattoo!

  443. well written, Kelle. I am going to share this blog entry with the important women of my life and have them pass it along to their girlfriends. One of my greatest hopes is to show my daughter just how beautiful she will be by holding her head high and telling the world that she is ready for all it has to offer!

    If i could speak to my 13 year old self I would tell her that life is what you make of it… live it. learn from it. love it.

  444. As a mother to 2 young girls, a big thank you to everyone who has commented on this post; I am inspired.

    To my 13 year old self (hard to know the words to use that I actually would have listened to!):

    -continue to listen to your instincts, they will serve you well
    -know that the world is bigger than you, your friends & your high school. There is more out there.
    -don’t rely on others for your happiness

    Thank you Kelle for another great post!

  445. Beautiful words and photos as always, Kelle!

    I’d tell my 13 year old self a million things, among them is that it’s okay to have a loud laugh and to use it often, it’s alright to have others call you ‘different’ or ‘unique’ or ‘weird’ . . . it means you’re an individual, and don’t let the taunts of an older sister who tells you that you’re ‘big-boned’ bother you all that much. By the time you’re 35 those ‘big-bones’ will have gotten you through 2 marathons and you’re already planning more. Life is good. Life is good.

  446. Awesome, inspiring post! I am inspired by your words, and photos!

    What would I tell my 13 year old self? “Keep on dreaming… big dreams…you will get to do them!! don’t worry what the cool kids are doing… keep on walking to the beat of your own drum…you are special, you are beautiful and your smile lights up the room…don’t fight so much with your mum… after you leave home for university at 18…she becomes your BEST friend… so don’t fight with her as much now…”

  447. I would tell my 13 year old self that I was good enough, thin enough, funny enough, stylish enough, perfect by just being the person I was. I would have told myself to stop trying so hard, stop giving up bits and pieces of my own uniqueness because one day it would be hard to find that person lost in all the expectations.

    Kelle – I love what you wrote. Beautiful and a good reminder for my 34 year old self too.

  448. 13 year old self: smile, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t the tallest or smallest you are amazing and funny and when you smile you really do make people happy, just like mom always said.

  449. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self that “it really doesn’t matter what other people think…REALLY. That extra 10 pounds does not matter…REALLY. If you don’t think you have fit in place, don’t worry because you will.”

  450. I would tell her to hold on because life is a wild ride. That someday, she would create something AMAZING, and that someday her heart would be so full of love that there would be no room for hurt. I would tell her that it gets better. I have 3 daughters. . . My prayer is that they will stand up straight and tall and take the world by storm.

  451. oh my. Thank you for this great post. To my 13 year old self “be who you are, with no apologies, because who you are is pretty fan-freakin-tastic.”

  452. P.S. to my 13 year old self. Don’t wear a shirt over your swim suit. You aren’t fat! :)

  453. That was absolutely beautiful… I read it to my husband and he said “she’s a cool writer”… haha!!

    I think if I could have a chat with my 13 year old self… I would tell me to show my love to my mother every single day because when you grow up a little bit and realize how precious a mothers love is, it will tug at your heart when you think about all of the times you pushed away a goodbye kiss in fear of being seen by the other kids. Love your Momma!!!

  454. That was absolutely beautiful… I read it to my husband and he said “she’s a cool writer”… haha!!

    I think if I could have a chat with my 13 year old self… I would tell me to show my love to my mother every single day because when you grow up a little bit and realize how precious a mothers love is, it will tug at your heart when you think about all of the times you pushed away a goodbye kiss in fear of being seen by the other kids. Love your Momma!!!

  455. Id tell my 13 year old self that those girls who you THINK are your friends, are not. Your real friend? The girl in the corner who had your back since you were 5. Dont push aside old friends to make room for the “new, cooler friends.” Because when you make a mistake, they wont have your back. And one day, youll see your old best friend and wish you still had her! Life isnt about being in the popular crowd, life is about making YOUR own crowd. And when its your crowd, youll think its popular anyways! True friends are hard to come by. Keep em close, sista!

  456. I would tell my 13 year old self this:
    You are smart and funny as hell and some day, you are going to have some amazing life experiences and some cherished friends and a daughter of your own. Love who you are, and learn to embrace your curves and love your smile.

    Thanks for this, by the way. Amazing. I have chills.

  457. I would tell my 13yo self that things WILL get better. And that there’s a world of beauty out there beyond the dark difficulties of my immediate surroundings. I’d tell myself to learn to look past the darkness into that beautiful light, and to cling to it until one day I’d look around and realize that the storm had finally passed.

  458. I was just thinking a similar thought as I slipped on my uncomfortable sweatpants because my favorite ones are in the wash. It took me back to younger me and that feeling of squeezing myself into the jeans that everyone wore that we’re too low and gave everyone a muffin top (unless you were bone thin) and I was just thinking how I wish i could tell that younger version of myself to embrace my curves and be comfortable. And then I got on to read your latest post. weird.

    So, I would tell 13 year old me to be comfortable and embrace my curves, curls, smile, legs, face, personality, EVERYTHING! I was very insecure growing up. I think it really started changing for me when I had my girls too. I want them to embrace themselves and everyone else too for the beautiful women they are. And that… has to start with me.

    They watch everything and hear everything we say and do.

  459. Best. Post. Ever.

    My 13-yr old self could have used this little nugget of wisdom:

    “Stop worrying about turning into your mother … by the time this happens you will be proud and thrilled at the notion that this might actually happen. That you could be even half the amazing mother and woman she is today.”

  460. YOU. ARE. GOOD. ENOUGH.

  461. I wish I knew that I was beautiful..inside and out!

  462. I would tell my 13 year old self that, “So what if your life long crush doesn’t find you beautiful, someone, someday will. So shake it off!” In fact, you find the “one” 3 years later, and he is so worth the wait! :)

  463. This is the 3rd or 4th time reading this post and still, tears streaming down my face. And then reading all these moving comments as well.

    To the 13-year old lonely Japanese-German girl with brown glasses and bad teeth living in London, not fitting in anywhere including each side of the family, I would start with this quote from Albert Camus:

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

    And I would say, you there…stop searching for that thing you are craving “out there.” Give up, it ain’t “out there.” It’s “in there.” In YOU. It IS you. Your true self, who you are right now, not who you are trying to become.

    Stop. Breathe. And look inside. There it is. Your true self.

    Yeah, baby.

    To thine own self be true.

    Extraordinary post, sharing on Facebook and my little blog now.

    Beautiful necklace, what a great talisman to return you to your Self.

  464. “You will recover from a broken heart”

    To Me at 13

    :)

  465. I would tell my 13-year-old self to stop trying to be what I believed everyone else wanted me to be and to stop obsessing over my body. I would tell her what I tell the girls in my jr high Sunday school class: When I get to Heaven I don’t want to stand before God and say I wasted years thinking about my earth shell. I want to slide in, beat up, used up and triumphant, saying it was an adventure and I gave it everything I had!

  466. To my 13 year old self…you are beautiful and you are enough..for in but a few years of weathering the teenage years you will emerge a mother, a wife, a successful business woman…and when your daughter looks into your eyes you will know that no matter what happened then, you are truly all you can be..you will realise the absolute beauty of your sweet body that miraculously grows a baby and you’ll realise that love alone can change the world. And some of the best love we can give to others…is the gift of love to ourselves. Be gentle, be kind and be true to yourself.

  467. Jesus, Kelle. There are posts when I think, “Honestly, how can this girl get cooler, or top that?” and you, like, just did.

    I wish I could tell my 13 year old self that someday the girl who you keep fighting with is going to be your maid of honor someday. No, really.

    I wish I could tell her that the dorky guys make the best boyfriends.

    And to quit worrying about who likes you and what he thinks, and instead focus on having as much fun as you can with your girlfriends.

    I wish I could tell her to dance as much as possible at school dances, because when you grow up, you only get to dance at weddings, and maybe clubs, and in your own living room. But, it’s not as much fun as those dances were.

    I wish I could tell her that everything isn’t going to be great all the time, that there will be excruciating times and times where you have to pick yourself off of the floor, and that you have to work very hard, everyday, to make your life the way you want it.

    I wish I could tell her that things are going to be pretty awesome too.

  468. I would tell my 13 year-old self that it hurts and it’s real…the insecurity, doubt, discomfort. I would say it get better and then better and then better. Love what you are feeling right now because you are feeling. And that feeling-ness will get you so far you won’t hardly believe life can contain it.

  469. Thank you. I needed that.

  470. I would tell 13 year old me.. that being yourself makes people like you, it isn’t what you look like, or what you say. Don’t follow the ones that seem to have it all, looks, popularity… it turns out that they don’t have it all, the only thing they have is their own well being in mind.

    Love the blog!

  471. So needed! Thank you for the incredible words and the photos to bring those words to life!

    I would tell my 13 year old self to live in the moment, for this moment only lasts for a short time. To enjoy the innocence of being 13!

  472. I would tell the 13 year old me that you will be so much more than you think you’ll be and all of the struggles that you will go through will enrich your life and make you stronger than you ever thought possible! Thank you Kelle for this reminder on a day that I really needed it :-)

  473. I am 20 years old and a junior in college. I always look forward to your new posts because after reading your words I am always reminded to embrace each and every day and live life to the fullest. Sometimes I have bad hair days or hate my outfit but at the end of the day I have family and friends that love me. What else does a girl need?? Live. Laugh. Love.

  474. I am 20 years old and a junior in college. I always look forward to your new posts because after reading your words I am always reminded to embrace each and every day and live life to the fullest. Sometimes I have bad hair days or hate my outfit but at the end of the day I have family and friends that love me. What else does a girl need?? Live. Laugh. Love.

  475. I would tell 13-year-old-me to make just one decision without the input of her friends. Be yourself. Express yourself. Value your own opinion. Trust yourself.

    And you turn out to be a pretty kick-a 24 year old so don’t fret the awkward mess that is junior high πŸ˜‰

  476. Love this! I love all the cool things Dove is doing. I support their products and their company 100%.

    If I could tell my 13 year old self anything, I would say to not dress to impress anyone but yourself. It doesn’t matter what people think of what you wear, especially since no 13 year olds have to go to job interviews or anything! And if people judge you for what you wear, then they’re not your real friends.

  477. I would tell my 13 year old self that I can have a voice. I can have an opinion. I can speak my mind. I can be different. I can think my own thoughts. I can …well, I guess I would tell myself “I can”! Living with the word CAN’T is really limiting in so many ways. But, surrounding yourself with the hope of CAN is so empowering.

    BTW, beautiful photos again. And I might just add that you have such beautiful friends. Everyone should be so lucky.

  478. I would tell my 13 year old self to not take life so seriously! It has become my mantra and I think it almost every day. Thanks for this post, I really needed to read it!

  479. “Hey there, acne-prone Kristin. Just wanted to let you know that all the girls who are mean to you right now, the ones who make you cry as soon as you step off that bus in the afternoon and into your Mama’s arms- they might be the “popular” ones with the money and naturally straight hair, but guess what…even though it’s not even a blip on your radar right now, in 11 years while they’re nursing hangovers, YOU will be nursing the most beautiful bundle of joy God ever decided to gift a woman with. What’s better- a year later, He’ll follow her up with a little boy determined to steal his Mama’s heart. So let them tease you…just remember that in the end, you’ll be the Mama, crying love tears at the introductions of your babies to the World. And oh- that curly hair turns out to be a fierce creation of pure-fire Sexiness once you discover Pantene Curl Defining Mousse and a diffuser.”

    Thanks, Kelle. This was unbelievably cathartic. :)

  480. If I could check only one blog a day, yours would be it!
    I would tell myself at 13 “it’s okay.” it’s okay to have red hair. It okay to be covered in freckles. It okay to have freakish vampire-ly White skin. It’s okay that you read ridiculous amounts of books because you love to. It’s okay to LIKE school and learning, even though it is “cooler” not to. Basically, “it’s okay to be different” I wish I knew that then because now at 22, I looove it and couldn’t be bothered by what “they say”. (oh, and “they say” are liars…wisdom from my grandma). As long as I am doing, being, breathing who I am, it’s okay and I am happy. I am happy to be different and to be ME!

  481. loving this post – like times a billion. cause at 13, i was so scared and broken. and now at (almost) 30 i feel like the saggy-baggy-elephant, growing nicely into my own skin. if i could say something to my 13 year old self, i’d say that my face is beautiful WITHOUT makeup, that boys don’t have a right to treat/talk to/touch you in ways you don’t want, that other girls are mean cause they’re scared and just trying to figure out who they are, too. thanks for this post, kelle.

  482. 13 was not that long ago for me, well okay it is just shy of a decade ago. It feels like yesterday though. I was ruthlessly picked on, and looking back I still don’t know why. I would want 13 year old me to know that….you are loved, I am loved, we are ALL loved. It pains me to know that kids, I am referring to the many gay children taking their lives, do not feel loved. They are, we know that. They didn’t. At 13 words do matter. Words can kill. Life is hard, it is long, but if we could all just realize that letting people know we love them can really save their lives, well that would just be the most perfect realization of all. I Love You. What a life saving, life altering, perfect sentence. It has everything you and I need.

  483. Wow! My daughter will be 13 this December!! I like the commentor who said something about telling her 13 year old self to listen to her mother more!! But I think that I would also tell my 13 year old self to not want to grow up so fast!! Enjoy being young and the hair doesn’t need to perfect and the designer clothes don’t matter! You are beautiful just the way you are!!

  484. I don’t think I ever needed a post as badly as I needed one today. I’m only 20 and I’m in this stage where I constantly feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be in life, that I’m disappointing the people around me. But there are times, like when I read your blog, that I don’t feel that way anymore and I’m hopeful for the future.

    So I’d just tell my 13 year old self to always stay hopeful. Oh, and that Justin Timberlake will actually get MORE attractive.

  485. I don’t think I ever needed a post as badly as I needed one today. I’m only 20 and I’m in this stage where I constantly feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be in life, that I’m disappointing the people around me. But there are times, like when I read your blog, that I don’t feel that way anymore and I’m hopeful for the future.

    So I’d just tell my 13 year old self to always stay hopeful. Oh, and that Justin Timberlake will actually get MORE attractive.

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  487. I’d say, “Carrie, it’s not about what the world holds for you–it’s what you bring to it.”

  488. I would tell my 13 yr old self that… “In the world you might just be one person. But, to that one person you just might be the world”. Take each day and move forward-don’t forget to “Smile”:)

  489. I would tell my 13-year-old self not to let the bullies get to me, cause in a very short time you will raise above them and realize just how insecure they were, and how strong you became.

  490. I want to tell my 13 Year old me – one day your Mommy is not going to be here to tell you how beautiful you are but do you know what? You are going to be everything she thought you were – and you are going to have an even more beautiful girl of your own and be just as good a Mom as she was. I love you Mom.

  491. omg
    just beautiful kelle
    im sitting here reading this post and comments with tears dripping down my face. because everything everyone else said is so true for me. another ‘we are more alike then we are different’ moment.
    thank you for a truly heart inspired post.
    ~cathy

  492. I think that I would tell my 13 year old self that one day she will be the mother to ten beautiful souls and so not to worry if she isn’t among the “popular” girls in high school, because all that doesn’t matter at all, in the long run. Oh, and I would tell her to wear sunscreen and big hat whenever she goes out into the sun! And finally…I’d tell her to invest her babysitting money to buy stock in little start-up company called Microsoft.

  493. rik,
    really
    how did you get so lucky
    to raise such a wise(old soul)
    beautiful young lady as kelle?

  494. All I can say is, THANK YOU.

  495. I’m loving this, just what I needed to hear today. To my 13 year old self, you are beautiful and don’t let anyone tell you different.

  496. Always inspiring and empowering.

    I would tell my 13 year old self that “when someone compliments you, say thank you” accepting a compliment was and is probably one of the hardest things for me to do. No excuses, no ho hums, just, thank you.

  497. Thankfully my dad would always tell me 13 year old self to hold your head high! So grateful that he spoke into my life as a kid. Even though the soft whisper tries to steal that away, the foundation is there.

    Now I love walking to my own drum. The percussion over here is pretty amazing!

  498. About 5 years ago I was walking down the street when a young girl passed by, probably between 13-16 years old. She was beautiful and I looked into her eyes and saw the insecurity of youth.

    I should have turned around and told her “don’t let your looks define you, don’t let others judge you, be you and live well!” I wish someone would have told me that!

    My oldest daughter turns 13 in 6 days, and I have a 6 year old as well. It took me 35 years to gain confidence and trust in who I was…I’ll be darned if I’ll just sit back and let the world feed my daughters’ insecurities.

    From their birth, Husband and I have told them both that they are capable of greatness and they are amazing, just the way they are!

  499. “To LOVE who she is” even if her parents couldn’t afford the Jordache jeans….just dance!!

  500. I would tell my 13 year old self that it’s ok to not have a boyfriend, it kept me out of trouble in the long run.

  501. I’d say, “Hey 13! Not everyone is a size 2! And you’re just as beautiful in your size because you’re a great person! Be yourself and be fabulous!”
    Kelle, you are an inspiration, truly. YOU Rock it out of so many people and let me say we are all very thankful to have stumbled across you and your beautiful, real family!

  502. I would tell my 13-year old self that…

    Beauty is not defined by the colour of our hair, or the colour of our skin.

    It’s not defined by the clothes on our back, or the shoes that we wear.

    Beauty is definitely not defined by the friends that we have, or the money that we bear.

    Beauty IS defined by ‘our’ deep within, the open-mind on our shoulders, the warm kind heart that we share!

    Beauty IS defined by our generosity, our unconditional love, and the fact that we CARE!

    Kelle…what a beautiful post…thank you!!

  503. Thank you!!! I was so moved while reading this post. I would give that 13 year old HUGE hug. Tell her she was loved. Ride it out…she was in for an amazing journey.

  504. What would I say to my 13 yr old self? “What they think of you really isn’t THAT important.”

    Thanks for the thought provoking post :)

  505. Oh sweet 13, you are not to sensitive, you are not a mistake, you are special even if those who love you forget to say it. Stay on the path you are setting for yourself, do your best to block out the noise trying to tell you to just give up. You are headed towards an abundance of blessing adn life changing experinces. Now get over here and let me hug you tight.
    Thank you again Kelle for such soul toughing encouragment.

  506. HI Kelle, Thanks so much for making people stop and reflect…
    I would tell my 13 year old self to listen to Thank the greatest Mom and Dad who always told me that I was beautiful, perfect, and to be true to myself and just to be me not try to be what I saw that others were being or trying to be, I would never be them nor would I want to be them in time. I would look back and be so proud of the person I would became, today I am very proud that I chose to be myself, a happy wife of 30 years , a proud mother of 3 of the most amazing children in the world and a grandmother of 3 precious granddaughters, 1 handomesome grandson and one little tiny grapesize baby on the way… I try daily to install my knowledge of being yourself into them as my parents did for me.. Thank you for this amazing blog that I check out daily and even reread it to reflect… Your girls are beautiful.

  507. Beautiful post. Beautiful pictures.

    I would tell my 13 year old self to jump at every opportunity without fear.

  508. Kelle – i was only introduced to your blog less than a week ago…but i feel connected to you and your beautiful family and inspired everytime i read a post…which by the way, i look for like Christmas presents – so first, thank you for sharing your life. I would tell my 13 year old self: Babygirl, stop and smell the roses. Love YOU, you know exactly how – just believe that you do.

  509. This post is just amazingly inspiring. Thanks again for doing what you do, Kelle. You’re a special soul!

    I would tell me 13 year old self to smarten up and try harder in high school… it’s four years you’ll never get back, and it’s important to go well in that time because your future DOES depend on it. I’d also tell myself the hurt from my Mom taking off on my sister and I would slowly go away, and that I should strive to deal with the pain in a good and healthy way.

  510. Your words and photographs are stunning. Your blog inspires, and as I anxiously await my baby due in June, I give thanks for the inspiration you give!

  511. What a beautiful post, Kelle!

    I would tell my 13 year old self to hang in there and be strong and to just be yourself. 13 was probably the most difficult, awkward time in my life and thank goodness I had wonderful female role models that told me to “be true to myself” – even though it wasn’t easy.

  512. I would tell my 13-year-old self, “Your life is going to be amazing, joyous, and oh, so full. And oh yeah, these kids who won’t talk to you now? They are going to want to be your facebook friends years from now. And you are going to ‘friend’ them, because you’re not 13 anymore, and neither are they. People change and grow, and it’s a beautiful thing.”

  513. I would tell my 13-year-old self that I don’t have to be confined to a life of long pants and skirts just because I have skinny legs. I would say, “One day you will be a wife. A mom. You will be stronger than you’ve ever dreamed. Wear the short shorts.” :)

  514. I think we need to go through some of the things we’d rather avoid simply because they make us stronger and teach us that we can survive.

    Whatever I’d tell my 13-year-old self I should probably tell my 30-year-old self as well: Don’t WORRY. You can’t please everone no matter how hard you try, you’ll never look exactly like the image you have in your head and that’s okay because you’re beautiful the way you are, don’t waste yourself pining for Things when God has a Perfect Plan for your life.

    I could have a whole conversation, trying to persuade myself, but somehow I think I had to experience all those things for myself. Hopefully I’ll never stop learning and growing, and will be able to set a good example for my own children.

  515. Empowered…empowered to LOVE more! Empowered to capture LOVE on camera more! Empowered to write about LOVE more! Thank you Kelle!!

  516. As the mom of a little baby girl this post makes me anxious but empowered. I’m nervous for the days she doesn’t feel “good enough” but I’m already thinking of ways to make sure she feels like the most perfect thing in the world.

    I want to tell my 13 year old self that as you grow up confidence is sexy. Intelligence is beautiful. The size of your hips, breasts, stomach will change many times over the years but the only thing that matters is if you surround yourself with love.

  517. My 22 year old daughter, with down syndrome, has no problem with self esteem. I blogged about it here. http://aprilanecdotes.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-bachelorette-lindsay-lohan-and-april-meyers/ Great post. Susan

  518. Love this blog…
    I would tell my 13 year old self that I am the one that matters…it doesn’t matter what people thought of me in high school…cuz I should know deep down, all that matters is that I love myself!

  519. Oh so much to say to her! Here are some thoughts I have for her.

    Dear 13 year old Kelly Stout,

    LOVE YOURSELF!

    Don’t let the acne influence your confidence. People around you love you for you.

    You’re really lucky to have the family you have. Especially your parents. They love you unconditionally. And don’t worry, your sisters will become your best friends someday even though you guys don’t really wanna hang out together now.

    Stadia hightops are cool and teaching you a lesson instead of getting the Reeboks you wanted.

    Same goes for Cabbage Patch Kids. Mom is trying to teach you more about not following fads and being your own person.

    Keep playing soccer.

    Running drills are more about building your work ethic and character than about getting into shape like your coaches tell you.

    Josh Cohen is not worth your time. There are some nice guys in your future. And you’ll marry a really nice one.

    You’re making friends with people now that you’ll have forever.

    Keep playing sports; you’re missing a lot of girl drama you don’t know about.

    Floss everyday.

    Getting good grades is cool. Makes life easier.

    Don’t use your dad’s calling card to call your boyfriend in college. Trust me. Not a good idea.

    You’ll talk about the Grand Canyon hike for the next 25 years.

    Playing for the Blitz will be life changing for your character, for college and friendship building.

    Call your grandparents just to say hi.

    Go Knights. (hint, hint)

    You will be a mom when you’re 34. Please tuck that away and remember that.

    Love,
    Kelly H. (can’t give away who the “H” is yet)
    Age 36

  520. You are not fat! and you WILL survive all the drama in high school, graduate college, marry an amazing man, and have the most beautiful son so don’t give up!

    Or Avril says it better: Keep Holding On!

  521. Your mom really does know everything. Stop trying to prove her wrong, you’ll thank yourself later.

  522. I LOVE this post Kelle! now that I have a daughter these words mean more than ever. I would tell my 13 year old self the following:

    the best years are ahead of you, the acne will go away, you will find love, there will be some very rough roads ahead but you will rise to the occasion and come through them with dignity, you are beautiful inside and out, most of all to never forget to be kind.

  523. Wow Kelle, what an amazing post. I wish I could tell my thirteen year old self to really embrace myself, and to not shy away from people!

  524. PS You’ll never have a puppy and it’s okay.

    LMAO

  525. I would tell myself be prepared for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, through it all just love your loved ones and all will be ok.

    Thanks Kelle for always empowering.
    Carey

  526. Kelle,
    You have no idea how incredible your timing is. I spent all night with my KINDERGATNER snuggling close because there are girls who are mean to her at school. I was not prepared for this to start at age 6. I was having a very tough time and needed your blog post like nobody’s business.

    Thank you, Kelle, thank you.

  527. I would tell my 13 yr old self that being yourself and who you are makes you beautiful. Don’t worry about not having the latest fashions it’s no the clothes that make you it’s your heart that makes you.

  528. i would tell my 13 year old self that i am beautiful the way i am and not to care so much about fitting in with the popular crowd. their life is not as good as it appears and they are self-conscious and insecure too.

  529. I would tell myself ..

    #1 Do cool stuff that you like. Learn things that you like to do…not just what everyone else is doing.
    #2 Don’t spend money you don’t have
    #3 Wait…just wait!
    Lisa

  530. Embrace your red hair. It makes you different and memorable.

  531. I would tell her:
    Learn to love and be true to who you are.

  532. I always wonder why we hear so much about your father and not your mom. I was disapoointed not to see pictures of her along with the others you have posted today. I am confident and I have lots of self-esteem, thanks to my mother.

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  534. Cute necklace, amazing photos, inspiring message!

  535. I would tell my 13 year self this…God made you an original, so stop trying to be a copy!

  536. I wish I knew what to tell my 13 year old self. At 26, I still don’t fully embrace myself and I wish I could!

    This post is why I love your blog. You inspire me, and I’m sure many others. So even though at 26 I don’t have any encouraging words for my 13 year old self, this post has inspired me to try and find some.

  537. I would tell my 13-year old self, “Listen to your Mom, she is very wise, truly loves you and she really does ‘know best'”

  538. To my 13 yr old self…I would say that all will be OK with you!

  539. I would tell my 13 year old self that you don’t always have to like everyone but you have to be kind to others.

    I cant stop crying at this post, Kelle. Tears are literally streaming down my face. Thank you Thank you thank you.

    My 7 year old has been struggling in school, not academically, but socially and emotionally and saying that no one wants to play w/her. Its literally breaking my heart. This keeps it all in perspective. She is a wonderful girl, I just need to keep reminding her.

  540. I have only commented one other blog, but I felt so compelled to do so here. Your words inspire me everyday. As many others, there are so many things I would like to tell my 13 year old self. Mainly, I would tell her to never lose herself to the weight of the world. Don’t give into the ugly, the false or the demeaning. You don’t have to lower your standards and give your body to others to feel better…it doesn’t work. Dance to your own song…paint your own picture….be the girl God has planned. Love others and above all else…love yourself.

  541. I would tell my 13 year old self that life doesn’t turn out as you want. Friendships fade, people come and go, but the life that you end up living is exactly where you are suppose to be. The people that satay are the good ones, the ones you know will always be there. Never regret!

    Thank you for your blog, and letting me into your life.

  542. I would take my 13-year-old-self and hug her so tightly and tell her that It. Will. Be. OK. That soon enough she will find people that love her unconditionally for who she is and they will WANT to be her friends. That the bullies don’t matter, and that it is their misfortune that their own insecurities manifest themselves in a hurtful way. That she is beautiful, even with the braces and the gangly legs, and she is WORTHY of love and friendship. I would look her in the eye and tell her that someday she will look back on her horrendous middle school years and feel sorry for the bullies because they didn’t know any other way than to take their anger at the world out on the easiest target. Most importantly, I would tell her that someday she will forgive herself for letting the bullies wreck havoc on her 13-year-old world, because she didn’t know what else to do at the time. The forgiveness takes a long time, but I would have my 13-year-old self look at my 26-year-old self and see that the years have doubled, but the self-confidence has soared way beyond that. And then I’d hug my 13-year-old self one last time and repeat that It. Will. Be. OK.

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  544. What I wish my 13 year old self knew: Take a breath. It’ll all work out. Stop trying to take the safe route and go with your gut. Things always work out better for you when you don’t have a plan. You’re a good person so quit beating yourself up.

  545. I would tell my 13 year old self to be patient. Life happens as it will and you should enjoy the moments of joy and embrace the moments of sorrow as they will teach you more than you can imagine. And to always believe in yourself, even when others do not.

    Thank you for the beautiful blog you’ve created Kelle – it is a special part of my day!

  546. When I was 13 I began working at a summer camp- Camp ASCCA- Alabama’s Special Camp for Children and Adults. When I was 13, I worked because it was fun- but if I could go back and I would tell myself to journal about each special experience I encountered that summer and the many summers after because those are the experiences that helped shape who I am today. Because of that ONE summer I am know a Special Education teacher at a Junior High, because of that summer I am now married to the love of my life and we have a beautiful baby girl who is about to be 1, because of that summer I have TONS of friends that I would otherwise not have met. I just wish I would have journaled about all of my experiences.
    LOVE YOUR BLOG- LOVE YOUR PICTURES!

  547. I guess I really needed to hear all these words in your post this morning because I started crying at about the second sentence, haven’t stopped and still can’t even put a finger on exactly why. But it so moved me. I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but thank you, for the millionth time!

    Photos are AMAZING!!

    What would I have told myself at 13 — “this too shall pass… stay grounded, stay focused, and do what you love.”

    Thanks for all the reminders this year — to do what I love!

    Angela

  548. I would tell my 13-year old self that no one can MAKE you feel like you’re not worth it. Only you can ALLOW them to.

  549. I would say just be strong and confident. Don’t do things that you know aren’t right just becuase you are scared they might talk about you.

    Loved your post.
    ~Jada

  550. I would say just be strong and confident. Don’t do things that you know aren’t right just becuase you are scared they might talk about you.

    Loved your post.
    ~Jada

  551. I would tell my 13 year old self to not worry so much (or at all?) about what others think of you because chances are they’re immersed in their own lives/dramas anyways and you are just a passing thought on their mind. I still tell myself this when I make a mistake a work (like sending an email without the attachment!

  552. Second hardest at work cry…you owned the first as well.

    I would tell my 13 year old self (and do tell my 13 year old daughter) to stay above the fray of typical 13 year old, mean girl, insecurity based nastiness. To remain her sweet, caring self. Be kind to everyone, see beauty in everyone and in the process, you will see/feel the beauty in yourself. Just as you are.

  553. Thank you so much for posting. I wish I could go back to about my 15 year old self and say a few things!

  554. I am 30 and I am finally getting comfortable in my own skin… I used to think my hips were to big and my pink cheeks were not pretty… I used to want to be taller and thinner… I used to want everything I did not have…and now I know that beauty comes in so many shapes, sizes, colors, I know now that I am beautiful not for how I look but for how unique and special I am, I know now that my hips are the ones that make me a woman (men don’t have hips!) and my pink cheeks are only the reflection of all the energy and love that flows thru me and reflects in others.
    Now I would tell my 13 year-old self: “Be proud of who you are because you are amazing, be kind to yourself because you don’t have to be better than anyone, just be you and embrace all that it means, ’cause you rock baby”
    CONFIDENCE IS BEAUTY… Amen to that!

  555. We are expecting our second child and yesterday we found out she has downs syndrome, I feel completely numb. After reading your blog I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t know how long it is going to take but I can’t wait until I get there. I can’t wait to meet our little girl, but it scares me whats to come. Thank you for having this blog because now I know that having these feelings and reactions are normal. I’m not the only one. I wish I had a person who went through this to talk to, I’m scared but also SO excited for our future. Where is my light?

    What I wish I knew when I was 13 was that my life will turn out the complete opposite way I expected it, but it will be even more beautiful then I could ever imagine.

  556. Oh how beautiful… <3 Thank you for this Kelle, because to me you are one of my mental models of the ‘perfect’ woman and mother. Thanks for reminding me that every women is perfect just the way she is.

    I would tell my thirteen year old self that she IS GOOD ENOUGH… that she is not inferior to everyon else. That she is beautiful and worthwhile. But she would have so much trouble believing it. At 17 she still does!

  557. This is a beautiful thought-provoking and hopeful post. I would tell my 13-year-old self: to cleanse and moisturize every day, not to cut my own bangs, that computers would become a major part of my future, to consider graphic design, to blow the whistle on that teacher who filled me with math anxiety and wrote me off because I was a non-basketball-playing girl, to add strenth training on top of ballet classes, to listen more and to do nice things for all the good people around me. Now to go tell those things to my 10-year-old daughter…

  558. Beautiful!!! Kelle, you have reminded me what it is so easy to forget-to thine own self be true..YES! I struggle with this at 37…I definitely struggled with it at 13. I would tell my 13 year old self to be true to what you believe, don’t let the need to be a part of the cool girl group compromise your integrity. Being different is cool! I have a 12 year old daughter and your post just reminded me that I need to work harder to instill this in her. I see her heart and how she feels everything and I know the years ahead will hold heartache and it kills my soul, but I also want her to know that her sensitivity will be what draws people to her as she grows. I don’t want her to be hardened, I want her to embrace it. Whew! You touched my heart today, obviously. Thank you for the reminder!

  559. I wish I could go back & tell my 13 year old self to listen to my mom because she really is right & knows what she is talking about!

  560. I absolutely love this post… everything about it. I think I’d tell my 13 year old self to relax. That she is beautiful without even trying. That the role she plays in the universe is hers and hers alone, so own it.

    On another note, I think you’d love two things: First, I worked with a photographer in my city to photograph 15 high school girls I teach each week. I wanted to show them how beautiful they were… The experience was more than I can begin to describe. I know you’re so busy, but I couldn’t help but think of how you’d love a project like this: http://anniesbutterworth.blogspot.com/2010/10/for-girls.html. Wouldn’t it be something if we could somehow get talented photographers across the country to show how beautiful “real” girls and women are? Amazing.

    Second, you must listen to this song by Bruno Mars, “Just the Way You Are.” You will love it!

    Thanks for being an inspiration. Your girls are so incredibly blessed.

  561. Thank you! I’ve needed to hear everyone of those words…they truly spoke to me and I can’t wait to take on the world in a new light!

    What would I tell my 13 year old self? Enjoy life, enjoy being you, ignore the comments around you and live life to the fullest. Life will all work out in the end no matter what you are wearing, if your apart of the in crowd or not…you will have the most beautiful, wonderful, perfect life because its yours! All yours, something you have made just for yourself!

  562. I would tell my 13 year old self exactly what you would tell yours. That I am amazing, I am special, and I don’t have to be like everyone else. Know what you believe in, have an opinion, and don’t be afraid to stand up for it! No one has to agree with you.

    I’d also tell myself to enjoy every day with my family. I took them for granted, and now we live almost 600 miles apart and I might see them twice a year. I have a twin sister, and I just had my first baby, and I wish more than anything I lived in the same town as her! But growing up I took it all for granted.

    I love your blog. Love. It.

  563. Right ON! This is AWESOME! I wish I could tell my 13 year old self that high school ISN’T the best time of your life, that having someone else love me isn’t nearly as important as loving myself, and that not standing up for someone is just as bad as being the bully.

  564. Beautiful, inspiring post!
    I would ask my 13 year old self ‘in ten years time… will you remember this?’ Because bad hair days, boy troubles, bad days at school are all forgotten and we only look back and remember the beautiful moments.

  565. I would tell her to wait….to grow up slowly learning who she is on her own, not trying to be grown and inventing a persona that does not exist because this woman, the one typing this, is so much better and cooler than who that 13 year old thought she wanted to be. Thank You Kelle for reminding me who I am so I can help my daughter find out who she is…..in her time.

  566. seriously Kelle… I am speechless at those beautiful words and pictures…. Why do we get so caught up in all the “stuff”. I still at 33 struggle with it… I want to swim against the current so that I can model to my sweet girls that it is ok!

    I would tell my 13 year old self.

    “Remember that you are loved by God; you were created perfect in His image. You have a family that loves you to pieces. When life gets hard know and trust that God is good, all the time, even when He takes you down roads that you would rather not travel. Seek to follow Christ as you navigate the years ahead of you. Growing up can be hard and I know that when you are in hard situations the best thing to trust in is God’s word. Your heart can confuse you, your friends can mislead you and the world will sway you with false promises and hopes BUT God’s word will always stand true. Your life was made for a great purpose.”

    Oh.. If only I knew that all then….

  567. I spent years striving not to disapoint my parents (and they weren’t even hard on me!). I would tell my 13 year old self that my parents love me no matter what, they are not disapointed in me, but instead I should embrace thier pride. I would tell myself to worry LESS about what THEY think because it is not earned love-it’s unconditional. I would also tell myself, STOP BEING SO AWKWARD and smile more-REAL SMILES.

  568. I would tell my 13 year-old self…

    1. You are not fat. You will grow into that body and it will be glorious.

    2. You will not marry that boy, so don’t waste your tears on him. It is not forever love, do not cry anymore.

    3. There is no need to hide the truth about your family. It makes you unique, special, and will take you places other people’s lives won’t.

  569. Beautiful as always! What would I tell my 13 yr old self?

    1. Listen to mom, she’s right, you’re perfect the way you are.

    2. Be the person you want to be, not who everyone else wants you to be.

    3. Don’t let another person’s opinions bother you. You have opinions that others don’t like either.

    4. Confidence over shines any bad hair day, bad makeup day, outbreak of pimples, etc. Embrace what you’ve been given and run with it!

    5. Brown eyes are perfect … you can use any color eyeshadow you want!

    6. Make time for self reflection … time just for you. It’s essential to becoming an confident woman.

    I had a lot of self confidence issues growing up, so this really hits home. It took a while for me to love my brown eyes, love my mousy brown hair, and love my freckles. Now? My confidence shines through … and I get nothing but compliments! I love me for me!

  570. Love this blog Kelle! :)
    Every little girl goes through these “ackward” years but we pull through and become better women for it!
    I wish I would have known at 13…that even though you hit a growth spurt and your a good foot taller than everyone else, your still beautiful :)

    Keep up the excellent writing :)

  571. I would tell my 13 year old self that the journey will be long and hard, but worth it. That the “rest of them” may never understand, but that’s fine. Your strength is what makes you beautiful. You know the path, even when it’s seemed that you have strayed.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win! The necklace is beautiful.

  572. Great post. loved it, so true.

    I would tell my 13 year old self, You are smart, beautiful and kind….focuse on what matters to YOU. Love yourself and happiness will be yours.

  573. lol @ jorie kutzy and really you rocked the mole. HILARIOUS.

    ok so back to the great message this post conveys…

    13 yr old self – dont be in a hurry to grow up. love and support your girlfriends because although sometimes 3 is a crowd if you keep the other 2 close you will have friends for life (sorry about that one). stop trying and just be. boys arent worth the trouble.

  574. I would tell my 13 yr old self to be You- because no one else can. You are unique and beautiful :)

  575. I would tell my 13 year old self – it’s all going to be ok.

  576. To my 13 year old self: “I’m gonna need you to trust me on this one. Boys don’t matter. Stop wasting your time worrying about them. You will have a boyfriend someday when the time is right. Until then enjoy spending as much time with your family as possible. It’s ok if you still want to play with your brothers and cousins and act goofy with your girlfriends. Go to as many sleepovers as possible! And don’t let up on Mom until she lets you have one. And by the way, you will eventually lose the extra baby fat once you find an athletic activity that you enjoy. Until then, no one cares what you look like in a bathing suit! So do as many cannon balls and jack knifes into the pool as humanly possible! And make sure that someone is photographing everything because you will not want to forget a single moment and may need some visual reminders of all of the fun you had when you’re older.”

  577. Wow was really hoping to read this without crying, but when you write Kelle, that is not possible! I love the necklace and I think for once, I will order it for myself. I need reminding sometimes that it is ok to be me. I am slowly getting to that place where I accept myself where I am. Thanks for the great post to start a great weekend!!

  578. This post is beauty. The words, the girls, the women. Beauty. I would tell my self not to sweat the mean girls, don’t worry about boys because soon I’ll meet a MAN who will love you forever and give you the most amazing 4 kids who rock your socks off. I have three daughters who I’m trying to teach to be confident and this post definitely inspires me.
    {from a mom who has always lacked confidence but is trying to be better }

  579. I would say “you are worth so much more than you think you are. And, you really CAN do anything and BE anyone you want to be. Do what is right and true, always”.

  580. Amazing post! Your words are so beautiful. As for what I wish I knew at 13…I wish I knew that it didn’t matter what other people thought and that I shouldn’t care as much, that every girl is beautiful. The biggest thing that I’ve learned is that you need to love yourself first. After that, life will fall into place.

  581. I am 32-years-old and just the other day my mom gave me some good advise. She said, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” I wish she would have told me that when I was 13.

  582. Even at sixty, it is not too late to ‘Thine own self be true’. Thank you for the encouragement.

  583. Thanks for the reminder. I would tell my 13 yr old self to not care what others think. Much harder said than done..even still.

  584. My new most favorite post :)
    Thanks, I have a lot to get ready for. My little girl is 21 months

  585. I would tell my 13 year old self that there is life after junior high and high school and to not let the popular kids make you feel bad. Just remember that you are a daughter of God and His love for you is ever present. 13 is such a hard age to be, but with people like you and me and hundreds of other confident women here to guide our young girls, they will make it through just fine! :)

  586. this post made me tear up in a joyous way…i am sending it to my 15 year old sister to read. i think i know what i am getting her for christmas too…

  587. THANK YOU! I needed that reminder. What I would tell my 13 year old self is exactly what my Mama told me, ” Be who you are and say what you feel because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.”-Dr.Suess
    Love to you

  588. What I want to tell my Niece (who lost her mom Z@ 8months old… SHe is now 11– Be true to thine own self… I thinks these words are for her moreso than me.. I wwant her to never forget that. She’ll need to read today’s blog, Kelle, I will save it and she’ll read it one day and we will cry… I will help her improve on her self esteem and today you reminded me I need to continue to do so… I would love that necklace for her, to explain the importance of it.. thanks for today’s post.. It woke me up!

  589. as i sit here in my fat jeans because i’m bloated and my hair in a ratty bun because i haven’t had time to shower in 2 days and my puffy makeup-less eyes, i couldn’t have felt uglier. until i read your post. and now i feel like i could rock this oversized pink sweatshirt with no bra and greasy skin anywhere because i own it. and i feel beautiful inside so why not show that outside? thank you! and what would i tell my 13 yr old self? first of all don’t use orange blush to cover up blemishes all over your face unless you want to look like you are snookie from the jersey shore. but more importantly, even if you do use orange blush and look like you are wearing a mask in your school photo, you are so much more than than a pretty orange face. you can be whatever you dream of.

  590. what an amazing blog Kelle! I was one of those girls who hated themselves growing up. I am a 6 ft tall woman & have been since I was in 8th grade. Now for a young girl, as you can imagine that’s difficult. Being taller than almost all students & even alot of the teacher was a nightmare. I was picked at & made fun of. I also was a child who didn’t lose that “baby fat” for quite some time so basically I was tall & round :) I didn’t have boyfriends because of it until highschool when I finally started thinning out & so everyone said I was lesbian. Even my step mother made fun of me. it was so hard.

    If I could tell my 13 year old self one thing, it would be “you are beautiful, when you’re older other woman will be jealous of your heigth. You won’t have to worry about weight as much & your curves will be beautiful. Most of all, there are tall men out there! & they will love you & look perfect standing next to you!” [ my fiance’ is 6’8 :) & i can finally wear cute shoes! ]

    Thank you Kelle, again.. your blog has made my day. I will be posting the link on my fb today so all woman can feel beautiful for exactly who they are!

    & by the way, we are celebrating a “half birthday” this week for my son! Ofcoarse, got the idea from Lainey! :)

  591. I would tell my 13 year old self that this to shall pass. And that it will be OK. It’s OK if you everyone doesn’t like you, and remember the girls/boys who make fun of you are hurting too. I would tell her that everything will work out and your life will be wonderful. To learn from the “mean girls” and to let what they say just roll off because it shall pass. And you will come out stronger, happier and more blessed then you could have ever thought! It will be OK, just love yourself, and this too shall pass. It will pass into something beyond your wildest dreams!

  592. I would tell my 13 year old self this. Baby girl there are rough times ahead. Nothing you can’t handle and nothing you can’t get through as you go through. But on the days when it seems there are nothing but tears, remember this…every night will still come. And with it, the promise of a new day, a new beginning, and the chance to write a little more of your story.

  593. Love this post. I would tell myself to never regret the past. Regret what you don’t do in the future. Pretty is as pretty does. It’s not the size of your pants or your bra size that make men love your or like you. It’s the beauty within.
    This post has helped me think of what I want to say to my girls when they are 13!!

  594. Fantastic post. Seriously.
    If I could tell my 13 year old self something, it would be: you don’t have to sleep with boys for them to think you are pretty. You are beautiful and worth so much more. If that all they want, you don’t want them.

  595. I would tell my 13 year old self something that was said to me by a friend’s father while I was in college:

    Know who you are.
    Be who you are.
    Like who you are.

    And how those three sentences burnt deep into my mind.

    Thank you Kelle for working the positive. Our girls need to be empowered to love themselves in today’s society. We all need to be reminded to embrace the “gifts” that God has chosen for us – be that our gifts are ringlets, beautiful curves, or sharp and creative minds.

    -Jennifer from Annapolis

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  597. wow. beautiful & encouraging words. i wish i would just truly have known my worth & value. and truly understand that beauty is found within.

  598. I would tell my 13 year old self, to take in all those moments with my Mama and make them so very special, as I would not have her forever as my 13 year old self thought.

  599. Gosh, your posts are just beyond amazing!! As a new mom to a sweet baby girl I think of all (aka worry about) these things already….

    Looking back now, I would tell my 13 year old self that the clothes you wore or how high you feathered your bangs wouldn’t matter in a couple of years. That the people that made fun of you were insecure about themselves and only said those things to feel better about their own flaws. It is amazing how you think your mom didn’t really know much when she told you that things would work out for you, that this too shall pass…it turns out she did know a thing or two!!!

  600. I think I would tell my 13 year old self to always live up to your potential. Never stop trying to be what you know you are capable of being. It is so easy to fall into a routine at 13 to follow those that you are around and to act like them even if you know that is not who you are. So I would tell myself to live up to my own potential, it doesn’t matter if these people don’t like you because it is their loss because they don’t know what they are missing.

  601. I have never felt more confident and real as I do today, as a wife, a mother. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self to embrace what makes me different, not what makes me the same. To put down the hair spray and let myself just be me!

  602. Oh, how I love this post! You are a wonderful writer and I enjoy your blog so much! If I could talk to my 13 year old self, I would tell her “Do what YOU want, what makes YOU happy and not what others think should make you happy”
    Have a great weekend!

  603. Beautiful.

    Self, “Listen–It gets better–it really does. You will find someone who loves you just as you are, and he’ll help you learn to love yourself.”

  604. Beautiful post, as usual, Kelle. I would tell my 13-year-old self to “Stand up straight, beautiful girl, what you hate about yourself is what makes you beautifully you. You’ll eventually grow into your feet (kinda), and your braces will come off some day. Your height will make people jealous one day, and not just you self-conscious. But none of that matters anyway, be who you are and care nothing for what others say or think of you. Live for an audience of One.”
    Now, where I would have bothered listening to myself is a whole other story…
    Thanks, Kelle.

  605. If I could look my 13 year old self in the eye once again I would whisper in her ear, “Love yourself more than you are trying to get others to love you. Listen to your heart and do what is right. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are important. Never let anyone make you feel like you can’t be you. Stick up for yourself. Take a deep breath and love this life God has given you.”

    I wish I could go back to 13 and have that advice whispered in my ear. It has taken me a long time to get over my mistakes but with God’s love I am learning that I can only be me and need to love every last bit of who I am so that my confidence will drip off of me and dance into my daughter’s heart.

    Dance in confidence ladies! Love every bit of you!

  606. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self to really listen to my parents….they really did know what they were talking about!

  607. I would tell me 13 year old self to be kind to yourself, your going to make mistakes…big ones…and those are the things that you are going to learn the most from and the times that will define the woman that you become.

    Gorgeous post – thanks!

  608. I would tell her that I love her… exactlly as she is.

  609. I would tell my 13 year old self to quit crying about how tall I am or how big my chest was… just because you look different than the other girls doesn’t mean you won’t be loved or accepted. I would tell myself that you don’t need a boy to make you feel pretty, a friend to make you feel loved, or even an elder to validate you… all you need is a RESPECT and LOVE for yourself. God made you perfect little 13 year old and you are the exact creation that he intended you to be!

  610. And that made me cry. Because I want my daughter to know the same things so that at 13 she rocks her wonderful, beautiful, funny, brilliant and precious self. Thank you.

  611. And that made me cry. Because I want my daughter to know the same things so that at 13 she rocks her wonderful, beautiful, funny, brilliant and precious self. Thank you.

  612. I would tell my 13 year old self to slow down, not to rush.

  613. I literally took a self portrait on Tuesday of this week, and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I joined the photo club 365project, and we post a picture every day. I grew up with curly hair, freckles, braces and curves, and wanted to be just the opposite of that, and when I posted that picture, I had to have a talk with the child inside, and tell her that everything was OK. She turned out to be a strong, confident woman. If only I knew then what I know now. If only I could convince my daughter of her beauty, both inside and out. We are all different, and all beautiful in our own beautiful way. P.S. I have only used Dove for years. Love it!!

  614. I wanna start by saying great post…Almost brought me to tears. That necklace is beautiful. If I could tell my 13 year old self something…it would be to keep going, to keep looking up, to keep fighting and to just be who you are. I would tell myself to be the best ‘me’ I can be, regardless of how much I weigh or how many pimples I have. I would also tell myself that there is happiness out there for you and you will find it…so put a smile on that beautiful face and face the world and just be you! Ok…so apparently I have a ton of stuff to tell my 13 year old self  Thanks Kelle. I needed to read a post like this today…

  615. I would tell my 13 year old self that it’s okay to look different from everybody, that I don’t have to blend in with everybody and change my personality to match what’s around me, TO BE MY OWN PERSON AND TO BE PROUD OF IT!!!

  616. Your words are wise, your family is beautiful and your heart is full! Every time I leave this blog, I’ve cried, gotten the chills, laughed out loud or vowed to enjoy the small things just a little bit more.

    Thank you for your insights. I’m so grateful I stumbled upon your blog…I love it.

    Julie

  617. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self: “Who cares what you look like, whether you have a boyfriend, or if your best friend sits next to someone else at lunch one day? Life won’t be perfect, but it will be good…oh, so good. We will love working out, not because of how we look, but how it makes us feel…invincible. We will have found the love of our life who loves every wrinkle, every fat cell, every freckle on our body. That same best friend is still our best friend who will meet us in the middle of nowhere, Maryland to go shopping for our wedding dress and give us the best girls weekend of our lives! We’ve learned that in time, God perfects everything, even if “perfect” is not how we would describe it. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Live on!”

  618. Another poetic, beautiful empowering entry Kelle – Thank you!

    I would have told myself, believe in you – you are strong, beautiful and perfect! I would also tell myself, to chill out and that it’s all gonna be ok!

  619. Amazing. Every word. Thank you so much for this. I feel like I want to shout it out to the world. To every girl that was as painfully shy as I was as a kid. What would I tell my 13 yr old self? Simply “you are beautiful”….”hold your head up high”
    Thanks for being you, Kelle. Really…your words will help so many, I know it.
    xo
    Kris

  620. WOW!!! Crying!!!! What I wish I could tell myself??? I wish I could tell myself to me myself, enjoy who I am, trust myself and believe in myself. Love who I am and that one day 13 will be gone and I will have the rest of my life and 13 is such a small amount of time and dont doubt yourself. I would NEVER go back and do 13 over again, but it really was a growing period. Bless you Kelle and all your beauty!!!

  621. I would tell myself to follow your heart, wear what you want, please only yourself!

  622. I would tell my 13 year old self not to give in to peer pressure. Do what you want to do, not what you think other people want you to do.

    Love your blog!

  623. As I cuddle my newest little girl to my chest (she’s 4 weeks old today!) This post spoke to me! Thank you!

    I would tell my 13 year old self… your perfect just the way you are.. you don’t need to try to fit into your sisters style! You have your own that is wonderful!

  624. To my 13 year old self…Don’t worry so much about what other people think, they don’t matter in the long run. What does matter is what you think of yourself-make yourself proud!

  625. so much beauty in this post.

    i wish i could have told my 13 year old self that becoming a curvy lady is sexy. don’t wear oversized sweatshirts to hide those curves. lovelovelove them like there’s no tomorrow.

  626. I would grab my thirteen year old self by the shoulders, look me in the eye and declare with love and conviction “You are beautiful, there is no other you! Don’t let anyone tell you differently and know how very much you are worth!”

  627. I wish I could tell my 13-year-old self that the guy I thought was sooo amazing and I would just die if I did not someday date would still be living with his parents years after high school with no job, while a true man who loves me for me was waiting for me when I left home and discovered who I really was.

  628. Oh my gosh…this post, so inspiring and beautiful and heartfelt, along brings up memories I’ve tried to trash and burn for years. Doesn’t work. They stick with you. I HATED middle school. You couldn’t pay me $1 million to repeat it and I am NOT bluffing! There has never been a time in my life when I felt so alone, so ugly, so mediocre, so….13. If I could sit that girl down here is what I would say:

    1. You will outgrow this ugly duckling stage – you won’t always be a toothpick with chicken legs, the acne will go away and someday you will smile big for the camera because your mom is going to work hard to pay for braces in a few years.

    2. Those boys that you desperately want to like you but don’t – after high school most of them will still be single and sport a beer gut. So pay no attention to their merciless teasing. Plus, there is an AMAZING man you will meet in college. So just wait.

    3. Not making cheerleader and being one of the popular girls is NOT the end of the world – you will meet a group of girls that love you for you, and they will stick by your side no matter what.

    4. Your mom is right pretty much all of the time. Really.

    5. The world is your oyster. Ride the waves right now, because the shining beach that you land on is worth the wait.

    Thank you Kelle for allowing me to put into words what I have carried around for so long! I feel a weight lifted just sharing this with you and your readers.

    XOXO
    Erin

  629. I would tell my 13 year old self to embrace the early development, be proud of who I am. To realize that others will tear you down because they feel bad about themselves and need a way to make them look or feel better. I would accept myself and not hide away in clothes that were too big. I would just sit back and be happy with who I was/am. Acceptance. Is. Beauty.

  630. To my 13-year old self, I would say, “Embrace your natural curls, go by Elizabeth instead of Liz since you prefer it, and as crazy as she makes you sometimes, listen to your mother. She is wonderful, she was 13 once too and trust me – she gets it. Oh – and when you’re offered Grateful Dead tickets two years from now, take them instead of selling them. It will be the last concert before Jerry dies.”

  631. I.LOVE.THIS.POST!!!!! I am going to have my 14-yr-old daughter read it for sure. It says all the things I want her to know but she wont’t listen to it from me because I am her mom. I wish I could tell her (and my 13-year-old-self) to stop wasting so much time worrying about what others think and realize it just doesn’t matter! All that matters is learning to be happy with yourself and love who you are. It has taken me my whole life to get that and I am still working on it. I hope my daughter realizes it much sooner. Thank you,thank you,thank you Kelle! You are my fave blogger of all time:)

  632. I would tell my 13 year old self, that hated being a girl, that being a woman, a wife, a mother is the most amazing and full-filling journey in life!

  633. I would tell myself to embrace those frizzy bangs!!

  634. This is a tough one. I may have told myself that food has no power unless granted such, and that that control game — which seems so satisfying at the time — is really quite empty when you realize everything else you sacrifice and miss out on when you get sucked in.

    But then again, if I had never gone through all of those challenges, I wouldn’t be the confident, secure woman I am today, having struggled through and learned from that experience.

    On second thought, I think I’d tell my 13-year-old self that the blue eyeliner stolen from mom will still be a favorite almost 20 years later, even though it’s much tougher now to find an appropriate time and place to wear it. But you’ll still rock it every now and then, because you love it.

  635. I wish someone would’ve told me it was cool to be uncool. Be who you are…how God sees you.

  636. Kelle, all the women and girls in the photos are positively stunning!!! I would tell my thirteen year old self that it was all right there inside of me dying to get out…just to be patient and persistent and that diamond would shine so bright and strong. It just takes time to find right cut to make it shine! πŸ˜€

  637. I would tell my 13 year old self that true love, and true beauty, come from within. They are not things that you can buy or are given to you by another. They are yours to nurture and grow, and show the world.

  638. Thank you, I needed this today. It was Birthday #34 for me yesterday, and my BFF thought she’d be funny and wish me a “Happy 35th”.

    I had to catch my breath at the sound of that. It’s so close to FORTY, and by FORTY my little girl will be close to ten and there are days that I dread her getting older and going through those terrible adolescent days I remember struggling through. Ugh, how can we make it easier for our own love bundles? That is one of the things I have vowed to make easier for them.

    and so I thank you for this post, it is as simple as “To Thine Own Self Be True”. This will be my start point, I’m printing this post and tucking it away in a safe place!

  639. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self that everything I need to be happy is already inside of me – that I don’t need validation from my parents, friends, or anyone else to let it shine.

  640. To my 13 year old self who had just been told in the late 80’s that her Dad had AIDS I would say–don’t be scared. Talk about it. Dare to imagine a time when you would know of TONS of kids with gay parents…and it would even be considered NORMAL. Can you imagine? Just be strong, you will get through it. Love him the best you can and grow to be PROUD of who he was. And 13 yr old self? Don’t be afraid to NOT laugh at derogatory AIDS & gay jokes–it’s ok–just walk away. It compromises your character to laugh with them when you don’t think it’s funny.

    Life is awesome 13 yr old self. Dive in and enjoy!

  641. Love those pictures! The women are so very real.

    -Lela

  642. I would tell my 13 year old self that there is more to life then this. No matter what anyone else says, you are a strong and beautiful woman. Love yourself and others will follow suit. Be yourself and no one can tell you you are wrong

  643. Such a great message. Love the Dove self esteem ads.

    There is so much that I would tell my 13yr old self. I think the thing I needed to hear the most back then was to be confident in myself no matter what.

  644. I would tell my 13 yr old self to always be yourself and to always be comfortable in the skin you’re in, you’re beautiful the way you are no matter what people say! You’re blog speaks volumes, I wish I could share it with my high school classes! Love it. Thanks so much

  645. Beautiful post, Kelle. I wish that I could explain depression to my thirteen year old self and urge her to speak up about how she was feeling. I spent far too many years pretending to be happy when, with some help, I could have actually been happy.

  646. Beautiful post, Kelle. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog, it is so powerful and inspiring! I would tell my thirteen year old self to speak up and not to be afraid to say what you are thinking; that you have a beautiful spirit and a beautiful mind.

  647. Love this post (second to Nella’s birthstory)!! I would tell my thirteen year old self: You are strong, smart and beautiful. You will fall in love many more times …and those loves will be so much more meaningful. Follow your own path and enjoy yourself!

  648. Beatiful post. I think every woman needs to be reminded of those things.

    I wish I could tell my thirteen year old self that things get better! The drama of teenage years will go away. I wish I could tell her that she has so much potential and so much going for her.

  649. I’d tell my 13yr old self to love your body! It doesn’t last forever and you should celebrate it!
    And have some fun!

  650. I have a little 5 month old singing to herself behind me in the exersaucer and to be honest…thinking about her as a 13 year old going through tough times just makes me cry…so I guess my advice to her is not in words but in action…b/c I just want to hug her right now and tell her it’ll all be okay. Funny how love works. Amazing how love works. Thanks for the awe-inspiring blog…once more. :)

  651. If I could say one thing to my 13-year old self, it would be this: “you dont have to do what all of your friends are doing to “fit in”. Be yourself. They will love you for who you really are on the inside”.

    I would’ve saved myself from bad habits and unhappiness if I knew then what I know now.

    Love this post Kelle.

  652. Beautiful post as always, Kelle. I would tell my 13 year old self to be strong and prepared for the years ahead. That you will run into cruel people and they will try to bring you down, but you are better than them and what they think and say and one day they will be coming to you for your help and support. I would tell myself that you are beautiful, smart, kind and powerful and to keep my head up!

  653. What an amazing blog! your girls are so cute and full of life..you have such an amazing life ahead of you hun! Keep up the positive/loving/smiley posts because they put a smile on the rest of us and make us appreciate life

    xoxo follow my blog!

  654. Tears.
    Touching words. Beautiful faces. Lots of Love.

    I will tell my 13 year-old child:
    To be confident, grateful, and to always remember to love and be loved.

    Thank you.
    You have such a gift……of inspiring and motivating people. And it’s just the beginning. You are getting better and better. :)

  655. I’d tell my 13 year old self not to worry…she will be loved and she will love. That it is never as bad as it seems, and her future is bright.

  656. This post was beautiful. I don’t usually comment, but this one touched me in a big way.

    I teach junior high. I teach 13 and 14 year old girls every day. I watch the pressure they put on themselves and that society puts on them to fit in, to be pretty, to be thin, to be smart, to be what a boy wants you to be. I watch these girls struggling to figure out who they are, what they are, and what they stand for. I see so much doubt and self loathing on faces on a daily basis. It breaks my heart.

    I want to grab these girls and tell them how beautiful they are, how powerful, how strong. I want to tell them to never settle for less than they deserve. I want to tell them to stand in their majesty, the majesty endowed upon them by their creator. They have so much to offer! So much beauty! And I realize that as much as I tell them, they will never believe me. They have to learn it for themselves. I know because I had people tell me the same thing, but I still had to learn it for myself.

    I wish my 13 year old self knew what I knew now. That I have to love myself as I am. not as society or the world says I should be. I want to tell myself it is ok to be smart, to like yourself, to be confident. I want to tell myself how powerful and amazing I really am – and have myself believe it.

    This post was amazing. So amazing. Thank you for it. Especially the pictures. You captured the beauty that is inside of every woman.

  657. Oh Kelle! You are so amazing and I am so thankful for your blog.

    I would tell my 13 year old self to always love and love with all you have. The things that seem to matter the most now and the things that hurt the most now will be what makes you the strong woman you are today and these things will not matter whatsover when you are 31.

  658. I don’t need to be in the drawing, but I feel so compelled to leave you a message to tell you how much this post ROCKS! Since the minute I started reading your blog, there has been no question that you are beautiful writer who is able to so incredibly illustrate life through your humor, and truths, and vulnerability- I am always amazed how much I can relate to your world, even though we are worlds apart. But this post might be my favorite! As a first time mom to be, I wonder what I will be like as a parent, and know that so much of it will come from my experiences as a child. As my 13 year old self. I look forward to all that lies ahead and to many more of your posts that remind me of so many of the wonderful day to day things that I have to enjoy! Thanks for sharing your life with all of us!

  659. I would tell myself to embrace that awkward, rail thin 13 year old body, cause’ baby I would kill for it again!

  660. I would tell my 13 year old self to be more confident. Be okay with being outgoing, and don’t care so much about what other’s say or don’t say about you. Be who you are!
    Thanks Kelle!

  661. My first comment (although I lurk here nearly every single day)! Good heavens, what would I tell my 13-year-old self? Well, I’d have to tell me (1) that the right thing just isn’t always the easy thing (but do it anyway), (2) that true friends don’t judge anything about you (whether it’s clothes or hair or other friends you have), and (3) to take off the electric blue mascara already! :) Thanks for a wonderful blog that always makes me smile (even if that’s through my tears). :)

  662. Thank you for this.

    I would tell myself, “Great things await you, be ready for them. But great things are now too. Find them. Embrace them.”

  663. This really spoke to me. Thank you so much for this, I have really needed to hear this lately. I will be sending this link to every beautiful 13 year old I know. Maybe your words will help them come to this realization a little sooner!

  664. I called my daughter my hero for so many reasons. But the biggest reason is exactly what this “mission” is about. She has helped me realize what I wish I had known when I was 13. Every person I meet in life has something to offer, beyond what my first instinct thinks. I have tried to slow down and embrace the moment when I meet someone new. In this huge growth of my character I have met so many amazing people and have a beautiful circle of friends.

  665. Kelle – You really are amazing. What an inspirational post! So many great comments that EVERY 13 year old girl should read.
    If I could go back, I would say:
    *Be nicer to you Mom – she really is awesome and DOES know a lot!
    *Always be nice to everybody – you can never go wrong with being kind because “what goes around” really does “come around”
    *Always go out each day and Make YOURSELF Proud! Do it for you, because you’re worth it!

  666. When I learned, I was having a daughter, I fully admit, the thought of having a girl, scared the crap out of me. I have a son, I don’t know how to do the girl thing. And though I shared this concern with my girlfriends, all I got was…”You are a girl, why would you be scared to have a girl?!” It’s a blessing and it’s also scarier than shit. I will one day tell Gretchen, how unsure I was at my ability to be her mother. How I feared she’d be just as hairy as me and how mean other girls will be to her. 5 years later, I am still scared of what her future holds and I know she will experience more heartache than I can handle, but let me just say…She rocks her hairy back!!! Great post Kelle. You inspire me.

  667. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self to “believe in yourself that you are a lot stronger than you think you are…don’t do things to make other people happy, do what will make you happy”

    You know Kelle I can’t read your blog with out tearing up it’s so touching. Thank you helping me take the time to see all the wonderful things in my life to be happy about.

  668. What to say….
    Dear 13 year-old self…
    You are beautiful! You are unique. Remember this. Life is not easy, unfortunatly… but it can be so much fun!
    Our parents do love us, and it is okay to not go to dad’s house. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY.. you will have a much better and healthier relationship with him later in life…
    ALWAYS… spend time with mom! She really is the most understanding and best mom in the world…
    Quit being afraid to get in trouble… if you get caught.. it should be worth it…

  669. Kelle – beautiful blog entry!!

    Dear snotty bratty me at 13,
    Create yourself versus mimicking the others. Appreciate who and what you have, it wasn’t an accident that God gave you those traits. Don’t wish your teenage years away, relish in them. And always always always remember that you are loved very very very much.

  670. I would tell my 13 yr old self: Stay true to who you are, don’t change just so people will like you. You are a great person and will continue to be as long as you remember that.

    **** Loooove seeing the nwe pics of the girls with each blog. I truly feel like I am a part of your family with as much as you share! ****** Have a super weekend ****

    Caron From Iowa

  671. If I could tell my 13 year old self one thing, it would be: Don’t focus all of your energy on boys.

    I was so completely obsessed with finding a boy that would be my prince charming (hopeless romantic from the very start), that I didn’t realize all of the fun with my girlfriends that I was missing out on. Tears were shed, time was wasted, and my heart was broken time and time again. And I look back now and wish I could have focused more on me, and doing things that made me happy, not miserable.

    xoxo

  672. ..to my 13 yo self…don’t care so much about what other people think. care about what our Maker thinks. walk confidently with the skills He has given.

    ..to my 32 yo self…don’t care so much about what other people think. care about what our Maker thinks. walk confidently with the skills He has given. ps – your daughters are watching.

  673. I would tell 13-year old Diane that someday, very little of the angst and insecurities and awkwardness in her life will remain. I would tell her to not worry what everyone else is doing and thinking about her, because she is going to grow into a creative, beautiful soul that has friends who like her for who she really is. And I would tell her that she will fall madly in love with the most amazing, loving, caring, perfect man (when she wasn’t even looking!) and that her life with him and their two amazing children is going to be all she needs to be happy.

    And then I would give her a great big hug. Because all my friends get great big hugs from me!

    Hugs to you Kelle! =)

  674. I would tell myself-

    You are not fat.
    Your friends like you because of you, not because of who you try to be.
    Your parents will still love you if you piss them off.
    Nothing you can do with your body can ever make you unlovable to anyone.
    Buy some frizz-ease and a straightening iron and you will be amazed at what your hair can do.

    (Yes that last one probably seems a little superficial, especially given the first part of the advice, but girls with frizzy hair in junior high have a very, very frustrating experience)

  675. i would tell my 13 yr old self: you are beautiful. yes, even with your braces, zits, thick eye brows ’cause your mom said you were too young to start plucking them (& btw – she was right), no name jeans & the rain coat with the cows on the inside your mom made you wear. you are beautiful, baby girl, and one day you will see it too. so take off your thick black eye liner & stop hiding form the world.