Dear Linda,

Dear Past Me,

I know that sometimes things are rough. I know that people exploit your kindness, mistaking it for weakness; and that you do not find the love that you crave. I know that your intensity and passion make you hard to relate to especially to those who have forgotten the importance of being themselves and the significance of dreams.

Keep dreaming and keep being you. The only person in the universe that you can be is yourself, and to wish to be anyone else is a waste of who you are.

I know that some people seem well put together and without issues, but the truth is we're all battling some sort of hell and trying to string along the pearls to our own personal heavens. Everyone has something to deal with, and just because your scars aren't physical, it doesn't make them any less significant.

It just makes them different from what some people experience.

But no matter what, keep dreaming. Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. Don't let dad make you cry and wound your heart by telling you that you have no gumption or ambition and constantly insisting that you're lazy just because you'd do things differently than he would.

I know it seems like a lifetime before you'll be away from him and all his emotional abuse, but you'll get there. Once you move into college and move into your own apartment after school is finished you won't have to deal with anyone who hurt you.

Not him or any of the bullies in high school because in the grand scheme of the world none of them will really amount to much. They'll all be trying to live their lives and make the best of it just the same as you, and you will never even see most of them again.

Never give up on yourself.

Because you are the person you have to spend the rest of your life with so believe in yourself and love yourself even if you want to lose those few pounds or you don't like the way that shirt looks on you because you can be both a masterpiece and a work in progress all at the same time.

Don't let people who have given up on their dreams convince you that you cannot achieve yours. Through hard work and dedication you can do anything!

You are amazing and beautiful no matter what people say or would have you believe, and at the end of the day you may not be the skinniest girl; but you know what? At least you're not vapid, shallow, and empty headed like they are. At least you have a good head on your shoulders and a good heart in your chest.

Being alone all the time may wound your pride a bit, but just know that this will make you stronger. Because a writer may be with people, but in the end we are all truly alone in one way or another for better or for worse. No one will know you as profoundly and deeply as you know yourself.

It's okay to cry and to feel things. It doesn't make you weak. The people that would have you say that you were fine when you were not or make you feel bad for having emotions are truly the weak ones. Never let the world change you in it's image. Keep being empathetic, keep being kind, keep being emotional, keep dreaming. You are important and you will make a difference in the world.



Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has four published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), and My Wings Were Made to Fly (September 2017). Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. The third of the seven book series Centaurs & Magic was published November 2016. Her novel Corvids & Magic was published March 2017.