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To my 14-year old self:

“I'm sorry you were dealt the hand you were in life but you can’t throw it back. All you can do is play it out and improve it where you can. Learn to be grateful for the things you have and let go of the bitterness and anger. Forgive the people you love who you feel have failed you. Try to see that they are doing the best they can with what they have and what they know; and any shortcomings they have is not because they don't love you but because they can't give what they don't have. Be patient. Everything isn't your responsibility so stop holding yourself accountable for things that aren't on you. You'll have your chance to fix things you believe are wrong in the family and you'll have your chance to be a leader. Don't chase it. Prepare yourself for it and enjoy the moment. Be a leader; and not just mimicking the things you see other people do, be a real leader. People like you, they gravitate to you and are willing to follow you. That is a duty and one that shouldn't be taken lightly; so don't accept that role until you know who you are and where you want to lead people to. Be kind to people. Not just people you know and care about but everyone. Self-control and kindness are not weaknesses. Compromising is not a weakness. Look how hard it is for you to do these things, so something that's that hard to accomplish can possibly be a weakness. Enjoy your childhood. You are in a rush to be a man so you can show others how it's done but that's a mistake. You aren't ready yet because you don't have the necessary experience. Life is the best teacher so be a kid for as long as you can, then when it's time to be a man, be a real man.”

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