Dear Lauren, you did it


Lauren Brace

A compilation of photos from different stages in my life

Dear Lauren,

I am so incredibly proud of you. 

One year ago, you watched the seniors proclaim their college decisions with growing smiles of pride. You were freaked out about the weight of your decision and the process it would take to get there. 

Four years ago, you feared high school’s exciting yet daunting possibilities. I won’t lie to you and claim that it wasn’t stressful, but you weaved into your groove almost immediately and found joy in the little things.  

Six years ago, you wrote a letter to your senior self, wondering if you had your life together and asking you to look back and laugh at the Wattpad stories you created. An abundance of questions and wonderings of the average middle schooler, waiting to be answered by me now. 

Since that day, you continued to write letters to your future self—offering advice, encouragement, and a besiege of questions. Providing a form of therapy, these letters have always been an outlet to express both your aspirations and fears. 

I am pleased to announce that I now have answers, but the truth is, you’ve known them all along. 

Ever since you could spell a word, paper has feared your eager pencil—scribbling every passing thought that comes to mind.”

Nine years ago, printed lines were placed before you, and you were asked to draw a picture and describe what you wanted to be in the future. Searching for what you loved most in the world, you surrounded your image with bookshelves and words. While your peers were boasting about their futures as doctors and lawyers, you stayed true to your dream: becoming a writer. 

As the years passed, you continued to shy away from the invasive questions of adults: what do you want to be? Do you want to go to college? What do you want to major in? Your response rarely strayed away from “I don’t know” because there was always a part of you that was ashamed to admit to a career that didn’t guarantee a stable path to success. 

If only you could see how you’ve thrived within the world of high school journalism and how you’ve continued to pour your heart into stories. I wish I could bestow the confidence of sharing your dreams with the world and teach you that failure is only temporary. 

Never give up on your passion. Ever since you could spell a word, paper has feared your eager pencil—scribbling every passing thought that comes to mind. Your words simply can’t resist taking on the forms of stories, lists, essays, and letters. 

Thank you for all the work you’ve done to get me here. You showed me the words that piece together the fragments of my mind into cohesive sentences. The future looks bright, cascading in the colors of maize and blue; the past remains a colorful splash of memories, and the present is the Cambria font letters that I’m currently typing upon a Google Doc. 

I will continue to forge on through the obstacles of life because I know that you would be proud of me. If only I could see the smile on your face and tell you that we have made a decision and that I’m still writing more than you could imagine. 

There will always be more questions, more daunting tasks, and more fears; however, with the strength that you have given me, I have faith that we will thrive. 

Keep it up; I promise it will all be worth it. 


Your future self