Ever wanted to write your younger self a letter of advice or encouragement — or send a similar note to someone else? Enter 16-year-old Tumblr sensation Emily Trunko with her book, Dear My Blank: Secret Letters Never Sent, a collection of letters that never reached their intended recipients. In the spirit of her book, Emily is sharing a very personal letter to her 13-year-old self exclusively for Justine readers, and her words of wisdom may be just what you need today. Plus, get even more memorable letters, posts and even some heartbreaking insight in Emily’s latest book, The Last Message Received, available now.

Dear thirteen-year-old self,

It’s okay that you don’t wear makeup now, and it’s okay that you’re not going to when you’re sixteen. It doesn’t make you lesser than your friends who have already mastered it. You’re never gonna wear more than red lipstick, but that’s okay.

That boy that you’re infatuated with right now? You’ve been friends for years, and you think his brown hair and eyes and love for Latin are the most incredible thing in the world. News flash: he should not be the most important thing in your world. YOU should.

That boy is gonna inspire a whole notebook of unsent letters, in a college-ruled, spiral-bound notebook that has a picture of outer space on the cover. He’s gonna break your heart in a few months, but for now go ahead and crush on him, because it leads to something good.

You’re gonna start a Tumblr project soon, a collection of unsent letters. Pretty soon people will start submitting their own letters about their own crushes, heartbreaks, boyfriends, friends, family, and everything in between. It’ll help you through your own unrequited crush. It’s gonna help a lot of other people through their own struggles, too, and be an amazing glimpse into humanity.

You don’t talk to that boy anymore, but guess what? A few days after you start your Tumblr project, you’re gonna start talking to a different boy. I know you thought no one was gonna top the boy you had the crush on, but guess what? He will. You live 150 miles away from him but his mom is super supportive and he’s gonna come to your sixteenth birthday party. It’s gonna be magical, and you guys have been together for a year and a half while I write this.

You know how you’ve always loved writing and reading? You’re gonna get an incredible agent and a book deal with Random House to publish book adaptions of your Tumblr projects. You’re not gonna believe it’s real until you hold the book in your hand for the first time and see how gorgeous it is, a tangible labor of love.

Chin up, girl. You’re gonna change people’s lives soon.


Your sixteen-year-old self

P.S. Start washing your hair more. It looks greasy when you skip days.