Dear Fifteen-year-old Alyssa,

Hey little Lys! It’s me, older but not much taller Alyssa.

I wish I was there to give you a huge hug.  I know you are going to struggle through high school, but once you’re done, your life will become the life you’ve always dreamed of.

You’re going to quit gymnastics. I know you’ll regret this decision once you make it, but trust me: you will excel in every sport, so let this one go.

You are going to get bullied, a lot, in your junior and senior year. They will dress up like you to make fun of your outfits. They will make a MySpace account about you and your best friend being lesbians. You will have trashed dumped on your lawn.  They will use soap to write Bi%ch, C*nt, Sl#t on your car.

You’ll go on to set multiple records in track and field and even compete at State during your junior and senior year. You’ll discover weightlifting during high school, but you’ll be afraid it will make you look like a boy; it won’t so give it a chance. And please stop trying to play front row in volleyball, you are not tall enough — you’re 4 feet 11 inches. But, you will become the best back row player the team has.

Don’t cheat in Spanish; it won’t get you anywhere. I know your guidance counselor is going to tell you that you’re not smart enough to major in Exercise Science, but don’t listen to him. He has no idea who you are.

You are going to get bullied, a lot, in your junior and senior year. They will dress up like you to make fun of your outfits. They will make a MySpace account about you and your best friend being lesbians. You will have trashed dumped on your lawn.  They will use soap to write Bi%ch, C*nt, Sl#t on your car. Try not to cry about it and don’t worry; it’s just high school. It means NOTHING. They don’t know what they’re doing. They will apologize to you after high school when they regret what they did. Your drive, dedication, kindness, and care-free attitude is going to take you so far in life. Believe me when I say this is just the beginning, little Lys.

Do yourself a favor, don’t try to jump those five stairs the third time you’ve ever been on a skateboard because you are going to have the worst bone break of your life. I know you’re going to do it anyway though because you’re stubborn and like to figure things out for yourself. The surgery to fix your foot is going to be rough! It will bring lots of pain and struggles. The doctors will say you will not be able to jump on it ever again. I promise you they are SO wrong. You’ll be back in the gym even while your foot is still stuck in its boot. The mission trip to Africa is not going to happen though because the foot surgery was too intense. I am sure God has His reasons. Do me a favor ALWAYS trust Him. He knows what is best for you.

You are a very confident young lady, never forget that. You will always listen to your heart…You are a dreamer and believe me when I say, girl do not ever stop dreaming big! It’s who you are and who you will always be.

You’ll get into the University of Toledo and play track and field. But don’t waste your time, it won’t be as fun as in high school. It is okay to stop running track because next year in college you’ll try this thing called CrossFit and fall deeply in love with it. It’s going to consume most of your time but it won’t pay your bills, so keep up with your classes. Don’t be too rough on yourself if things don’t always go well in CrossFit. The entire reason you started was to have fun and compete again after quitting track.

After the CrossFit years are over, you will switch to weightlifting and man oh man your world is about to be rocked. Your dreams are going to become realities. You are going to compete for Team USA at international level competitions as a 48kg weightlifter. Every second, every moment, soak it all in because it goes fast. You are going to do better in college than you ever did in high school and you’ll get the Exercise Science degree that counselor said you’d never earn. So focus and get through those crazy science classes. It will all be worth every tear shed and every late night spent studying.

A post shared by Alyssa Ritchey (@alyssaritchey1) on

You are a very confident young lady, never forget that. You will always listen to your heart. When people discuss your height holding you back in sports, I know you won’t listen, and I love that. You are a dreamer and believe me when I say, girl do not ever stop dreaming big! It’s who you are and who you will always be. You will never follow the crowd. Believe it or not, still to this day, you’ve never had an alcoholic drink. Not one. There is no reason for it. Personally, you will hate the smell because it still smells like piss. Haha.

Stay true to yourself. Be confident. Be God loving. You are smart. You are dedicated. You are going to meet the most beautiful man of your dreams that is going to love you more than you ever thought possible. You are going to move around the country many times making new friends and exploring new places. You will fall in love with good quality coffee and chocolate, enjoy it. You are going to go on so many new adventures. But most of all you are never going to regret a single thing that has happened because without those hardships and battles you wouldn’t be the beautiful, strong-minded woman you are today.

I love you. You are a beautiful soul. Dream big. Dream every day.

Don’t stop believing in yourself.

The still crazy to this day,

Alyssa.


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