Letters to My Younger Self: Crystal Williams-Palmer

Crystal Williams-Palmer.JPG

Dear Crystal,

First, let me start by saying that I’m sorry to tell you that you will not marry Wil Wheaton from Star Trek Next Generation. I know that feels like a big blow, but there are bigger and better things than Wil Wheaton.

Now, here is the big news...You are a runner.

I know! I’ll wait while you pick your jaw off the floor.

Yes YOU, who can’t run a mile on that horrible track they force you to walk in the high school, Crystal, you are a runner.

Shocked? Believe me, I’m still surprised by this myself. You’ve run nine half marathons in three years. I know! You have medals upon medals and when you look at them, your chest swells with pride. Each one means something special to you.

And here is the biggest kicker, you choose to run and you actually kind of like it! I know the feeling you had when running around that track in middle school, you would try to take off with the Andrew’s and Jessica’s and Tim’s. They seem so fast and they’re quick to lap you, teasing you as they do it. You just want to keep up but by the time you get to the end of the bleachers, your side hurts and your lungs are on fire. You feel the embarrassment of having to walk because you can’t run. Finishing last in the mile hurts.

But you my dear girl, you are built for distance and endurance. You are strong. You have strong legs that can keep going when you think they can’t. Here is the thing about future you, you don’t give up.

I need to tell you something and I need you to hear me. Read this over and over if you have to because what I’m about to tell you is important.  

You may be wondering how thin you are now that you’re a runner. After all, all the girls that run are super thin.

I know you aren’t the same size as the girls in your grade. I know that sometimes you’re bigger than your teachers. I know that you’re wearing ugly pointy bras that you hide under your dad’s shirts because you say they are ‘more comfortable’ but really, you don’t want anyone to see them.

I know you want desperately to be thin but I need you to know that thin does not make you happy. I repeat, thin does not make you happy. Even now, as an adult, I still find myself wondering, “Why was I born large? Why do I stand a foot taller than other people? Why am I stuck with this body?” It’s hard, and some nights you just want to give up, but here is the thing...you don’t. You push through.

There is a saying, “Why blend in when you were born to stand out?” I often think that statement is about you. You’re not meant to be small and blend in. You’re memorable. People remember you and not just for your face, but because you treat people kindly. You’re funny and you persevere. You’re strong.

Eventually, you’ll find clothes and bras that make you feel good. People will even compliment how you dress! (I’m just as shocked as you are, but it’s true.)

Yes, you’re large but you’re a runner and you encourage others who didn’t think they can run either. You have wonderful, supportive people in your life who will cheer you on both in person and from a distance.

It may seem impossible, but it will happen. I know it’s hard to imagine running, something that feels like sweaty torture, as something you will one day willingly choose to do, but you will. It won’t be easy and you’ll have to work at it a lot. You won’t be fast but don’t worry, you’ll never come in last.

Don’t stop being funny. Don’t stop being kind. Hold you head up when you walk through a crowd. Know that life is good and beautiful. Know that you will survive the bad days and push forward. You have so much ahead of you.

You are a badass chick who is loved and loves fully!

With ALL My Love,

Crystal Williams-Palmer

(Why is your name spelled like this? You’ll find out, and it will be glorious!)

Crystal Williams-Palmer