The Letter, to be Read at the End

­Hey there.

First of all, I want you to know that you’re absolutely not a failure for reading this. I’m serious. It doesn’t matter if you’re five miles in or two days from Canada. Almost everyone who attempts this hike thinks about giving up at some point. That’s why they carry their lists.

You’re doing just fine and you should be proud of yourself for even getting this far.

Please understand that whatever burden you’re carrying right now cannot break you or change who you are. It might end your hike, sure, but you will find another path. You know this. And you only need to look at your scars to put your current struggle into perspective.

The broken home you grew up in never defined you. The abuse you suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to love you didn’t stop you from loving others with all of your heart. The mental illness you’ve been fighting so valiantly failed to consume you.

You could have easily become a cynical being with no empathy. You could have lashed out at the world and nobody would have blamed you.

But you didn’t do those things. Instead, you kept pushing forward, fighting until you felt like you couldn’t anymore. And then you still kept going because you knew one day you would find your footing.

And find it you did!

Props to you for following that amazingly accurate internal compass of yours. And no matter what happens with this hike, you will never ignore it again. You finally know how to trust yourself. The fact that you’re here proves it.

Before you left for Campo, you agonized about not knowing exactly what you’re supposed to be getting out of this experience. If you haven’t figured out what that is yet, I would encourage you to keep going.

Even if continuing on is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do.

Think about what your closest friends would say to you right now. Nichole, Sammie, Chase, Sharon. They all know what kind of person you are. They would push you to keep walking, assuming you’re not injured.

And if that is the case, listen to your body.  Remember that this was never about the destination. You have so many other places to go in life. Your story is just getting started. If Manning Park is a part of that, great. If not, there’s a reason.

The next move is entirely up to you. You have complete autonomy.

Check that compass and love yourself no matter what you decide.

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