If I could write a letter to my sixteen-year-old self, this would be it...
July 8, 1989
Happy Birthday! You have recently experienced your first kiss and you are now with your first boyfriend. It will be an emotional year for you and next summer, you will have your heart broken. Learn from the experiences. Do not pin your hopes on him. He is looking for a wife to cook, clean, and care for his children. When you tell him you want to go to college, he will look at you like you are an alien. He doesn't want an educated wife. None of the boys in that church want an educated wife.
Mom has always advised you to play down your intellect around boys. Make them believe they are smarter than you. You should listen to most of what she says, but ignore that advice. You do not want a man who can't handle the real you.
Some day you will graduate from college and graduate school and become a teacher and a writer. Don't waste your high school years taking home economics. Take academic classes. Apply yourself. Apply for some colleges and scholarships. When you are eighteen, you will be able to leave and attend college. When they try to stop you, apply for emancipation. Ask one of the high school counselors for help. If they cannot help you, ask a college counselor.
You are disappointed that you cannot participate in extracurricular activities and sports. That's sad, but use your extra time to write, read everything, and plan a better future.
Read the Bible. You are only allowed to read the King James Bible, but go ahead and buy an NIV Bible and read it when nobody's looking. Keep it hidden. And pray for wisdom. When you leave home, find a community church and learn about God's love. Join to a college-aged Bible study. God loves you and has a plan for your life. His plan does not include staying in that church and being ignorant and subservient.
Do not marry for freedom. That's stupid. Do not marry someone because he can give you a better life. You can make a great life for yourself. Be independent. Fulfill your God-given destiny. Pray for God to provide the right man to be your husband. Marry a godly man that you are madly in love with. Listen to the older people in your new church. Learn from them.
Your world seems so small and limited. You think being born female means you have no choices. You think God loves you less, you are not important. But, you're wrong. Just wait.