A Letter to My Younger Self

To my younger self,

I’ve often thought of what I wish I would have known before growing up. This is an account of all the advice I wish you could’ve heard while growing up. These belated words of wisdom would have perhaps helped keep you grounded. This advice would have encouraged you to walk down the halls with your head held high, with a confident stride, knowing that you mattered. Maybe you wouldn’t have tried so hard to be pretty because you would have realized that there are far more important concerns than physical beauty. You are the essence of what you believe in, the people you love, the future of which you dream. This mindset is so much more important and constructive than the size of your waist, the color of your eyes, or the shade of your skin.

Darling, you don’t need to be a size 00 to fit in, nor do you need to change the size of your nose or lighten your skin to match the standards society has set. Be proud of your color, of the curve of your hips, and your cute button nose. One day you’ll realize that the zit on your chin wasn’t really the end of the world. That having thick thighs makes you powerful, not a curse. That just because your eyes aren’t big and wide doesn’t mean that they still can’t be bright and curious. If you view yourself through the lens that others view you through, all you’ll see is a distorted image. Your sense of yourself will become blurred. Inner beauty is an internal and personal awareness of yourself, not what society dictates. Carry yourself with confidence, believing you're worthwhile and are capable of attaining your dreams. If you believe that you’ve got ‘it,’ no one can convincingly say that you don’t. No one can take away the brightness from your smile or your aura of happiness. After you’ve conquered this, our biggest fears will no longer be the size of our jeans or our own reflection. Recognizing and loving your imperfections makes you indestructible.

It’s okay to cry when he says he only sees you as a friend; maybe he isn’t really worth your tears, at least for not more than an hour. It’s okay to cry if she calls you ugly or fat. If you stopped allowing the opinions of others rule your mind, you wouldn’t have the feelings of inadequacy that you feel. This is a reminder that you have the power to define yourself. You are the protagonist of your own story, sometimes even the antagonist at the same time. No matter what the case, you are your own savior.

You don’t need a boy to validate your pride because he doesn’t determine your self worth, you do. Don’t lose your independence or individuality for a boy who will mean nothing to you in six months. You’ve spent so much time waiting, searching for prince charming, hoping he’d step into your life, sweep you off your feet, and change your entire world. You are your own special person. You are the one who creates change in your life. Remember not to chase after others; those who belong in your life will come and will stay for you. These are the individuals to keep close.

You are often your own worst enemy. You know all your weaknesses. No enemy can harm you as much as your own mind. It’s your own negative thoughts that can eventually destroy you. They may be seeded by the insults your peers might hurl at you, but no one hurts you as much as you yourself. Those seeds of self destruction have been planted in all of us, and if you allow them to grow, they will only sprout sorrow and pain. Don’t act like it’s you against the world when it’s really only you against yourself. The world isn’t really out to get you because the world is preoccupied with itself. The world moves on without you whether you want it to or not, so love who you are because, God knows, you’ve fought hard to get here.

One’s adolescence can be so troubling and confusing, it is my belief that these words of advice would have been extremely beneficial to me as a young woman. Sadly, it’s when adulthood is reached, we realize a majority of the events in our life that we deemed “important” weren’t truly the most painful times we have, or will, face. One day you wake up and become conscious of the fact that your mind is set on recovering from a pain that you have already conquered. Somewhere along the line you have an epiphany, a self realization. You stop needing self assurance from others because you know the proper solutions. You’ve come to accept that your flaws contribute to the overall essence of whom you are. They make you real, and give you substance. Time passes quickly; someday has become today. Learn from your past, but don’t let your scars define you. Allow yourself to be happy, and at peace with yourself because the strong, self-sustaining groundwork has been laid.

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My community
Our world

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