Early this morning, while wandering through some dusty old boxes, I found a letter I had written years ago to “the future me”. Filled with grammatical errors and beneath the twisted handwriting were the words of a thirteen-year-old girl full of dreams, struggles, and questions.
Then I realized that as a young teenager, there were so many things I wish someone had told me. So I decided to answer despite my delay and share my advice with you.
1. Stop trying to be someoneand you are not.
How many times have you compared yourself to these amazing people and then looked in the mirror and found yourself useless? Doing this accomplishes nothing, but feels like crap.
When this happens, I want you to turn your gaze to those people you admire so much, is their life so perfect? Behind a model’s smile, there are hours and hours of training and constraints. Also, do you know this wonderful activist who inspired you? She hasn’t been home for three months.
Taking someone else’s life, much like an actor plays a part in a play, is a selfish and cowardly act that is not worth your time. I’m not saying that you have to throw away all your idols, on the contrary, you have to keep them as they are: icons. Icons that inspire you to do your best with what you have.
2. It’s okay to be sad.
Some days you wake up messed up, not sure why you’re blue, and it frustrates you. But you know what? Its good. Because without those dark days, the bright days would never shine.
There will be difficult stages in your life, many of them. You will feel lost and confused. My advice is to keep moving forward, step by step, brick by brick. Time heals everything. The best phases always follow the bad times. You will be told to fight your struggles, face them and be brave. But as one of my favorite quotes says:
“Sometimes you do your best, but things don’t go your way. And it’s not your fault. Sometimes things just have to change, and maybe sometimes they’re for the best. (Lilo and Stitch)
Allow yourself to be sad or confused, but still keep moving.
3. You are gorgeous.
Yeah, don’t look at me like that, because it’s true! I know you have been told that beauty is an expensive hairstyle, body type or even tone of voice. You’re not the first to try to conform to these standards, and I’m not talking about your friends or classmates, since you already know that, I’m talking about something that goes way beyond that.
For centuries, beauty standards existed as a social expression of what people wanted to achieve, not the other way around. People materialized their goals as standards, it is no coincidence that in the early Middle Ages, when hunger was that leading cause of death, beauty was found in curvy bodies or, on the contrary, in those In wartime, strong women were seen as icons of beauty. .
So how are you supposed to deal with this changing bustle? It’s just impossible, right? If such a variety of beauty standards could exist, it means that beauty can be found anywhere and anytime!
I want you to look at yourself honestly and sincerely. There is beauty in you. It could be in your distinctive curly hair or the way your freckles spread around your face, and that tiny set that pops across your cheek when you smile. It can be in the sexy curve of your buttocks or in the straight lines of your jawline.
Take my advice: write down your most attractive features. Maybe they’ll be more feminine, follow today’s standards, or maybe they’ll be exotic and different. There is no right answer. Beauty is everywhere.
Once you have them, I want you to remember them frequently. The point is that from this day forward you should experiment with ways to embrace them: they will be your lucky charm in your dark days, and they will give you confidence and strength.
4. Tips for finding yourself
You are at that stage in life where things start to get complicated. One day you wake up and there are so many decisions to make! People expect you to figure out who you are and who you want to be in the blink of an eye while you feel like a bunch of misfit puzzle pieces. You are expected to find within yourself this coherent subject that fits into a category, a norm, just like a role that situates you in the space granted to you in society.
But the answer you are looking for is quite simple. It only takes a little hindsight to realize that you are not a bunch of broken, contradictory pieces or a cohesive whole. You are a reflection of what people see in you. You are a daughter, a son, a friend, a student, a granddaughter, a sister, a brother and much more!
These stages of your life have never been contradictory. It’s okay to be shy in one setting and an enthusiastic extrovert in another. With some people you can be “the one in charge”, while others will find you a refreshing mess. And that doesn’t make you a hypocrite, it just makes you human.
So, stop looking inside yourself for that little person who knows the right path. Otherwise, try looking upside down. No one is going to mumble the answer next to your ear, quite the contrary. Interests will appear and disappear like a breeze. One day, a friend will recommend an amazing book that will spark your passion for reading, or you will discover how refreshing it is to help children understand their homework. Don’t let your interests define you, never narrow your horizons, and be open to going further. Since when did choosing to study science prevent you from appreciating art?
And finally, don’t be afraid to make a mistake. There are no wrong answers. Every step you take will open a door to new people, knowledge, abilities; and if they don’t turn out to be what you expected, they’ll still be a part of you.
Although you may think that this big decision determines your whole life, the reality is that life cannot be determined. My advice is to enjoy every second and never, ever, ever stop looking for new horizons..
I hope these tips will help you on your way. I remember being told that my teenage years would be the best time of my life, I never believed it, but as soon as you leave them behind you start missing them.
Remember to always move but also to take breaks, not everyone is at the same pace, you just have to determine which is yours. And if you feel lonely, try looking at the people around you. I promise each of them are going through or have been through similar situations.
Finally, enjoy it while you can, every second, do all those things you want to do, explore your interests, don’t lock yourself into one safe space, and challenge the rules that restrict you!