A Letter to a Younger Self

A younger self,

Your body is your home, and you were taught to hate it.

You were taught that it is wrong, your hair, your stomach, your feet, your face. Not light enough, not slim enough, not smooth enough, not straight enough. You were taught to envy these things in other women, to see them as competition for what they have and what you lack. You were taught that they look down on you, that they see your flaws and think about them. You were taught to shudder when you hear laughter behind you because no doubt they are laughing at you. At something about your body, at something stupid you said, at the way you exist. The world tells you that you need to be small. That house you are living in takes up too much space. They want you to sand it down, down, down. Until there is nothing left but dust. But even then it’s still not the right colour.

I want you to know that there are things they don’t tell you.

They don’t tell you that every other girl, every girl you think is laughing at you, every girl you think has it all figured out, feels the exact same way. They don’t tell you that every other girl shudders when she hears you laugh behind her, and you know it’s never been about her. They don’t tell you that even though you think being small will help, there is no such thing as small enough. They don’t tell you that they don’t just want you to sand down, down, down, to dust. They want that house to burn. They want it go up in smoke, they want to hear the steam screaming as it escapes the wood, they want to see it fall and you standing in the rubble scared and scarred. They want to break you down to nothing so that you keep going back. You keep rebuilding that house over and over again. They want you to keep buying the most popular wood, the latest hardwood floors, the trendiest paint colours. They don’t tell you that no matter what wood, floors, or paint you buy, as long as you keep going back to the store, they are going to keep selling you things that burn. But their intolerance is rot, and their negativity is ruin, and their inability to see your worth is bullshit.

And there is more they don’t tell you.

They don’t tell you don’t have to keep going back, that you do not have to keep hating your home. Instead: you can build a home where the wood is not made from popularity, but instead made of strength. You can build a home where the floors are not made of fleeting acceptance, but from ambition. You can build a home where the paint colour is not based on trends, but based on what makes your soul glow a little brighter. A home that smells like safety, sounds like song, and feels like freedom. This is the house you can build.

You hated yourself half to death, and now you resurrect yourself.

You are so much more than the way that people make you feel. The world is going to try to break you down. It is going to try to make you feel guilty: for the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the people you love. And there are times when the world is going to win that battle. But in those times when you feel that you need to change, you are never going to be enough as long as you decide you are not. Do not forget about the times you used to wake up, and pour yourself a giant bowl of cereal to watch cartoons. Do not forget about the times you went to the movies and ordered the biggest possible bag to share with your friends, and then got the free refill as you were leaving. Do not forget about the sleepovers with your friends where you tried to make cookies every time, and every time they somehow came out worse than the last. Do not forget about pizza parties, about birthday cakes, about holiday dinners, about marshmallows around campfires.

They do not tell you that you can get lost in the fire, or you can be built from it.

They do not tell you that you are allowed to fall in love with the home you have built. They do not tell you that it can be messy, and complicated, and unfinished, but that you can invite people in anyways. They do not tell you that there is stardust in your veins. They do not tell you there is wisdom in your learnings. They do not tell you there is strength in your steps.They do not tell you that your shame can be worn with pride, and your brokenness can be shared with grace.They do not tell you that you are becoming, one revival at a time. They do not tell you that you can find the beauty in others, that you can celebrate their win without thinking its your loss. There is so much strength in finding magnificence in someone’s mistakes, there is so much freedom in someone’s flaws. They do not tell you that you can honour other women endlessly, completely, and intentionally.

They do not tell you that you are beautiful. That’s why I’m telling you now.

Your body is your home, you are done trying to burn it to the ground. You were born to build it.

 

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