A Letter To My 15-Year-Old Self
Hello beautiful girl. I have some really important things to tell you, and I wish I had done so sooner. Maybe then you wouldn’t spend the next 15 years of your life unsure about your worth in the world, wondering if you are ever really good enough, and more often than not, thinking that if you looked a different way you would have more – more friends, more money and more opportunities. Maybe then you would know that more doesn’t equal better anyway, more doesn’t equal happy and more doesn’t equal love. Maybe then you would know that the love you crave so much, is actually the love and respect for yourself, not the supposed love or admiration from peers, boys and even strangers. You are only 15 darling girl, but there is so much you should already know.
You should already know that you don’t have to look like the girls in the magazines you read to be beautiful. You don’t have to wear the same size clothes as your friends. You don’t have to straighten your gorgeous curly hair every day. You don’t have to wear long clothes to cover your pale skin. You don’t have to apply layers upon layers of makeup to try and hide your freckles and you don’t have to shrink your beautiful smile because your teeth aren’t as white as you think they should be, as white as the girl’s teeth in those magazines.
You should already know that you can’t measure happiness or success by the number of friends you have, the weight on a scale or how much money you have to spend. You should know that there is so much more to life than things, and in fact moments are so much more valuable. You should know that love and honesty will always prevail, even when it seems hard or your views are different to those around you. You should know that your worth can only be determined by you – please do not allow your value to decrease due to someone else’s inability to see that.
You should know that the way a boy treats you, or speaks to you, does not define you, but them. By now you should already know that your ‘muffin top’ does not define you, and nor does the cellulite that is starting to form on your thighs. Your ‘box gap’, or lack thereof, does not define you. Your dress size does not define you. Your stretchmarks that are slowly beginning to appear on your hips and breasts, do not define you, and your no-brand clothing and cheap shoes, certainly do not define you. Your grades at school, as important as they may seem, do not even define you, though the ethic you apply to learning and life in general does.
Do you know what else defines you? Do you know the things that really matter at the end of the day? Your morals. Your kind heart. Your ability to see the bright light that shines in others, even when they may not. Your determination. Your courage. And your generosity that you downplay so very often. Your uniqueness and your attitude. You should also know that when you judge another girl by what they look like, it does not define her, but indeed it does you.
At 15 years old, you should know all of these things, yet you do not. You have been failed. The media has contributed to that, and I thank god that Facebook and Instagram were not part of your normal everyday life, for I can only imagine the further pressure today’s teens feel to look and act a certain way. Society and your social circle has also contributed to you not knowing these things, and even your well-wishing friends and family that truly love and care about you, because, we are a product of our environment, of images that have been thrown at us from every angle and of the stories we have been told, that we in turn believe. And unless you choose to take a different path, to change your thoughts and beliefs now, before you waste so many years and tears believing you are less than you really are, you will be accepting that this is okay. And it is not. Judging ourselves and others is not okay. Stand up and speak your truth. Embrace your body, talents and personality so you can let your authentic self shine. Celebrate and encourage other girls and women, always. Show the world what YOU are made of.
Beautiful girl, you are worthy, exactly as you are today. You are amazing, courageous and loved.