This is a letter to my 12 year old self…
I know what your thinking. And I remember what your feeling. School pictures are being taken today and for the first time it hits you. You don’t look like these girls. As they giggle, and flirt you realized something. Your nose is big. Your lips are big. Your eyes are big. Your hair is insanely curly. And you are coming close to a unibrow. Suddenly you noticed you don’t have breasts. You are literally nothing like these other girls. I remember the way your eyes burned with tears. All of a sudden the realization that you were ugly hit you. And that was it. Your innocence and self esteem decided to leave you that morning. You lost the most important friendship that morning, the one you had with yourself.
Ever since that day it became a battle for you. You never felt good enough. You never felt pretty enough. You never thought boys could ever look at you and find you pretty. You hated your face, your hair, your personality. Nothing came together the right way. Not the way it came together for those other girls. Why was it so easy for them? Why did they have the perfect straight hair, the beautiful blue eyes, perky noses, and perfect chest? Why did you have to look different? Why did your hair have to be so big? And why, oh why did you have to be so shy?
Beautiful bella, you were more perfect that day than you ever knew. The sadness in your grade 7 picture that day is so painful to look at. Not because you were ugly, but because you thought you were.
In a few years though you will begin to find your identity. You will find a genre of music that hits you so hard, it changes the way you feel about things. It will make you brave to wear clothes that make you stand out. Soon you will wear vintage dresses, baggy sweaters, and converse shoes. You will let your hair down and curly all the time. You’ll realize you love jewellery so much, you make your own. And you are going to continue to go through this process of growth, of expansion, and love for quite some time.
It won’t be easy. In fact, to this day, you still suffer at times. Sometimes you will still look in the mirror and compare yourself to every other woman. Recognizing your beauty instantly will not always be so easy. But it will get easier.
You will travel the world, and reconnect yourself to your heritage. You will finally meet your family back home and realize you look just like them. You will find your people. Your roots. And suddenly that moment will help you see your nose, your lips, your eyes, and hair are exotic. Not as something that went wrong. You will be proud of the ethnicity that you once thought ruined your life.
There is nothing to change. You are quite literally perfect the way you are.
One day you’ll fall in love. With yourself. You will love the way that you don’t look like the girl next door. Instead you look like someone else. Like you. You will grow. You will find your wings of confidence. You will know how to accentuate your features with the right makeup, and you will find your style that suits you perfectly.
I promise you it will get better. Please don’t bully yourself. Don’t waste so much time comparing your unique beauty to others. If I could I would go back to that morning of grade 7 and look into your eyes and tell you all this. There was nothing wrong with your beauty, you just needed time to learn that yourself.
This letter is not just for my younger self, but it is dedicated to all the young girls, and grown women today. We are raised in this society to compare ourselves with each other, to put ourselves down and change who we are. We need to learn that who we are is exactly who we should be. That every single girl is absolutely stunning the way she is. There should be no image, no reference person for the perfect nose, the perfect lips, the perfect eyes or body. Perfection is what we feel inside. We may not always be able to see our beauty, and that’s okay. But we need to try. We need to raise our daughters, our nieces, or cousins, our friends with confidence. With knowledge of what true beauty entails. It is not makeup. It is not expensive clothes. It is not body or eating disorders. True beauty comes from within, which always, without fail glows outside. May this letter inspire all of us to take a moment to look at ourselves and compliment ourselves. Because we are strong, because we are smart, because we heal, because we inspire, and because we love ourselves.