A Letter To My Younger Self

Dear Me,

 

Happy Late International Women’s Day!

 

I’m writing this letter to you from the future, at 20 years old. I am in school right now, not doing the major you might’ve thought you would, not friends with people you thought you’d still be friends with, not the me you thought we would be. That is okay, I will tell you that right now. It is okay that things have changed and that I might be different than you imagined. I have a few things I want to talk to you about, even if it might be kind of hard. 

 

First, I want to tell you to stop listening to the people around you that do not matter. Those people that aren’t friends with you, the ones who do not care about your well-being… stop listening to them and their opinions! Your life and youth are too short to be caring about what that one girl in the 10th grade said about your outfit. If you are happy and if you feel good, that is what matters the most. I am working on that still at 20 years old, but I want to tell you now so that maybe it sticks. 

 

Second, you do not need the validation of any boy or man to feel worthy of love. Don’t let guys use you for their own gain either, please. First and foremost, I want you to be an independent woman who is capable of achieving her goals without the feeling that you need to have the help of a man. And you will find love– you don’t need to date someone to be happy, or to be cool. The right one will come along, and even when you think a person may be the right one, they may turn out not to be. That is okay too, you will heal from it and another person will come along and you can be happy with them. 

 

Third, you do not need to be skinny to be beautiful. I know that it might have been hard to be around a lot of other girls who look differently than you. They definitely called you names and made fun of you in front of others. It has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. So, your genetics made you a bit curvier a little earlier. Maybe you got a couple of stomach rolls a few years before other girls did, and maybe you developed a little quicker. That is all okay! You are still gorgeous, you are still worthy. Rolls are natural, leg fat is natural, boobs are natural. Take it and rock it. 

 

Also, do not keep straightening your hair to fit a certain standard. Do not straighten your hair to blend into the crowd. You have beautiful curly hair. Hair that belonged to your ancestors before you. Hair that carries the essence of the islands that your dad’s side of the family comes from. Your curls are unique to you and you only, no one else you will meet in life. Treat them with care and love, show them off and be proud of the frizz, of the tangles, of the bad hair days. I promise you that you are still beautiful with curls that may look messy to some, but wild and free to others. 

 

Last, finding your identity is a constant journey, and it is not going to be an easy one. You come from a family that faced dangerous paths to come to America. You may not be fluent in Spanish, and you may not know the exact recipes of your traditional dishes. But you are just as much Latina as the next, and you will be constantly learning so that you can pass on those traditions and recipes one day. Do not let people erase your culture from you just because you do not always know or do the same things. Kids from other cultures might not accept you, and kids that ARE from your culture may not either. You may be called “whitewashed” or “Americanized.” You should have pride in where you come from, and in the present day at 20 years old, I am extremely proud and amazed at the beauty of the people I come from. Indulge in the foods and the customs that make up who you are, learn to communicate and participate. You will not regret it. You will find people from similar backgrounds that will accept you, and that will not diminish your identity because you don't speak Spanish with fluency. You will also find people that do not criticize your curly hair or your features that fit your face differently than theirs do. It’s going to be hard to find YOU, we still haven’t found who we are exactly, but one day we will. 

 

To the younger me, there will be extremely hard days, days that you wanna give up. Don’t give up though, because there are so many things in sight for me at 20 that you may not know or see yet. Your goals will change, so will your views, that is normal. Keep making friends, make sure to leave the ones that do not bring goodness to your life, and cherish the ones that do. I believe in you, and although it has taken me years to be able to say this…I love you. In all your forms, I love you. 

 

From, Me.