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To the version of me who got me here,

You always wondered what it would be like. What I would be like. You always questioned if you’d get to where you wanted to, and sometimes, you wondered if you’d even make it at all. Oftentimes, I find myself frustrated and disappointed with myself. With the actions I take. With myself. Then, in the back of my mind, I think about what you would say, and that helps me through. Today, I want to take the time to do the opposite, I want to tell you everything I wish you would’ve heard back then.

The first thing I want you to know is that you learned that you belong inside every door you fought to open. As a child, you constantly questioned how the fact that you were a woman fit in with the men you saw in the positions you desired. You wondered if every time that you were told you couldn’t do something it was because you were a girl. This used to tear you down, but eventually, you turned that dynamic around. Not only did you learn to use that as fuel, but you became never endingly empowered by it. Each one of your inherent and internalized issues dismantled itself slowly, and you began to learn that you belonged inside of every space you have worked to get to.

Along with deconstructing each of the things you had been taught to constrict you. You took the time to learn about the many women who took the time to not only do that, but to advocate for all women everywhere. You read about Malala, Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Warren- and you found so much comfort in the way they taught you that change called for situations bound to be uncomfortable.  

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You learned to call things out. You learned how to become comfortable with every bit of yourself because every bit of her is beautiful. You learned about the ways that there would always be someone who wanted to belittle your being, but you learned that you’d always be enough. You learned about beauty standards and the harm behind them. You learned to embrace the things you once hated, and you found passion in advocating for every single person you could.

You learned about the many ways to express your feminism, and about how everyone is empowered in different ways. You learned about how these, along with intersectionality are forever evolving. You began to wonder why the media lacked representation, and you actively placed yourself in spaces where you could work to defy the status quo. You learned about the problem with numbers, and how somehow society tries to demean women to be nothing. Despite this, you continuously fought for the fact that women are much more than that, and that their existence is beyond valuable. You learned that they belonged inside every room they fought hard for access to. 


So, as I sit here, telling you everything I wish you could’ve known back then, I want to thank you for pushing me to change the things that actively brought you down. I want you, along with every other little girl who continues to be brought down by the weight of the world, to know that you are so authentically beautiful and that while progress isn’t easy, it’s possible. It is well on its way, and that many people around the world, including you, are actively fighting to defeat the things that you so strongly wished to change.

With all of the love in the world,

19 year old you.

Ella Salazar

CU Boulder '23

Ella is majoring in International Affairs and Journalism. She loves books, makeup, and good food. In her free time she likes to find new coffee shops, watch good movies, and travel.
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