An Open Letter to My Younger Self About My Body

 

Dear younger self,

Hey, girl. It’s me: future you. In navigating my way through life, I’ve learned some very important lessons about your very being: your body. Having experienced the challenges and successes pertaining to self-acceptance and body positivity, this is what I wish for you to know:

1. There’s nothing wrong with you.

The only thing wrong is the public’s perception. So what if you’re naturally skinny? So what if you’re a shoe size ten? So what if you’re surpassing everyone in height? So what if your curls won’t cooperate with the straightening irons all the other girls in your class are using? So what?

2. You do not owe anyone an explanation for why your body is the way it is.

People will ask. You will grow increasingly sick of the same questions and start to demand answers from yourself. The lessons you were taught as a pre-schooler about politeness will challenge how you want to respond to the curious and demanding onlookers. But, you do not owe anyone an explanation for why you are the way that you are. Unless you’re speaking with your doctor, your body requires no labels or explanation.

 

3. Exploring who you are is not being “fake.”

I’ll let you in on a secret, past self. Even now, as a semi-adult, I still don’t know exactly who I am. (I’m pretty sure no else has the answer either.) So, how can you let others discourage you from trying new things if you’re still discovering who you are? Unfortunately, you are going to encounter people who will criticize your choices to change up your hairstyle or wear certain clothes. But, I promise, branching out and experimenting with your style (and in life) will help you find your true self! That’s why, looking back, I’m okay with my decision to wear a hot pink tutu with sparkly tights that one time to a school dance...I totally don’t cringe about it a little bit.

4. You will grow to cherish compliments about your mind more than any compliment about your appearance.

I know that impressing others with your beauty seems like the most important thing right now, but, SPOILER ALERT: collecting compliments about your appearance will matter less to you in the future. You’ll come to realize that existence doesn’t need to revolve around seeking validation from others. Instead, you’ll become more interested in how your kindness improves the lives around you or how your advice could help a friend get through a tough time.

5. It’s a learning process.

As you grow physically and as a person, you will have new revelations about what body positivity means to you. At times, you will get frustrated about the experiences you have to go through and society’s expectations for your body. You are allowed to feel angry. Transform that anger into passion, and find peace within yourself.

Go easy on yourself. You are beautiful.