Becoming Unapologetic: A Self-Love Letter To The Girl In The Mirror

Woman laying in a field of flowers Photo by Guillaume Bolduc from Unsplash

 

Dear Rachel, 

It's been a good life. 

I think by now we know all too well that life is not all sunshine and rainbows, no matter what the picture books and Disney films taught you when you were little. Of course there are plenty of moments where the sun is shining and the water in the pool is just the right temperature, or people laugh at your jokes in group settings, or the meal you cook turns out just perfect. But, there are also those moments where it's too dark and foggy to go outside or you don't feel like getting out of bed and seeing people, and the mere thought of cooking makes you want to recoil. 

I see you every day, right in the mirror, and some days are better than others. Some days you're tired and don't want to brush your hair. Some days you're completely put together, ready to go to class and tackle whatever else is going to be thrown at you. I'm here to remind you of the power of self-love. Self-love is consistent self-discipline, and it's important to think of it like that. It's important because anything can be done with proper discipline. You don't have to be the smartest person in the room but if you dedicate yourself to studying and understanding the material and getting help when you ask for it, over time you'll learn it and you'll feel on top of the world. You don't have to be the most beautiful woman in the world, but if you take care of yourself, wear what you want, and love yourself so fiercely around the edges that no amount of hate can get in, you will see your beauty radiating around you. 

For a long time, you didn't like yourself. You avoided mirrors whenever possible because it hurt to see something so imperfect because all around you were glossy magazine pages and gigantic billboards and immaculately edited Instagram posts and Youtube videos that screamed perfect. You saw the carefully filtered media that filled your social media, with pictures of models with photoshopped bodies and acne-less, blemish-free, symmetrical faces and bodies and you thought for years that if you couldn't look like that, you weren't anything worth looking at. There was so much fear and stigma and stereotyping surrounding looking like an Indian girl when what was ideal always seemed like the opposite of who you were. It was hard not to count calories when consuming food, and it was hard not to constantly check your weight, and it was still hard to look into the mirror on days where you truly did not feel pretty. 

One day, as cheesy as it sounds, you recognized the importance of gratitude. Every day, you woke up breathing and alive, had access to education, and had supportive people around you that made you feel like you belonged. Gratitude lists became your favorite thing to start the day with. Today the neighbor's dog was wearing the cutest sweater and I'm grateful I got to see it. Today I woke up and everything smelled like summer. Today I'm going to make blueberry cinnamon pancakes. Today I'm going out for dinner with my best friend from high school. 

Loving yourself was definitely not an easy battle, but you should never and will never apologize for who you are and what you look like. Since then you have learned to romanticize even the un-romantic things and the mundane. Since then looking into the mirror is always a journey back into how you became who you are today. Someone once told you that every single flower begins with a seed and that seed begins nestled so far under the ground that it looks like such a long journey up. But it makes its way. 

And so have you. 

Love,

Rachel 

 

pink carnations in a clear glass bottle Photo by Debby Hudson from Unsplash