A Love Letter to Myself

Dear Yishan,

I guess you should notice the chill has slipped into your bed. When you pull the curtains away, you can tell the leaves are fading in their vitality. The Scorpio month is fleeing away, in which you quietly grew one year older on a normal day. When people send you birthday wishes like “You’re a big girl now!”, do you really understand? Being nineteen years old doesn't indicate anything significant to you. You sigh and vex yourself for thinking about the higher expectations of the people around you. You chuckle over the fact that you have only two years before you can legally consume alcohol. You also make some of the same wishes as you did at six years old. The theme is always 'growth' for birthdays. I know you regret not achieving certain goals for each year, but I would like to offer you a few pieces of advice so you might mitigate your compunction.

Don’t be so petty

Even if you always reassure people that everything is fine, you seem to not believe in your own words. Don’t be so obsessed with nuances. If you feel like a new friend doesn’t like you in return, it is totally fine. Overthinking harms your mental health and it isn't worth your tears. Stop torturing yourself over a photo, a gesture, or an irrelevant word. 

Be the protagonist on the stage of your life

Play the roles however you prefer to. Any other person is part of an audience who catches a glimpse of your show while coming and going. If you respond to everyone’s desire and play the one character that they want, no one will be satisfied. Put yourself first or else it will be impossible for you to enjoy your life. 

Visit your family more and remind people you love them

Last weekend was your grandpa's death anniversary. I'm sorry you were unable to go home and bring him flowers. You didn’t get to see him several times before he passed away, but you found it even more surprising when you realized the absence of intimacy between your relatives. Even worse, do you still remember how old your cousins are or where your uncles live? I know there aren't many chances to maintain connections with them since you are abroad, but at least try your best to order a bouquet for grandma, make a video call to your aunt, or tell your mom how much you are grateful for her on a random day. 

You’re great, so don’t doubt yourself

There might not be a solution for everything, but so what? Let things be what they should be. As long as you have put in effort, you can leave with no shame. Imperfection is shared by everyone. I apologize for not reminding you that you are on the right track and failure is not your fault. I should have told you ahead of time that you need to be open to any possibility.

You’re pretty, or you’re ugly- both are amazing. 

Since middle school, you drowned in social media. The noises from media portrayals were indeed misleading. There was a time that you pursued what people favored on Instagram. Your heart was uneasy for who you were, what you looked like, why you were stuck at that moment. You read notes from fashion posts recommending outfit styles on “how to dress up to look slim” or “what makes your curves stand out." You heard that girls your age began to wear makeup and you wondered if you would fall behind, spending all your budget on useless accessories and hoping you could look better with them. It was miserable trying to reach your beauty ideal. You put yourself in a tiny box. I should have been there for you.

This might be all for now. I hope you can live the best version of your life and be greater than you ever have been. 

I will always love you and support you.