Note to my 12-year-old self

What I wish someone had told me back then…

All those apples you’re eating in a killer attempt to lose weight will make you forever dislike apples. Stop worrying so much about those extra 5 kilos you want to drop; believe me, it’s the thinnest you’ve ever been. It’s a battle you’ll have to endure for much longer than you hope — that of coming to accept yourself in your own skin. Your combat with body image is not one of your own, but that of your entire female bloodline and community. I have to agree, that’s a heavy burden for a 12-year-old.

You never fit in with the cool kids, and you never will. But mark my word, you wouldn’t trade one day of your life for being cool. Don’t let it bother you that they label you as a nerd; you are, and you will grow a reputation for being the grammar nazi. You’ll even make a living out of it. (I know you’re not a book worm, but many people will fall for this false image — God Knows why!)

For a long time, you’ll think you have nothing to attract the boys’ attention even though you know what you’re worth and worthy of. There will be times when you think you are totally off their radar, but you aren’t. And guess what, it’s not the looks that they’ll fall for — just the way you always wanted it to be. Not having their attention will hurt like hell, but once you reach some solid grounds of self-esteem regarding this matter, it’ll feel so much better.

The heartbreaks you encounter will hurt like a monsoon slapping you in your face, but you’ll eventually heal and you’ll come out of them wiser.

There’s so much that you’ll have to figure out on your own as you go through life. No one told you much about puberty beyond the physical change. No one will tell you much about adulthood or womanhood either. They’re all full of confusion and unrest. It’ll be exhausting, but you’ll get the hang of it.

You think you know it all, but honey, you don’t. However, I must admit you did make some pretty wise decisions by listening to your heart and staying true to yourself. Thank you for that!

I’m sorry to tell you that the world isn’t as beautiful as you think it is. It isn’t normal to grow in an intact family with loving parents. They’re your biggest blessing in this whole wide world. I know you feel like sometimes they don’t get you, believe me, I still feel the same way, but do cut them some slack. They have been through so much shit that you’ll only learn of later. They love you beyond your capacity to understand.

And your brother? I know it hurts you that he’s so distant, but I only know now why he’s acting the way he is, and how he’ll act for several years to come. It’s very, very confusing growing up. Coming to be at odds with who you thought you were, your values and society isn’t at all easy. It’ll force you into a cocoon of silence that feels safer than connecting and being misunderstood. Guess what, he too loves you a lot, you just need to understand that he expresses it differently from what you expect.

Not many people will understand you, and I’m not talking about our parents here, I mean society. At times, it’ll come so easily to you to not give one damn about what people have to say, and at other times you’ll have to fight so fiercely for it.

You’re a pain in the ass, and you’ll still be one for many years to come, mostly because you won’t take no for an answer, which is both a good and a bad thing. In retaining who you truly are, and in following that urge to be who the voices in your belly tell you you are, you’ll find out so much about yourself and your soul. But it comes at a price, just as everything worthy. It’ll sometimes exhaust you, but it’s worth it. You also have to learn to find the balance which earns you what you want without losing anything or anyone of great value to you. Be smart, girl!

It’s okay to make mistakes, it really is. Stop beating yourself up over every little thing, gosh you’re killing us. I don’t know where this all began where we started denying ourselves the right to be wrong, or to be second best, but I’m working on it. I promise I’ll set this right.

I don’t care what you think, you’re beautiful. Believe in that.

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