Love Who You Are, An Open Letter to My High School Self

Stop it. I know you’re staring at your pre-shower body in the mirror. Sucking in your stomach and wishing that your thighs were the size of your calves. I know that you log everything that you eat and freak out when you’ve gone over your suggested daily calorie intake. I know that right now, you think that having the body that you want means everything- that people care about how much you weigh or what your waist measurement is. What I wish you knew is that your body is beautiful, just the way it is. Love who you are.

You don’t need to have a thigh gap, and it’s okay to have a bigger tummy after dinner. Your body is your body. No one else has it. No one will ever have one exactly like it. Embrace it and love it. Take care of it. So, go to yoga because it feels good to stretch. Run for the runner’s high. Go for walks to give yourself time to think and clear your head. Go on the early morning hike and watch those beautiful Arizona sunsets.

Don’t work out with the “burning calories” mindset. One thing that you will learn later is that you are beautiful, and that that little bit of cellulite is what makes you human. I promise that this constant battle you have with your body right now is temporary. You will grow up to promote body positivity and encourage girls to love themselves for who they are. You will grow up to love your own body. And I promise, you will find that love very, very soon.

What I wish you knew is that your body is beautiful, just the way it is.

I also know that you’ve probably cried over that boy who broke your heart not too long ago. In this moment, I know that it seems like the end of the world. It feels like he was the one and that you will never, ever feel that way again about anyone. I can tell you right now, that you will, and that it will be someone far more worthy. This, I can promise you: the heartache you feel right now won’t last forever.

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that this won’t be your last heartbreak. You will go through more as you get older. The good news, that totally outweighs the bad news, is that one day, those heartbreaks will stop because you’ve found the right guy. So, no more tears. Don’t give him that power. No stupid boy is worth your tears.

I also know that right now, you’re hiding the fact that you’re a “drama club kid” at school. You got the lead in your first school play, and you literally run into the theater thinking no one is looking, because you don’t think that being in drama club is “cool”. Well, guess what? It is so cool. Stop letting the fear of what others may think about you stop you from doing what you love with pride.

Please know that this fear of yours will quickly fade, and you will realize that what you’re doing is far more important than what the football players think of you. Being a “drama geek” isn’t even a bad thing, and people will love and appreciate you for loving yourself. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Be proud of who you are, and always pursue your passions. I can also tell you that theater isn’t a phase. So, get used to it!

I know that right now, all of your problems seem catastrophic. That this one fight with your friend is the end of the world. You didn’t believe Mom when she told you, so I, your future self, will have to reiterate: in a few years, the problems you might face now are going to mean nothing to you. Friends fight, but then they make up. Boys break your heart, but you heal. You fail a test, but you ace the next one. Sometimes conflict gets thrown your way, but that’s just life. As you get older, I promise, you will learn how to better deal with conflict and you will feel much more relaxed about it.

Love who you are. You are you for a reason! Stop changing yourself to satisfy others. If people don’t like you for who you are, then they aren’t worthy of your time. It’s okay to think that you’re talented or pretty or funny, and just because you think those things, doesn’t mean you are full of yourself. It shows self-love. And I promise, you will have so much of it by the time you are in college. So hold on. High school can suck. But life gets exponentially better. You are loved, always.

You (in a few years)