In celebration of the upcoming International Women’s Day on March 8th, Youtube launched a campaign called #DearMe to encourage young girls to pursue their dreams. Dear Me is a letter to your teenage self. If you could go back in time, what advice and wisdom would you share with yourself? Reflection time is my favourite time and I think this is an inspiring exercise! People always say to let the past stay in the past, and to look forward to shaping your future. But I often look back at my past. Not to dwell on it, but to see how far I’ve come. It’s a funny thing how sometimes in life, you don’t know why you do something until after you’ve done it, and you don’t see the path you’ve taken until after you’ve walked through it. You can only know how much wisdom you’ve gain after you take a look back at all your glorious victories.
When I was a teenager, I had many issues with myself. I was insecure about my body, my hair, and my appearance. Growing up as a kid, I was always told that I was pretty, but puberty really got me hard. All of a sudden, I couldn’t stand looking at myself. There was a big gap where I almost entirely disappeared from camera. The first thing I would tell my teenage self is that 1) you can be and look like everyone else. I had a phase in my life where I thought I couldn’t wear dresses and shorts and skinny jeans because my body is a hopeless cause. In reality, it was all in my head. The mind can have some powerful control! This is something I still struggle with, but I’m a lot more accepting of myself now. All I needed to do was to take the first step and to try. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
The second thing I would tell myself is 2) you will go farther than you ever planned to. When I was in high school, the thought of pursuing a graduate degree was something so beyond me. I am not an achiever at life. I didn’t even think I could get into McGill one day. Well, guess what 16-year-old me? You did, and you did it well. In fact, you will extend your degrees further than you know, so don’t doubt your abilities and don’t limit yourself.
The third thing: 3) Stop gossiping about others. I was your typical teenage girl. I would gossip away aaaalll the time at different people. “I have to tell you what she said / guess what she did? / I hate her so much.” Yep, that was me. I come from an all-girl’s school and it was hard not to fall into the talk trash trap. I would tell myself that whatever you are saying is only reflecting who you are inside. You don’t realize it, but it’s making you an uglier and uglier person. Stop criticizing people, stop judging people, stop the bullying. You are a kind and beautiful person. You need to let that shine through.
The next thing is something my teenage self would hate me for telling her: 4) Don’t give up on speaking French. I was never really good at french. I learned much later than people normally do and I never really caught up. Still, there was a time when I spoke much better french than I do now. In high school, I took it as a joke and hardly ever practiced it ever since. But I would warn myself that one day french will put me to the test, and I should keep it alive as much as possible.
The last thing I would tell myself is to 5) listen to your mom. We all come to a stage in life where we think we are really mature and have figured it all out. The truth is, our parents have walked through the same path and have seen the obstacles down the line. They only hope for your best interest. Trust her words when she tells you what challenges lie ahead. Believe her when she tells you that you are making a mistake. Your mom has plenty of wisdom up her sleeves. One day you will see that she was right all along.