An Open Letter To My 9-Year-Old Self
Hey, girl! It’s me. Your self from the future.
I know you don’t speak English (yet), but I also know you’ll be able to understand this text. Just go get that yellow big heavy English dictionary you have at home, and you’ll figure things out (I won’t use any fancy words here, promise!). I just felt like sending you a message this year. I hope you don’t mind, because I want to ask you a few favors — for your future.
Little me, I know you’re curious to know how things are going so far. I’ll tell you a little bit…
You’ll see the Backstreet Boys live (I can see you already freaking out). You’ll start eating veggies, you’ll never smoke (hopefully), and things will get harder. You’ll make stupid mistakes, regret lots of things, and you’ll cry lots of time — and you feel guilty often. You’ll cut your hair very short, and try to keep it short — just don’t. As for now, I’m in pain, which means you’re in pain, too. That’s why I’m writing to you.
I know you’re excited and scared. You’re about to turn 10, and you’ll soon start 5th grade. Big deal. More responsibility, I know. But you can handle it, the same way you’ve been handling everything you’ve been through so far. School is your safe place, remember? This time, you’ll have classes in the afternoon, so you’ll get to sleep until late and watch cartoons in the morning. You’ll also have a bunch of different teachers, and because it’s public school, they won’t always show up. You’ll go home early sometimes, and you’re gonna find it the best thing. But listen to me! This is not cool — you’re not having the kind of education you’re supposed to, and I’m worried about you…
Oh, little girl… I know you cry sometimes. I remember. But I’m so proud of you for keep smiling, and keep dreaming. You’re so smart and beautiful. I need you to believe that you’re beautiful! Because you are! I know you hate your ears, and you hate being skinny (I kinda still do, too!), but these details don’t define who you are, and don’t make you less worthy.
Let me tell you about Self-love.
Because you don’t have Google (and nobody does, ‘cause that’s coming out in a few years), I’ll explain it to you: self-love is the act of loving yourself, believing that you’re beautiful, capable and worthy, taking care of yourself — for yourself, not someone else, and standing for your dreams. You’re kinda good at it already! And you’re even teaching our mom how to love herself, too. Speaking of that… keep doing it. I know it’s hard work, I know you think she’ll never be free, but you have no idea how much you’ll change her — little by little. I’m so proud of you for that.
9-years-old me, you’re so damn brave. You’re also kind. And angry. I know you want to run away. I know you want to leave and never look back. And one day, you will. But for now, I want you to be brave. I could’ve sent a letter to our 16-year-old self, but I chose you. Because I trust you. And you need to know this.
You’ll feel a lot of complicated feelings. You’ll see and hear a lot of stuff that you shouldn’t. But don’t let any of that get inside your heart. Please! I beg you. None of this is your fault. Life’s complicated… So remember this: it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok if you don’t want to stay where you are. Don’t feel bad for choosing your own path, and for choosing to be free. No one has the right to judge you. No one is walking in your shoes, but you. I’m telling you this, because I trust you. I love you. And I need you.
Here’s an idea. In a little over 10 years, you’ll discover social media. I want you to be brave and use it to share your thoughts, even if you think it’s stupid, or that no one will read it. You’ll have a lot to say, and it’ll help you vent. And your message will be of service to other human beings out there. So don’t be afraid to speak up — or type up, whatever. You can start talking about how you love yourself. You can talk about music, style, and hardship. You’re not alone, kid. Go build your tribe!
You know, all this childhood shit you’ve been (and will be) put through isn’t fair, and I know you wanted it to be different. But I’ll ask you one more favor: remember it’s not your fault. And that you deserve and earned the right to be happy. Stop fighting against your growth. Don’t be afraid to shine.
I’m already so proud of you.
- Your Almost-32-Year-Old self.
— X —
I’m writing this open letter to vent. to be free. to heal. & to speak up for the girl child out there who also comes from a broken family. Our home is supposed to be a safe place, where we learn about love and respect. At my home, I didn’t have that. And it’s hard when you’re growing up, but it’s even harder when you’re an adult, so I learned.
Still, I have access to food, clean water, and education. I could make my own choices, and fight. Many many girls around the world, including in the US, go through situations much more difficult than what I’ve been through.
“The International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations. The observation supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriage.” Font: Wikipedia.
We need to protect our children.
No child deserves to witness violence, abuse, to be hungry, to experience humiliation.
Find a cause, join a movement. Use your voice, money, time or power to help somehow.