A Letter to 11-Year-Old Me
A love note (to my younger self and any other kid who may feel ugly or alone right now.)
Dear 11-Year Old Me,
You're the most beautiful girl to ever walk the face of the earth. The fact that you recently (accidentally) dyed your hair bright orange and then cut it above your ears has no bearing on your beauty. I mean, really, the fact that you're so daring to try to go from dark brown to a blond bob, armed only with a bottle of Sun-In and a pair of kitchen scissors just further proves my point that you are the most gorgeous, amazingly intelligent creature ever. Oh wait, you don't want me to talk about how smart you are. You already know that you're smart. People tell you that all the time. But beautiful is something you don't really hear other than your grandmother telling you once that you have an "elegant Victorian neck", even though you don't know what the hell that means except that somehow it's a compliment.
You don't need to be tanner.
You don't need different hair.
It doesn't matter if you're taller.
Your nose is fine.
Great, now we've got that out of the way, and hopefully you will believe me because I already know what happens when you don't believe that you're beautiful and it's exhausting. You spend the next twenty years of your life "accidentally" dying your hair different colors and buying makeup based on the model on the box. Here is a life lesson that I want you to learn right now. YOU WILL NEVER LOOK LIKE THE WOMAN ON THE BOX. Not even if you buy that eyeshadow she's using. Not even if you cut your hair just like hers. Not even if you get the socks she's wearing.
I know this sounds harsh but it's important because, my dear, that's just how the world works. You are you. You are beautiful and smart and funny just the way you are. And weird.
So. fucking. weird.
I know you don't want to hear that you're weird but you need to. Embrace that shit. Someday when you're not in fifth grade, you're going to find out that there is a whole world of weird people like you. Weirder even. That place is called Twitter and you should spend as much time there as possible.
But right now you're still in fifth grade and shit is hard. It's real hard. You go to a Catholic school and you're one of only ten girls and, let's just say, you're not one of the chosen ones. You're not one of the pretty ones. You're not one of the ones that the boys chase. You're not one of the ones that the other girls want to be. Sometimes you're the outcast. Sometimes even your best friend turns on you. It's not her fault. You do the same to her. It's just the way of the world. It's just survival right now. You will forgive each other and forgive yourselves. But right now, you feel so alone. And sad.
But I want you to know, you will get through this.
Don't give up.
You don't know it now but this is building your character, which is one of those stupid things that adults say but it's totally true. This is making you fierce. Every night that you spend in your bed crying about the mean thing that some girl said to you today is making you stronger and braver. Even though sometimes you wish you were dead, this is teaching you what it means to be alive. You are learning about friendship and kindness and how to treat others. It will make you a better person someday. It will make you a better mother.
It will make you beautiful.
You get through this.
I love you.
Eve writes at thatsmyapple.com
More from parenting