Dear Younger Me

The photo shows a young black girl, about age 7/8. There is a sadness in her eyes. The photo embodies the emotion conveyed in the story.

Photo Credit: Photo by Joshua Oluwagbemiga on Unsplash

Dear Younger Me,

It has been a long time coming. We made it! We scaled to the tops of mountains you never thought possible. I am currently living your dream life in more ways than one. Along the way, I have won many battles. Others I lost. Regardless, the collaborative forces of the universe and the powers that be have made us a beautiful life – a fulfilling existence. You should be proud that you held on through the pain; the tears; the loneliness; the madness. My tribute today, and for eternity, is to you! You braved the hell and the high water. It’s you I have to thank for the woman I have become.

Indulge me for a bit if you may. Remember the days when your body was subject to criticism? From the adults especially? It was difficult to hear the multitude of comments pointing out the dozens of ways our body was imperfect. Their piercing words gnawed at your spirit and broke your soul. Our body became a “bad thing”, and you learned to hate it. After all, no good person likes bad things. Then came the years of pinching and tugging on the imperfect parts. The parts that you wished you could cut off with scissors to stop the pain of “imperfection.” Those parts that made you the subject of “jokes” among family members, friends and strangers!

Dear Younger Me, I want you to know that it was unfair for those around you, strangers and family, to pit you against your body. It was wrong for them to stir a war within you against the only body you will have in this lifetime. Moreover, I have good news for you. Grown me loves the curves now! She is amused by the jiggles of her tummy, legs and hands when she moves. Most days, she is unfazed by society’s ideals of the “perfect body.” Grown me dresses up and becomes a work of art! She is actively working to better her relationship with her body. And for that, you should be proud! You held on long enough to allow her to find herself, wading through the murky waters of constant body shaming and self-hate. I am proud of you! I celebrate you!

Remember how you were labelled REBELIOUS? Remember how you refused to conform to societal norms that made no sense to you? How you were demonized for it? So young, so tender. But, you chose to pay the ultimate price. You became the black sheep. The outlier. The rebel. All that at the cost of community. You lost your sense of belonging. It broke you. It still breaks me. Woman was not meant to exist as an island. Bearing the scars of lack of conformity, I still go through life as a lone wolf. On certain days, it is scary and lonely. On other days, especially when there is a need to speak up against injustice, I am grateful that you chose your voice over belonging. I possess this amazing tendency to raise my voice and air opinions contrary to unfair norms. I want to thank you for this gift of voice. I am only now finding the courage to use it on a grand scale. In time, I hope to get opportunities to use my voice to change my little corner of the world for the better.

As I finish Dear Younger Me, I would like to inform you that you found love for yourself – the greatest love of all. Against the odds, with the help of a great therapist, you found from within you a love to shower yourself and those around you. You should be proud of the fight you put up against societal norms meant to break you. Dear Younger Me, you are entitled to the righteous anger I have been trying to suppress lately. I promise to find ways to let you release it safely. You, Younger Me, fought valiantly. It is time that you rest now. Breathe easy. Breathe slow. I got you! I will always have you! Let me take it from here.

Yours lovingly,

Older Me.

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