Jasmine Irving

A Note to My 14 Year Old Self

Breathe.

You don’t have to be anyone other than who you are and YOU get to decide who that is.

In essence, stripped bare, you are an expression of love and divinity, as is the ant that tickles your toes, earth that kisses your feet and thunder that rumbles through the sky. All is one and one is all. Everything you read in Cosmo magazine is there to distract you from this simple truth. The glossy photos are tampered with to make you feel insecure so they can make a financial profit from you, which is just plain mean. It would be more useful thrown in the fire so you can sit around the glow and toast your bones with a friend or five, or alone if that’s the mood you’re in. These are the moments that will be remembered.

Please don’t spend so much time resenting your flat chest and being envious of all your peers who actually have something to put in their first bras. I know it seems like you’re lacking something really important but trust me, you’re perfect the way you are. Your breasts can fill with life-giving milk to nurture another human being to make them strong, maybe one day they will. It’s awe-inspiring that those small mounds of flesh can do this! And even if that’s not the way things go, you won’t be loved any less for the size of your chest because anyone who cares to place such superficial value on your body and soul does not deserve to see them naked in all their glory.

That’s another thing, validation does not lie in being liked or desired by boys. I know that culture/society/experience, whatever you want to call it, has taught that your physical body is all you have to offer and that you don’t really have the right to the word “no” and that you must always be polite. But seriously, fuck that. Your worth does not lie in your physical appearance, you are already worthy. You don’t have to do or be or say anything other than what are naturally you, to be worth taking care of.

letter writing

Your body belongs to you and you have every right to be assertive about what happens to it. If a man does give you unwanted sexual attention or uninvited physical contact then deal with it however YOU feel most comfortable. Do not for one second try to be polite about it. Don’t feel guilty about someone else’s mistake, you are responsible for yourself not others.  Whether you slap him in the face, growl, shout or walk away do not let it change the way you view yourself.

I am sorry to say that you will meet a lot of men who partake in street harassment or think it’s okay to grope you in a public place or harass you. Most complete strangers, even on your way home from school wearing uniform, and it will start to feel like this is an inevitable part of being a woman. But do not accept it as the “norm”, it is not normal and it is not okay. They are one of the many reasons you will grow up to be a loud and proud feminist.

I’m desperately hoping that you don’t end up in a situation you can’t escape from, sadly for so many women it’s not an option to simply walk away as their body is broken into and violated. If this ever happens, to you or a friend, know that it’s never the victim’s fault. You don’t need to do anything differently, you don’t need to dress, talk or walk different. The perpetrator is ALWAYS the problem and the full blame lies with him. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Most importantly, please love yourself! And please look after yourself. You don’t need to get drunk or high to be okay or to numb the things you’re too scared to feel. One of the best acts you will ever do is to face up to the monsters that lurk in the shadows and make friends with them, because together you can do anything. Up close they’re not so scary anyway. The world needs you. Every single individual has the potential to make a difference and you are invited to be the change, to make an impact.

The gifts you bring to the world are valuable and you have every right to shine brightly. Never think you need to dim your own light and shrink into the corner for fear of upsetting anyone. If your own successes, however big or small, make someone else uncomfortable then that’s their journey to figure out, not yours.

Last but not least, totally buy a mooncup because they are amazing and will revolutionize your period (as well as help to protect the planet, it’s a win win!). Oh, and only ever remove body hair because you want to, not because you feel you should. That goes for everything actually. And remember, the more you can learn to take care of yourself and honour your own needs, the more you will be able to do the same for others.

I love you always.

Yours truly,

Me X

One thought on “A Note to My 14 Year Old Self

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