Letter to My 10-Year-Old Self

Dear 10-year-old me,

I’m you in the future. You don’t know me yet, but you’ll wonder if you’ll ever meet me. Right now, I know the only thing that occupies your thought is whether you’re cool enough for your friends. You want the boys to think you’re cool, because you listen to their music. But you also want to be in gang with the pretty girls. Maybe then your peers will think that you’re cool and pretty too. You will have different versions of this kind of desire through the years. Your body will grow bigger, your insecurities along with it. And you will suffer.

I am here to give you a caution. Unnecessary perhaps, because even when you were younger, you’ve already had this uneasiness. You don’t know exactly what it is. Your small brain cannot grasp such an abstract concept. So I’m telling you straight that you’re going to grow up believing yourself ugly. And such an ugly thing doesn’t deserve good things.

For the next twenty years, you’re going to hate yourself so much. So much. At 11, you will wonder if you’re good enough for a boy to have a crush on you. At 12 to 15, you won’t have any idea what to do with your newly-gained curves. They make you feel like you stand out for an attention you’re not ready to receive. Yet when you compare yourself with the other girls, you can see that you’re built differently. You’re not as curvy as them. Some will mock you for looking like a boy, and in your embarrassment you’ll hide in your boyishness.

At 16 to 18, your world will fall apart. You’ll be angry at the decisions your parents make for you. You feel helpless as a child for having no agency over your life. But you’ve always been a wise girl. Not long after, you will see that what happens is the best thing that has happened in your life at that point. Oh, you will cry a lot. You’ll feel like you have no worth. Everything about you makes you ashamed, and you want to hide in the darkness forever. And yet, you’re hopeful.

At 19, you will meet him. The one who tells you you’re beautiful because the light is dim, and with it he robs you off of whatever sense of self-worth remains in you. You will cry an ocean until your head hurts. At some point, the tears stop, but your heart won’t cease crying for the next few years. You will meet other people who will hurt you. With your bleeding heart in your hand, you will hurt them too. Everything will hurt so much, the only way to get out of it is by convincing yourself that you’ve done this to yourself, that you deserve it, so it’s not so bad.

At 20 to 29, you will have lessons after lessons on letting go. You will feel defeated. The victory that you dream of is moving ever far away from you. You’re running on guilt. You will be your biggest enemy. You will beat yourself senseless for things you cannot deliver. You will wake up in the morning to maintain an appearance of being put together. You’re denying how much you’re spiraling down. From time to time, you’ll long for death to embrace you so you won’t have to feel anymore.

And yet.

Future you has all the love that she needs. Trust her that you’ll be fine.

I am here writing this letter to you. Oh, the wonderful, wonderful things I want to share with you. You see, I’m also writing this to give you my gratitude for holding on. You have no idea how strong you are. Despite the tears and rejection, you are going to carry yourself far. Deep inside you, in a corner that will take years for you to find, is a little girl who grows up to be a woman that pushes you to keep going. She takes care of you. Because she knows one day you’ll know what she knows. That you are beautiful. You’re worthy of love.

You are enough.

In the years to come, you will hurt. But you can’t exactly point your finger at what hurts. You’re going to put yourself in so much pain, different kinds of pain, intentional and accidental pain. And when you think you have collected every pain there is to suffer, you finally find the one pain that answers everything. Oh, how wonderful that day will be. That night you finally have everything you need to heal. You forgive yourself.

And then?

And then.

You will be invincible.

Love,

You.

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