Dear 16-year-old me,
I’m going to start with an apology. It’s terrible, I know it’s terrible and I’m so sorry. The boils, the rashes, the lumps and the pain; the physical pain of waking up in the morning to find another breakout is much more than your delicate self-confidence can handle. You want to feel confident, you want to own your skin but how can you do that when everywhere you look, it’s women with near-perfect skin. It’s not your fault and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it and I wish you knew that you’re not as alone as you think you are.
Beauty is an interesting and dynamic concept and if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t been able to grasp it fully even at 26. But if I’ve learned one thing in these past ten years then it is this- beauty isn’t skin deep, it’s heart deep. It’s not acne or marks or scars that make you ugly, it’s hate in your hearts that does.
I know all you want is to feel pretty, to fit in and to feel loved and as much as you think you’re alone in wanting these things, you’re not. These are the most natural and basic human emotions to feel. Everyone wants affection, everyone wants a hug and everyone wants external validation.
You’re terrified of standing in front of the camera and zoom into every photo of yours but if there’s one piece of advice I could give you it would be that it’s high school, everyone is insecure and everyone is terrified. I know it hurts when your friends obsess over getting that one zit during your sleepovers and I know some days you feel like not going to school is the only option but it’s not. I want you to look in the mirror and I mean really look at yourself, wrap your arms around your body in a warm embrace and repeat after me- I am strong. I am powerful. I am beautiful.
Yes, sometimes the compliments can seem worse than the insults. When people say, “Oh, your skin looks clearer today.” You feel like running to the bathroom and bawling because it means people notice, they notice all the time, even when you forget to.
Classmates can be mean and hateful and call you names but that’s just a reflection of who they are and their own insecurities, it’s got nothing to do with you. You don’t stop looking right at their faces because you’re good just as you are. Perfection is a myth and the people really worth keeping close will love you and will always find you gorgeous, acne and all.
The vicious ones will snigger, they will laugh but the good ones will do anything to make you smile. Sometimes your mind won’t be on your side, sometimes the depression will win but just remember, you are a gift to the world and it’s a brighter and happier place with you in it.
Lots of love,
Featured Image: Pexels