A letter to my younger self

Dear young kiddo,

I wish I could stare into you and say this: your heart holds so much more depth than these scattered words. Nonetheless, words are all I have with a tight hug.

You are far too worried about taking things seriously than you should be. Life’s the solemn bucket of ice cream, so dearly that you sip on every bit of the taste. Take the taste out of the few moments that you have, they’ll keep your heart warm on most days. I wish I could advise you on what is the right thing to do but I still don’t have it all figured out. There is something that I can tell you, though. Be a little kinder to yourself and keep your heart guarded with what you are passionate about. Your greatest treasures are these qualities.

You’re far too worried about growing up than you should be. Each time you want to look a certain way, behave maturely, stand strongly and rebel, take a deep breath: nothing but your mental health matters. The success that you so dearly chase, each flower that you dry on books you’ve read, the ideals you hold tight, will all change as you grow older. Make a bucket list and believe in it, don’t make it your only aim. You deserve a photoshoot, but sometimes you will have to make do with a tripod stand. Let that smile out while you’re at it, and just have fun. It is a small moment of joy; look at yourself and feed that body some confidence. All those scars hidden in your sleeves are as much a memory as these are. Don’t be too afraid of being aloof or feeling pain, you never know how much power writing and therapy can give you. Do not feel guilty for redeeming these. Understand your privilege and use it the right way. Whether it is with words, or through tears.

You will not be the smartest person in the room but be assured nobody will look twice at you when you make a witty joke, so let it out. You will gain more confidence by asserting your thoughts with the right way of articulation. Let your art speak for you as well. Don’t downplay it as ordinary or unworthy, it is a part of your identity.

Do not shut the world out entirely when your heart crushes, heartbreaks and loving someone will come naturally to you. You will find that loneliness is quite inevitable, and it is brutal. Find something that makes you feel happy being by yourself. You will see how your random musings while writing or just listening to nothing makes you more comfortable in your skin. Dance wildly like no one is watching more often. You will eventually find a middle ground in loving yourself, owning your self-esteem.

Never say never to anything. Your greatest learning will come through to you in the moments your do not expect at all. It is quite an understatement to say, most of your adventures will not turn out the way you wanted them to. Does not mean they will not be memorable. Your friends that you share every detail with might not speak to you on an everyday basis, but this bond shall remain your greatest strength.

Your family might get on your nerves sometimes for obvious reasons. Try and think of what they’re saying as caring, and remember that sometimes they might not know how to get things across the right way. Their intentions will never be wrong. It will probably be a space of privilege where forgiveness will come easy. Say you love your mother more than ever; tell your dad you love his protection. They might not make it till the end of your inner space.

That’s the other thing, make peace with death. It will not come easy to you. The fear of losing the people closest to you needs a little warmth. You will not have them forever, just remind yourself to love them that way. However, their memories will stay with you as a capsule of their soul.

Let the sun come into your room more, literally and metamorphically. You will not get every opportunity that you want so hard, might even embarrass yourself trying, but that is a learning that you need to get off the rose-coloured glasses. Make sure not to let anyone walk over you as easily as you let them. It is you who is responsible for how sometimes people might treat you. Do not feel too disturbed if you end up trusting someone who was toxic. There are no rights or wrongs, just different mind spaces. Chose yours and stick to it. Listen to contrasting views more often, it will give you some much needed perspective. Try on new clothes and makeup and encourage your boyfriends to do so

too.

Just live well kiddo, live and make it the best you can.

Love,

Older self.

[Ishani Mukherjee-she/her]

[Photo credits: Olya Kobruseva]

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