A Letter To My Teenage Self

Image credit: @freethepimple_

Hello, you clueless, innocent, impressionable, teenage girl. It’s me, your Future Self. While I can’t save you from your fate, I am going to share with you five of my most valued life-lessons. In fact, you all might as well gather round...

If you do not hold slim, white-/white-passing, or feminine-appearing privilege, you will be shamed.

Number 1: Loving yourself is the start of your revolution

Across different stages of your life, the patriarchy will make you feel sexually objectified, not good enough, or both to varying degrees. In fact, you can pretty much guarantee being sexualised most of the time. The world’s obsession with your body is going to make you feel ALL THE WAYS about yourself, conscious or not.

Image credit: @adamjk

If you have the aesthetic advantage, commonly known as “pretty privilege”, you’ll be granted attention and opportunities, but also live in a constant state of sexual objectification. If you do not hold slim, white-/white-passing, or feminine-appearing privilege, you will be shamed and made to feel like your natural form is not worthy of appreciation, worth, or even love.

However you may look, you are most likely going to develop some kind of aesthetics-based insecurities that run deep into the very fibres of your identity. The way to overcome this is to be aware that some of capitalism’s fattest profits are made off of your insecurities.

By keeping you insecure, the patriarchy will be able control everything about you. From the way you feel about yourself, to the way you let others treat you, to the partners you choose, to what you purchase, and how you show up for yourself in the world, the patriarchy will be in control as long as you are identified with your insecurities.

Stop dreaming about the perfect person coming to sweep you off of your feet; you have already met them.

When you know this and choose to love and accept yourself shamelessly in spite of it, you will be committing your greatest act of rebellion. You will be taking back a power that has been slowly stolen from you your entire life.

If you are told that you are not good enough, go out and take the things they say are reserved only for people unlike you. If you are told that you have the perfect form, do not be afraid to use your privileges to your advantages. The patriarchy loves the idea of beauty until beauty makes them pay for access.

The most important part of your physical form is not your ass, or your tits, or your stomach. It’s your fucking brain. Use it. Exercise it until it gets so jacked it will literally Jackie Chan the fuck out of patriarchy’s attempt at oppressing you (internally, at least).

Image credit: @florencegiven

Number 2: You have already met your soul mate

Stop dreaming about the perfect person coming to sweep you off of your feet; you have already met them. Go to the mirror and have a fucking look. THAT BITCH looking back at you is your soul mate. They will propel you into success if you care for them deeply enough.

They will protect you when everyone else has forsaken you. They will give you the fulfilment you’ve never found in all the places you’ve been looking. If you don’t learn to love yourself the way you deserve, you will never know ~true~ love with anyone else.

Number 3: You do NOT owe anyone “pretty”

Your purpose on this planet is NOT to please others. It is not to be “pretty” – whatever the patriarchy has tricked you into thinking that means. And I mean “pretty” in terms of aesthetics and personality. You do not need to be easily digestible, nice, smiley, approachable, polite, and quiet when it is in your best interests not to be.

Bet your bottom dollar on the fact that if you let them do you truly dirty once, they will most likely do it again.

You are not a product to be consumed. You are a force of nature. If people do not like you simply for being who you are, do not shrink yourself down into bite-sized chunks. Let them have you whole and watch them fucking choke.

Number 4: Accept peoples’ actions as a display of their true colours

Unrealistic expectations can land you in trouble that will traumatise you. Do not stick around for bad treatment, let alone abuse, in the hopes that a person will change, or become the person you think you know them to be. The person you think you know them to be beneath their trash behaviour is often just the one you wish they were, but will never actually be.

It’s an illusion that will have you lapping up repeated doses of unspeakable treatment in the hopes that one day you’ll get what you deserve – even though what that even is becomes unclear when everything you tolerate is beneath you. Take people and their actions at face value; bet your bottom dollar on the fact that if you let them do you truly dirty once, they will most likely do it again.

Know your worth and set your expectations high. If the person you love isn’t as loyal as a golden retriever, as financially supportive as the dad you never had, and as ever-encouraging of you flourishing as an independent being, then let the door hit them on the way out.

Number 5: Knowledge is power

One of the most important things you’ll learn, if not the most important, is to become woke to the systems of privilege and oppression that govern our society.

When you are armed with a deep understanding of how the systems of oppression control marginalised people and empower slim, white, straight, able-bodied people, you will wake you from the slumber of apathetic indifference that stifles all that is good and right in the world. That is, if you’ve been so privileged to be sleeping there in the first place. You need to be ~awake~ to be a decent person, let alone the best version of yourself.

Many of the conversations you have with dumb, teenage, cishet white men (and definitely most old ones) will pollute your brain. You’re better off reading books and learning as much as you can from sources that aren’t created by them.

No matter how many shit people you meet, never lose hope.

Listen to intersectional feminists, self-love activists, and voices within marginalised communities. If you bear privilege, amplify their voices by passing the mic wherever possible. Note that I said by ~passing~ the mic, and not by speaking for them.

If you’re slim, white, straight, and able-bodied, you are under obligation to recognise your privileges, educate yourself about Black History, and be actively anti-racist. It’s either that, or you can remain complicit in the oppression of Black Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC).

Do the right thing, especially when it is hard. Stand up for what is right. Speak out. Use your privilege well, without seeking gratification. Be empathetic with every action, big and small. No matter how many shit people you meet, never lose hope. There are so many gems that are yet to be drawn to your highly-vibrating energy, and they will make you know deep in your bones that there is goodness in this world.

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