This week, after talking about body image and the roots of body dissatisfaction, we thought about what we wished we could tell our childhood selves. We could choose any age to write to, but you’ll notice many of us chose the same age. Our letters are below – what do you think? What would you tell yourself as a child? And how can we use these reflections to frame how we talk to children today?


Dear 13 year old me,

Breasts are natural, they grow, and they grow pretty big in our family. Don’t stop playing sports because the boys stare. Ignore the big breast nicknames like “[name] with the big titties.” The names don’t last, the jokes die off very early, and please, for the love of whatever God/Goddess we believe in, don’t accept those old ass granny bras from Big Mama. They’re uncomfortable and make your breasts look more cone-shaped. Tell Ma that Lane Bryant is the real place we should have gotten our bras from.

BTW, as an added bonus, you grow up and marry a titty-loving man who never makes you uncomfortable about your breasts. In fact, he even wants to create a bra line for girls like us so we can have cute bras that aren’t just black and beige.

Love ya kid,

Your future self <3


Dear 13 year old me,

You are taller than most kids your age and I know you think you stand out. Trust me when I say, everyone is thinking about their own things. You are not “freakishly” tall and who cares if you are taller than boys your age? Later you will come to terms that you don’t like boys that way. You are beautiful, strong, smart, and these feelings/fears will pass with time and with confidence. At this age, most kids feel like black sheep (outsiders), so try not to worry and remember to breathe. You will get through this moment.

Love,

Future Me


Dear 13 year old me,

I know middle school may have been extremely difficult for you because you didn’t know many people, and the people that you did meet weren’t the nicest, but I want you to forget all of that once you start high school next year. I know that your self conscious about the way you dress and that your arm is kind of discolored due to summer camp, but I want you to embrace who you are no matter what and don’t try to change yourself or appear to be something you’re not just because it may seem cool. Stay you and actually do your homework, and I promise you have a bright future ahead of you.

Love,

21 year old you


Dear 13 year old me,

This was the year you decided you weren’t beautiful because you weren’t as curvy as your friends. I remember you trying to talk about it, but always being shut down because other people said you couldn’t complain because you were skinny. 5 years, almost 6 years later, I can tell you, you won’t have those curves that Katie has or like your sister, but you have grown up into someone who is beautiful. I struggled with my confidence. I mean, I judged my hips and how they dip in a bit, my super small waist, but hey, they’re part of me. It takes a long time to love who you are, but through confidence and shutting out what mom says, it happens. So fuck dreaming of having curves. The way you look may not be perfect, but trust me, you learn to own it. You are beautiful. One day you’ll learn that as long as you are healthy and happy, that’s enough! And remember, if you are ever insecure about how you look or what you are wearing, Freddie Mercury would rock that outfit. So just be you and give no fucks. If you’re happy, go for it!

Good luck!

18 year old me


Dear 12 year old me,

Before you start worrying that everyone is looking at you,

or your hair

or your teeth with braces

or your shirt

or your pants

or your unpainted nails

or worrying that you’re

not skinny enough

not pretty enough

not smart enough

not outgoing enough

not quiet enough

not interesting enough

or that everyone

is looking at you

judging you

disgusted by you

Just know that everyone is worried about the same things. They are worried about everything on this list. And if you don’t like who it feels, then don’t do it to other people.

Love,

Your 19 year old self


Dear 10 year old me,

You have no need to worry about what others think or to be self conscious about how small you are or how you look with those glasses, because as you get older you will realize that the small insecurities you don’t like about yourself are now what make you unique and who you are. You are a beautiful girl and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Love,

Me


Dear 17 year old me,

Love yourself as much as you love sleeping. Your booty is fine. Embrace it! Stop comparing yourself to others and e you! Life is too short to have a negative mindset. If you want to lose weight, do it but do it for you and not to fit in with the “skinny girls.” You’re your own worst critic and it shows. Love yourself first before making these drastic changes. People come and go but you’ll never leave your skin. You have the rest of your life to spend in your body, why aren’t you in love with it yet? Self love is the best love. The sooner you start to genuinely love yourself, the better your life will turn out to be. Pick up your crown and live your best life!

xoxo,

22 year old me


Dear 11 year old me,

You are going to be great some day. You are going to be 5’2″ and a strong minded young woman. One thing that I know now that you don’t is that your body doesn’t have to look like everyone else. You don’t have to compare yourself to the mean girls nor the people you see as “popular.” They are going to struggle with the same problems that you are going to go through. Find yourself and be the best person you can be. BE YOU!

With love,

22 year old me


Dear 11 year old me,

You’ve always been told that you’re beautiful and now you’re hitting puberty. Guess what? You’re still beautiful and you still get the same attention, maybe even more. Continue to love yourself like only you can!!! You’re in a league of your own!!!

xoxo,

A much older you

PS: Don’t forget to smile and no matter what anyone else things, you are funny!


Dear 11 year old me,

I promise you, it is a phase. You’re totally rocking the whole scene queen thing, but we ditched that around freshman year of high school. You’ve always been so creative and expressive, thanks to the encouragement instilled from mom, dad, and grandma. We’ve gone through Avril Lavigne-inspired punk princess to total tom-boy graphic t-shirts to scene myspace my chemical romance fun, to pop punk tumblr girl to hardcore freshman in h.s. Now we’re pretty into fashion and makeup. We ditched the youtube channel though. Even though we’ve always been a bit bigger than the “average” girl, we’re super cute now. Keep expressing yourself through makeup. It pays off. At 18 you land your dream job of being a makeup artist. No way, right? No matter what clothes or makeup you put on that 11 year old body, you still grow into a flourishing young woman.

I love you, so love yourself!

Me


Dear Lil Me,

There’s so much to unpack. First off, you like girls and that’s why you feel that way. It never really became an issue, but it was sort of confusing. ALSO, you don’t HAVE to be a girl. Or a boy! You can be neither! or both! You can be whatever you want and no amount of femininity or masculinity you possess will invalidate whatever identity you find in yourself.

Now here’s the complicated part. You are going to go into a career field which will not only CAUSE you to be hyper-critical of yourself, but will REQUIRE you to be so. You will hate yourself even more than you already do. You will hate your voice and the cadence of your speech. You will hate your squishy body. You will hate your boobs. You will hate your eyes. Your nose. Your height. So much of your body will be what you want to change. You will criticize your Asian-ness and Latino-ness and even more ridiculous shit you can’t change. You will be inexplicably depressed and sometimes you’ll know exactly where it comes from. You will be critical of the inner psychological things you can AND can’t control. It’ll be no different on the outward factors.

I know you never cared about being WEIRD or anything, but even so – don’t stop. All of your cumulative attributes will at some point or another contribute to some things that bring you the most joy. Furthermore, you WILL find things you LIKE about yourself! I don’t wanna spoil anything though…finding joy is the best part of life. You are a vessel for wonderful things. Cherished that.

Me