A letter to my teenage self:
So, I have seen tons and tons of these before, and I figured now that I am twenty-one, why not give it a shot. So here goes.
You made it to 21 and I am so proud of you. The days you were certain you wouldn’t make it past 15, 16 and 17, must be inscribed in your memory. But you made it, and you’ve done so well. Well, you’ve done better than you thought you would. You’re graduating from university in less than three months, you’ve discovered many things about yourself, you’ve seeked help, you’ve made a wonderful set of friends, you have learned how to forgive, to love, and oh, the list is endless.
I remember when you were thirteen and you cried because your mother scolded you about something, she called you something you didn’t like and you just weeped in the bathroom. Don’t worry about things you are called, don’t let them define you. Not now, not ever. You’re doing alright in school, you love your friends and they love you back. What more could you have asked for. Your first best friend left in 7th grade, gosh, you missed her so much and you cried. And cried. And cried. But that’s okay, because people leave all the time, sometimes literally. But you made it. Well done.
You’re in the 8th grade, what are you doing bestowing an enormous amount of your trust on a stranger you met on the internet? Don’t be so silly, Meera, the virtual world is good, yes, but the real world has a lot more to offer. But I understand, a self-confidence that’s the size of a pea must have been really difficult. You shut off your computer almost immediately, I applaud you for that. To this day. Don’t worry about being popular, focus on your school work and respect your teachers. They are only looking out for you. And how dare you bully the girl that sat in front of you because you thought she was weird and smelt odd. I am so ashamed of you. To this day. How dare you bully anyone at all, you disgust me.
Why were you so eager to be friends with the new kid in grade 9? Was it because she had a cool accent or because she looked really pretty? It’s okay, because she ended up being one of your closest friends. A close friend you have no idea about anymore, oh, what a friendship. Why did you quit the play? You are so stupid. Mocks matter, but you failed them all anyway. You may as well have failed while making a room full of people laugh…and making sure your English teacher didn’t develop a grudge against you.
Well done on your IGCSE results, you did wonderfully I am so proud of you. I must tell you, or rather scold you, for pretending to finding certain actors attractive just because all your friends did. No. You should have said what was in your mind, that you just did not understand why or how. But that’s okay, when you’re a teen, fitting in is almost as important as breathing.
Meera, Meera, Meera, how could you have given up on all your dreams so easily? How…and why did you? I am still mad at you. I will never get over that day when you were 16 wearing your nearly bought uniform, in a new school, telling a man you had met for the first time, ‘’I am okay with dropping literature and media’’, you’re so stupid. Where was your mind? Where was your heart? Silly girl. You regret this everyday, and you should, it is all your fault.
I am really amazed at how you took the initiative to shred some weight, about time as well. You managed to get so much smaller, and you quit sodas as well.
Meera, women are not meant to be treated like shit, despite what you have witnessed, women are human beings. Let your father scold you, you are not defined by his scolds. I am glad you realised that, took you long enough, but well done. And trust me, it’s okay to find women beautiful…women are so damn gorgeous, what are you hesitant for…don’t argue with your mind so much.
You really found a lot of yourself on tumblr, didn’t you…made some great online-friends…thankfully none of whom were like that stranger you trusted when you were so young.
You did excellently in business and you should be proud of yourself. Because you owe it to yourself. And how shamelessly you failed all your mocks once again. Oh oh oh, the way you were embarrassed and still cut class after. Silly girl. And carry on getting excited about watching those Paramore videos, because you do know deep down you are going to see them. Well done for not giving up your love for them. And aren’t you glad you sat down in that bookstore and picked up that novel that everyone kept talking about…something about a wizard boy…and a magical school…by a woman author…something based in England. Those books were your escape. Actually, books had long been your escape. And I am so grateful you gave that list to your mum. Thank you, Meera.
Don’t take the boys that call you fat and ugly seriously, they are no better. Not one bit. And please, remember that the boys you see in movies or read about in books aren’t at all like the real life ones. Please don’t dream so hopelessly, it is painful when you finally realise it. And never ever utter the words or agree to the words, ”boys will be boys” or ”men are men”. Never ever. Do you understand me? And, be thankful each day for your friends and your teachers and your family.
You’re weeping so much today, it’s your graduation day! Oh, the way I wish you cared enough to speak to more people in your grade. There is no fun in being reserved, but I guess that’s just who you are…even now. Always remember that you are strong for not being talked into giving it all away, so strong. I am proud of you. But all it took was a few incidents to give you the perception you have on men today…hang on, that perception was developed when you were just 11 years old. It took you 7 years to learn it, 8 years to understand it, 9 years to say it out in words…or scribble all over your journal about it…and 10 years to figure out who you are. Wow.
You’re going to university! You’re going to study something fun! Or so you thought. But hey! You’re going to England…the land of…of…of magic! Or so you thought. England is very different from Dubai, right? I wish you had accepted that writing job, you once again failed yourself. I wish you participated more. I wish you spoke up when you were so ill treated by your first friend here. I wish you did so many things differently, Meera. And shame on you, once again, for bullying. You’re 18, you should know better than that, utterly disgusted. But well done, for getting rid of all the toxic people in your life. Well done for understanding that you matter. Don’t waste time on crushing over the same person, he does not care for you. Focus your energy on the people around you, your friends, your family, yourself.
Meera, I am so proud of you for getting help. You defeated your sadness and know that you helped many people. The courage and strength it took you to trust a stranger, I can never get over. But you kicked your sadness in the butt! And it soon became one of your many dreams to be there for anyone that is going through what you did. And you’re doing…pretty well at that…I suppose. And I am glad that you learned how to take care of yourself.
The Delhi gang-rape shook you up did it not. Violence against women shook you up didn’t it. You are against abuse of any form – physical, verbal, emotional…because you have witnessed, and experienced some of it. All it took was a single month to turn you into the feminist and pro-women rights (hopeful activist) that you are today. But, I guess you’ve always been that way. Ever since you were 11 or 13, you just didn’t know it yet. And it is a trait that you should be extremely proud of…despite what people say. Always remember feminism is understanding the notion that women are human beings…or something along the lines of that. And it took you far too long to realise that, so don’t let anyone take that away from you. Fem Power…all the way.
You are here now, as a 21 year old…and for some reason still wondering what it would have been like to live your dreams. And still trying to figure yourself out. I am going to tell you, as your 21 year old self that it is not too late. I believe in you. Know that you can get through this. Know that you have come so far. Know that you have yet to live and experience life.
Your 21 year old self