Dear 18-Yr-Old Me, You’ll be Body-Shamed But You Won’t Give a F***

Trust me, you still don’t know how to apply make-up.

Dear 18-year-old Rajashree,

I know you dig letters, and science fiction novels. So this may come as a bit of a happy surprise to you. This is ‘you’, from the future. When this letter finds you, I will be long gone. Kidding! I am breathing and alive!

So let’s talk about you? Been having problems finding and keeping friends? Sorry to break it to you kid! That problem is going to stick around a good few years, but you will get used to it. You will get used to never being part of a group, because you will be part of a much larger secret clan – ‘The Misfits’ , and you’ll love it!

You don’t know how to apply make-up now. You won’t in the future either. You will still be thin, but when someone calls you out on that, you will smile and say with arrogance, “I was exercising in the library so didn’t have the time to grow muscles”. Oh you will be body shamed many times till you put your foot down and decide not to let it be your vulnerability.

Do people ask you embarrassing questions like, why your breasts don’t look any bigger? Baby, in three years time, you will laugh and ask yourself, why it even mattered.

You feel disconnected don’t you, imaginative one? I know it isn’t easy spending breaks alone in a new school, stealing glances at that boy you love, happy with his girlfriend. I won’t break the bubble. Do believe you are in love and be sad now because this will be a powerful and happy memory, a fun one, in the years to come! I know you love playing computer games and your PC crashed and they won’t buy you a new one! It seems unfair, right? Well, wait another year and you will get back to gaming, thanks to your best friend.

Friend? That reminds me! Clan of misfits! You will find great friends in the road ahead. People whose creativity will resonate with your own. They, who won’t judge you but treat you with respect. Baby, friendship starts with mutual respect. It will be some time before you know that.

You won’t get into your dream college for graduation. Why? Because you were destined for an adventure elsewhere. You will meet people who will be with you a lifetime and you will know why you had to be here and now, and nowhere else. You will travel and settle down in new cities and will bond with new people. You will quit the job you hate one day, throwing caution to the winds. No one will back you because it’s risky. But you will do it anyway. And it will be worth it when some years down the line, you postgraduate from an institute you would not have believed you could make it to!

Baby, life is like that! You won’t always be on top – sometimes you will be tagged as average. Your closest friends won’t see potential in you but in those times, please tell yourself you are special. Remind yourself of the things you are brilliant at! Don’t let anyone cocoon your wings.

And when you find love – which you will, more than once – learn when to let go, and when to hold on. Have a happy rollercoaster ride baby!

Love,
Rajashree