Dear 18-year-old Smriti,
I almost didn’t recognise you there, with the bushy eyebrows and the unkempt mane. Back in the day you thought grooming was too mainstream and although I cringe at your naivety now, I’m secretly a little proud of you too. I kind of love that faux ‘devil may care’ attitude. Let me tell you, it managed to fool a lot of people back in the day. It still does.
But look, oh look, how far we’ve come. Don’t worry; I haven’t forgotten just how much time you’d spend thinking about the future. I can assure you now, you’ve done just fine. No, you’re still not a millionaire rockstar with washboard abs – there’s still time for that dream to come true! But you’re a half-decent (some say) writer with a blog of your own. You found love – incidentally at 18 – and did a damn good job of holding onto it.
You chose friends that empower you and support you every step of the way. You have slowly but surely built a life you don’t need a vacation from. You’ve kept it real and you never settle for anything lesser. And if I could say one thing to poor-little-lost you, I’d say that the wheels have been set in motion – so please don’t worry so much.
Since we both know that I’m hardly a woman of a few words, I wouldn’t stop at just that. I’d ask you to believe in your dreams. No, that’s not a cliché so stop glaring at me, you angst ridden teen.
I’d ask you to be relentless in the pursuit of your happiness. I’d also ask you to drink lesser coffee – you’re about to become a full blown addict. I’d ask you to voice yourself a lot more, about the things that matter, or to the people that do. I’d ask you to take care of your body – it’s the only place you have to live in. I’d ask you to be proud of being a feminist long before that conversation had taken centre stage. I’d ask you to be okay with being different, for there will be a premium on ‘different’ someday soon.
And most importantly, I’d ask you to not worry about what people think of you – that’s their business, not yours.
I wish someone had given you this pep talk back then, because your ever-so-fragile self esteem sure did need it. But here’s the silver lining, (oh, and there’s always a silver lining,) what possibly no one did for you – I’m trying to do for others.
So here’s letting you know; you’re a diamond darling, they can’t break you.
P.S.: We are so Sindhi, even our metaphors are about diamonds.
P.P.S.: Don’t look confused, we are incurable optimists now, as we should have always been.
All my love,