A LETTER TO MY 16-YEAR OLD SELF
You will be alive at 21. Chhime will still be your best friend. You’ll even have a male best friend. What you’ve always wanted. Mom, dad and Dawa will be fine. I study interesting things. No, there is no Math. Or Chemistry, or Physics. I’m happier, less rules to follow, less pretence of respecting selfrighteous elders.
Later when a teacher heartlessly snips off your hair at the morning assembly in front of the entire school, you will pretend like it wasn’t a big deal. You’ll smile through the whole day. I still smile so much. Even got some smile wrinkles. But once you reach home, you will turn the faucet in the bathroom on and cry, making sure mom doesn’t hear. She’s still more obsessed about my hair than I am!
Don’t cry. You will chop off your hair one year in to college anyway, and love it.
Mom and dad are still protective. But I’m making them learn to let go. I think it’s difficult for them. You will be an obedient teenager, never causing trouble. Don’t obey so much. It’s okay to break their hearts sometimes. You’ll prepare them to ultimately let go.
That first boyfriend who dumped you for a skinnier girl? You’ll figure he wasn’t your type anyway. You will be attracted to kinder, smarter, more unique people.
Another teacher will harshly scold you for disturbing the class when you raise your hand and point out a mistake. It’ll break your heart. Don’t cry. You will go to a place where teachers appreciate being challenged. You’ll be happier.
Sometimes when I’m bored, I read your diaries. It’s quite depressing. Don’t starve yourself. You’ll only end up binge eating and feeling even more miserable later. Don’t drink that filthy slimming tea. That’s not going to help. You’re beautiful just the way you are. Don’t let one guy stomp on your self-esteem. It really isn’t worth it. But if you want, go for a run maybe. It’ll clear your head.
Remember all the nice little books about nice little girls you read while you were younger? They taught you to be kinder, understanding, forgiving and generous. This will end up hurting you in the future. You will meet people who will trample your heart and walk away. Don’t chase them. Let the fakers leave.
Love, Your 21-year old self