A letter to my teenage self

Dear Teenage Yumi.

Hey, I just wanted you to know that everything is going to be alright.

I KNOW you think everything’s rubbish, the world is rubbish and most of all, you think YOU are rubbish.

Okay, so… you’re not rubbish!

For starters, this feeling is pretty common for teenagers. Not saying it’s ALL hormonal, but a lot of it is.  A lot of the feeling that “everything is terrible” – is disillusionment and THAT is part of the growing up process.

And part of you feeling bad is because you abruptly quit exercise! You went from training four times a week and riding your bike to and from school five days a week to doing actually nothing!

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You haven’t really figured out how important endorphins are to your mental well being and I’m sorry that you’re stuck in a downer but you’ll get somewhere good eventually.

When you grow up, something weird happens. You stop feeling grief for what you don’t have – what you lost and what you were never given – and you learn to make the most of what you’ve got.

What’s more, this idea of making the most of what you’ve got is so captivating that you actually start experimenting with optimising your existing you. You become an even better you!

All this is coming and takes pain and failure, some horrible mistakes and some bruising injustices… But you survive! You survive all the way here.

So here are a couple of hard n fast rules for life, kid:

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  1. High heels are bullshit. Life is hard enough, why wear something on your feet that makes life harder?
  2. Politeness is overrated. You don’t owe anyone a smile. You don’t owe anyone SHIT.
  3. It’s really fun to be the friend who organises get-togethers, outings, camping trips, group holidays, birthday parties, picnics, nights out. It’s AMAZING, and sometimes hard to believe, but you’ll find that if you lead, people will follow.
  4. Alcohol is a drug that keeps women compliant. Our situations are unequal and unfair. Being pissy makes us more likely to comply with this injustice, instead of fighting against it. Don’t pacify yourself with booze.
  5. Forget the names of your enemies.
  6. Television is for the most part, a waste of your time.
  7. Keep looking around for ways you can help people less fortunate than you.
  8. Bitching about people is like biting your nails – a self-perpetuating bad habit. Quit it thoroughly and you’ll live your whole life not doing it.

When I think about you – younger me – I wish I could cradle your scared and sad head in my arms. I wish I could reach through time and tell you it’s going to be alright. But that would be a lie! Everything is not going to be alright. Everything is still going to be terrible and full of injustice! You need to amass your physical, personal and professional power to be good for the fight. Don’t give up. There’s a war coming and we need you.

Love, future Yumi.

Today is International Women’s Day.

An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world?

Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

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