Updated: Jun 7, 2021
In an effort to be open and authentic about my life experiences to date, I've decided to pen an open letter to the younger version of myself and tell her the things that I wish had been told to me then.
Dear 21-year old Me,
What is the single, most deadly 'smoke and mirrors' tactic you could use on a young teenager - particularly, a girl?
To be silent...
To expect her to conform...
To accept current circumstances...
To show her an ideal that she should be held to - and expect her to climb up onto that pedestal herself.
Just because someone says you should be, act or look a certain way does not mean it's right. And thinking you need to conform just because society thinks you should, don't, if it doesn't feel right - or if it's not what you want. Nobody should ever have that much power over you. Ever.
I have been told 'No, this is not for you' (or some variation of this) for longer than I could remember.
And I always (cried a little, but) agreed - thinking... 'They know better', 'They are older'.
And every time I conformed, instead of disagreeing or holding my own space, I got patted on the head with a 'Oh, yes! That is MUCH more suited to your nature'.
If I could go back and tell my 21 year old self ANYTHING - I would say to her (amongst some other less diplomatic, choice words), 'FORGET THEM'.
How do they know who you are?
Have they walked your shoes, lived your life, fought your fights?
Millennials today, especially those of my female peers in Pacific circles - I am talking to you right now.
We have been brought up to be the 'good daughter', the 'Christian mother', the 'loyal wife'. But you are MUCH more than labels, and you are certainly not defined by them.
Marrying young (because, ah, love!) I have built my career on my husbands name. There is no shame in that - or building one with your father's name - because it is not the surnames that make a person. It is you.
As a young, Pacific woman, you are not defined by any man's relationship to you. You are yourself. Own that and hold that space.
When you get told 'No', take that as an opportunity to try harder the next time. Experience is what sets you up for a better job, career, a better life. You never fail. If you didn't accomplish what you thought you wanted, YOU LEARNT A LESSON.
I don't know the answers to everything in life - and to be honest, who does?
But I am adamant in my belief that knowing exactly what you want in life, gives you the focus to work hard for your dreams.
This is the day and age of change and it's time to break out of some of our cultural norms of complacency and acceptance and forget our etiquette - with all the best intended intentions.
Never take 'No' at face value, sis. Take it as 'Not now - your time is still to come'... because when it does? Oh honey, the glorious fire that will trail you as you set the world alight with your brilliance! 🖤
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