The French have a saying 'etre bien dans sa peau', which literally means to 'be good/feel well in your skin'.
I've never been one of those girls who's been 100% comfortable with their body. Or even tried to fake it till I make it with confidence. I just assumed, as I had always been told - or I should say hoped - that feeling more at one with myself, would come with age. And THANK. GOD. It's starting to happen.
Perhaps it is due to age, perhaps it's due to the fact that I now accept that every thing about me (good and 'bad') goes together, in this crazily celestial mix which makes Me, 'Me'. I don't know if anyone else is getting this feeling, as they get older, but it's the most amazing feeling.
I think that as you get older, you begin to realize that everything, the good and bad in your life happens almost for a reason and without wanting to sound too 'woo-woo' about it, I strongly believe that the Universe sends people and events into our lives that may seem super random, SUPER stupid or even just harsh for no damn reason, as obstacles to make us grow, strengthen us, help us on our path to ultimate enlightenment.
Sucks that this shit doesn't happen when you're sixteen and full of silly paranoia's and peer-pressure, but I've always loved older people - particularly older women, who just seem so serene. Sure, they still have up days and down days, but at the end they seem to take on life with a quiet grace, an acceptance that 'this' too shall pass and that 'this' happened for a reason.
I'm excited to be at this place in my life, not because I never thought that it wouldn't happen - I just never thought it would happen...now, I guess.
And knowing certain things about myself, allowing myself to feel happy, to feel content, to feel anger and frustration and voice those feelings (something I've never really been that good at) is part and parcel of being a realized adult. It's part and parcel of feeling that I could now, feasibly, have a child and be a fairly stable parent.
We are our own worst critics, no? I know that I'm insanely harsh on myself, for even the smallest things. But I've always felt that was a good thing. As I start to lighten up on myself, and externalize certain feelings, I am also now able to call out other people on their behaviours - not as it relates to themselves, but as they relate to me. which in turn, when done with sincerity and understanding, only serves to strengthen and reinforce relationships that I have with people.
I've been weeding out the people in my life who thus far have only contributed negativity and sideline those who have contributed nothing really, and am trying to be more of a contributor of positivity to those in my life who have been so for me. Don't like something I've said/done/worn? I need a reason, empty criticism is useless and a waste of good oxygen, in my opinion. Same way, if I call you out on something, I will want to give you a reason, and after that you can decide whether to take or leave what I've said.
So, taking a leaf out of Hugh Jackman's book, as I approach the big 2-8, I've decided to write my 18 year old self a letter:
You're probably wondering what the hell is going on right now, and why you're in a college that makes you feel like a loser, floundering in a sea of super talented artists, illustrators, designers and architects. Well, let me start by saying that this particular institution only chooses 400 students a year. From around the world. And only of extraordinary talent. So take a deep breath, if you're there, it's because you were meant to be. Beacuse in your own way, you too, are an extraordinary artist and creator.
Don't worry about fitting in, because you never have and thank God, you never will. Embrace your quirks - your love of disco music, insanely unique sense of humor, your strange accent and insurmountable love of sushi and comic books and roll with it. Who cares if you can't ride a bike or if you're not interested in having Kafkian discussions on a friday night in the laundry room? You hate Kafka and I hate to break it to you but in the future, you still can't ride a bike. This neither takes nor adds anything from who you are. They broke the mold after they made you, baby girl, and don't forget it.
Go to the gym now and not your junior year of college, discover that it is one of your passions and don't let anyone sidetrack you. The high you get from partying with your friends is great - but the high you get from those endophins is MAJOR. You're kind of a loner and that's fine because as we've always said - we are our own best friend. So pilates, yoga, running and meditation will help you know yourself better. Plus you will start learning to not combat your body and finally see how strong she is, how much you love her and that she will never let you down if you believe in her.
Don't worry if you lose touch with your friends from freshman year and if girls you once thought were your friends do an about-face and become high school bullies again. Mama always siad that the first friends you make are usually the first friends you lose - you've been here before and done this befre and you have the many, many t-shirts to prove it. True and real friends will come along and you will know them from the moment you say 'hello'.
You are a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful girl - inside and out. That's all.
As for boys, date them - date them ALL. They will all teach you something and make you a richer person. You will discover that you have an extraordinary ability to make people feel good about themselves, and that you will be appreciated, not just by the boys but by the girls, in your life. Have safe sex - you know this already - and don't believe the hype - college sex is TERRIBLE. Something you will only discover once you start dating older men. Now THAT will be some good sex.
And don't worry about heartbreak and break-ups, because trust me, when you least expect it, your prince will come.
Oh, and do me a favour, and this will sound CRAZY right now, but DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES take up smoking. If you do, you'll regret it.
I love you, lil B,
Big B xoxo'.
Try it, ladies, you'll realize how much wisdom you've accumulated in the past few years and will feel so much better about any 'errors' you've made because they've all contributed to making you the wise, strong, confident, wonderful woman you are.
Love and light and yes, cupcakes today.