I don’t know about you but ten years ago I was an almost-hot mess. I had a naive optimism about the world, a quick temper, a sharp tongue, and wild, frequently unkempt hair. That girl wanted to be her authentic goofy self but she also desperately desired the approval of her friends, her parents, and middle school boys.
If I could sit her down today, first I’d probably tell her that middle school boys really aren’t it. I’d tell her that the approval of others means nothing if you don’t approve of yourself. I’d remind her to breathe, I’d say, “Life is tough. But darling, you are tougher than you could ever dream you’d be.”
If I knew then what I know now, my life would likely be very different. It would probably be better but I still wouldn’t trade my tween years of cringe and crocodile tears for anything. We asked forty other women what advice they would give to themselves ten years ago. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Don’t be in a rush to grow up. You’re mature for your age but life is going to give you a ride in the next ten years. Enjoy your teen years and stop stressing out your parents little girl! Time is precious. (Lavern, 24, Ajax)
2. Write even more than you did, future you wants to read everything.(Anonymous, 21, Waterloo)
3. Relax, stay calm, stay focused, one day you will find yourself and you will be happy with what you find. (Jods, 21, Toronto)
4. I would tell myself to be happy with my height. I have always been very tall, and I never liked that. It was always something people would point out to me, and I would not really have anything to say after that. I always felt that people would notice me first and I have always been shy and timid so I hated being in the spotlight just because I was tall. Now, it is something that I have learned to embrace, as there is nothing I can do to change it. (Jonta, 20, Oakville)
5. Stop trying so hard. It’s okay to not be exactly where you want to be, so calm down and let things go exactly as God commands. (Somebi, 20, Ottawa)
6. Don't be afraid to speak up. (Keshana, 20, Ottawa)
7. Stand tall and be confident! You're fearfully and wonderfully made so act like it! (Anonymous, 29, Toronto)
8. OMG. If only I had known then what I know now, I’d tell myself, ‘Girl you're doing just great and you'll be fine. Trust the process and you don't need to wear makeup to go to school, or spend too much time thinking about what to wear. You'll figure yourself out. (Melissa, 22, Toronto)
9. Quit seeing everyone else as a competition, you’ll get to a point in your life where those people don’t exist. (Joan, 20, Waterloo)
10. You don’t need makeup! (Kenechi, 23, Toronto)
10. I would have told myself that there was nothing to be scared of and to enjoy the body growth I have. I would have told myself that I’m confident and to not let people dictate my personal beauty standards. I also would have told myself to enjoy my youth and be happy with my body. (Anonymous, 20, Ottawa)
11. “Be your own brand.” (Phoebe, 28, Ottawa)
12. You were born to stand out! Don't be shy! It's okay to embarrass yourself! Just laugh it off! Believe in yourself! Don't waste your time on guys that are unsure of themselves. Continue to focus on your studies and figure out what truly inspires you! (Ladie, 24, Ottawa)
13. I would tell my 10-year-old self to embrace her curls. At the age of 10, I thought I was too old to be rocking braids and hair bobbles. I remember begging my mother and grandmother to straighten my hair so I could look like the girls at school. Eventually, they gave in and I fell down the rabbit hole of texturizers, perms, and hot combs. It's difficult to bear the thought of how long my gorgeous locs would be if someone had stressed the importance of embracing my curls. “Some people wish they had hair as versatile as yours, my dear. Your curls are beautiful. Embrace them.” (Oneshia, 20, Brampton)
14. Taking care of myself should be an ongoing action. I need to love myself throughout all the seasons, no matter how hard it may be.(Anonymous, 24, Ottawa)
15. Don’t grow up. (Kassandra, 20, Ottawa)
16. Take it easy on yourself, there is no need to be hard on yourself and rush to live your life. Appreciate the phase you are in right now. Your progress and pace is not something you should be comparing to someone else’s journey. It is okay to make mistakes. And there is no need to chase the money because when you do what you love - the money will follow. Believe in yourself and stay focused and consistent on all your goals because you are worthy and capable of all the things you desire. (Anonymous, 23, Milton)
17. Don’t focus too much on your weight. (Sarah, 20, Toronto)
18. Don't shy away from new opportunities because you anticipate failure. I mean believe that you have in you what it takes to be successful. Stop dimming your light. (Laura, 22, Toronto)
19. Please stop being afraid and overthinking things. Step out of your box and be courageous! (Anonymous, 21, Ottawa)
20. Focus on being beautiful on the inside. (Anonymous, 22, Toronto)
21. Boys are overrated. (Uredo, 19, Waterloo)
The women in our community are so funny and so wise, they shared so many profound and encouraging pieces of advice. Stay tuned for the next article with the rest of their advice!
About the Blogger: Tofunmi Akinlalu
This article was written by our Blog Manager, Tofunmi Akinlalu. She is currently an engineering student at the University of Waterloo. When she's not drowning in engineering assignments, she enjoys writing and performing spoken word poetry. She is passionate about using all her creativity both as a writer and a future engineer to encourage, uplift and share her Christian faith with those around her. To read more of her work, follow her on Instagram @poetrybytofunmi and Facebook at Poetry by Tofunmi.
Leave a comment below and join the conversation!