Dear 17 year old self

by Duduzile Ngwenya

I still see you exactly how you were, petite and very smart. I remember how intelligent you were in your studies, and I’m still proud of how focused you were. The awards you received for your excellence in your studies still serve as a beautiful memory to me. I wish I knew then what I know now, I could’ve made the effort to teach you how important it is to love yourself more everyday.

I could’ve taught you why it’s vital that you accept yourself with all the flaws you possess, and that your flaws weren’t something to hate about yourself. I could’ve taught you how some days are worse than the others, and that it was okay for you to feel sad, anxious, hopeless and demotivated sometimes.

You never understood that you were perfect the way you were, you expected to hear it from everyone else but yourself, which is why you were disappointed and spent most of your teenage years questioning who and how you were, why you didn’t look like other girls who were ideally your definition of beautiful, but you didn’t look like them because you were just meant to look like yourself.
You were your own kind of beautiful, there has never been a universal standard for this. I wish I was there to take your hand and walk you through this, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The time has passed and you’ve grown, you made the best out of every situation you found yourself in, that’s strength. I applaud you for keeping it together, and for being the best version of yourself.

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