An Open Letter of Rebellion
I get it. It’s hard to be 13.
It’s hard to be 13, growing up in an environment fueled by comparison, constant striving toward over-achievement and insanely unattainable standards that would have you be perpetually hard-working but somehow balanced, powerful but not outspoken, thin but curvy (but not too curvy) and forever young, on-trend and selfie-ready, but unwaveringly authentic. It’s impossible. Especially if you happen to be unfiltered and female.
As a woman and a mom, it stirs something in me every time you’re complimented on your beauty before your bravery, intelligence, kindness or grit. I know the pressure to achieve near-perfection that comes at you from every angle, that messaging that creeps in and transforms the wild fire that burns deep inside of you into a pile of smoldering embers. Cover, tweeze, paint, tuck, hide, tilt, pop, shave, and gloss. If the Kardashians and do it, so can you.
It’s hard to be 13...or 20. Or 30, 40, 50. Or human.
The older you get, the more you’ll realize that bodies don’t always conform to what you see on in movies, magazines or on Instagram. Growth spurts bring stretch marks, hormones bring acne, and metabolism is inversely proportional to the amount of time you’ve been granted on earth. But you aren’t a commodity and you weren’t meant to stay in near-mint condition. You were born imperfect and if you live well, you’ll find yourself covered in scuff marks.
The strongest women I know have learned the difference between seeking wellness and seeking to be something they aren't. Shed the chains of impossible standards and you'll carve out the kind of freedom that no one could gift you in a thousand lifetimes. It isn’t just sanity-saving, it isn't just kind - it's a life-affirming act of rebellion. In the words of iconic TED-talking, shame-deconstructionist, Brene Brown, "Stop hustling for your worthiness".
So, to my brave, intelligent, kind, gritty daughter - to all the other unfiltered humans - I say this: Give up on perfect. It's a moving target undeserving of your time or energy.
What you are is worthy.
You are a force of nature and an integral thread in the tapestry of the universe. Refuse to be complicit in a storyline that would make you out to be anything less than the hero. Stretch out beyond the narrow confines of ‘ideal’ and dangle those strong legs out over the edge of the unknown. Take up that space and more.
And the next time you begin to wonder if you're good enough, re-read this letter until something clicks. You are, will always be, more than worthy.
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