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Hello tender dragons,
It’s just about that time when the year is coming to an end. If you’re like me, the end of the year always comes fast and hard. It is fall and the leaves are turning and then all of a sudden it’s holiday time and then without blinking I’m on the precipice of a new year. If you’re like me, you are drawn to reflect on your years past and your years ahead as you hurtle towards 2016. What can you not believe you accomplished in 2015? What do you wish you’d had more time for? What are your aspirations for 2016? Where will you be a year from now?
But this isn’t about New Year’s resolutions or annual planning. It’s about reaching back, into your past, and reflecting on the things you knew then and the things you know now. This month, I wrapped up some projects at my day job and I finally finished grad school at 32 years old and I quit one of my side jobs and I ended service to one of the nonprofit boards for which I volunteer. It feels like many adventures are ending and new adventures are just around the corner. I spent some time thinking about where I’d be in 15 years, which made me think about where I was 15 years ago. 15 years in the future is so far that I can’t really wrap my arms around it yet. 15 years ago is a version of me I know well. It’s a little cliché, but I decided to write a little note to my 15-year-old self. I think it made me feel better about my future self and embracing the great unknown. I’m gonna’ share it with you. I hope you’ll share your notes to your 15-year-old self with me!
Hello amazing human,
There’s a lot I want to tell you about your future, because it is pretty good. Actually, there’s good and bad. It doesn’t all get better. That’s some bullshit, but you really tap into that strength that’s already in you. As you get older, you just get more and more sure of yourself and that feels damn good. There’s a lot we could talk about, but here’s the main things:
- Take care of those cozy sweatpants, the grey fleece ones. Don’t you dare give them away. They are magic and they will take you through high school and college and after-college. In fact, you will still have them at 32 and they are still the softest except they got kind of ragged, so we cut them into short shorts.
- Put on a bikini. Sweet jesus, you are spending so much time hating your body and not enough time wearing bikinis. You know what’s funny? You’re going to gain almost 80 pounds between now and 15 years later and you are going to love yourself so much more then than you do right now. I know that sounds impossible to you, but it’s true! You’re going to love your stretch marks and your tummy and your gorgeous legs that get you where you need to go. You’re going to wear tank tops without covering your arms. You’re going to wear crop tops. If I were you, and I am, I’d go get a bikini right now and not one of those sporty ones. The cute ones you think you don’t deserve.
- Spend more time with your Ama. You aren’t going to have her as long as you think.
- Don’t do the Slim Fast diet. It tastes like chalk and you are going to gain the weight right back and also, you don’t need to diet. You’re going to think I’ve lost my mind for saying this, but you are so beautiful just the way you are. You’re going to look back on pictures of yourself and wonder how you ever thought you were ugly and fat. Then, laugh again because you thought being fat was the same as being ugly. How silly. You’re going to realize that’s the patriarchy talking and you’re gonna buy bigger pants and eat what you want and it’s going to taste so good.
- Butch women exist. Find some. It’ll blow your mind in the best way.
- You don’t have to be a good girl. You also don’t have to let boys kiss you just because you they want to. It’s OK to let go. It’s OK to be sexual. It’s also OK to say, “No,” and mean it.
- Gay marriage is totally legal now. Ellen is, like, the least controversial lesbian in the world — straight housewives love her! Bet you didn’t see that coming!
- You can have short hair. I know that hairstylist said you couldn’t because of your round face, but he’s wrong. Cut it all off, is what I’m saying. Maybe it will save you from that Jennifer Aniston bob you’ll be sporting next year.
- Being Korean is not going to feel right for a long time. It’s OK. That internalized racism took a long time to build up. It’ll take a long time to undo. But one day you’re going to love being Korean, so much that you want to pass it on to your future kids. You will love your round, high cheekbones and your monolids that are perfect for cat eye liner and your thick black hair that won’t hold curl.
- Yes, yes, your boobs do get bigger.
So, darlings, what would you say to your 15-year-old self, if you could talk to them right now? What else is going on in your life? Are you excited for the New Year? Are you celebrating the holigays? Are you binging Transparent? What’s on your mind as we speed towards 2016? Tell me about it!
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