Dear younger me,
In the future, there’s a popular service in the Internet called YouTube. This is where you’ll spend your time watching cat videos or people messing with mercury. In the year 2015, which is where I come from, YouTube will celebrate International Women’s Day by calling on women to do a video about what they want to say to their younger self. That explains why I’m here. So don’t freak out, okay?
First of all, I’m sorry I come out this way. It’s not that your future self doesn’t look good on camera or something (your looks gets better over years, you know, trust me). It’s just a lot easier to write a letter and you know YouTube won’t mind.
Now, here’s some message for you, my dear younger self. Please take heed.
Your English will get better
Those time spent watching MTV Indonesia and your adoration of songs sung in English was worth it. I thank you for that. Otherwise, I couldn’t write to you in this language you always find fascinating ever since your third grade teacher introduced it to you.
It’s okay to make grammatical errors. Don’t you worry about it (but you’ll be one of those Grammar Nazis in the future), just keep writing things in English even though it doesn’t make any frigging sense.
See, my dear younger self, you’re gonna be an English major and that’s awesome because you’ll get a lot to learn. You’ll write a skripsi in English for which you’ll get an A. That’s how good your English is (for a non-English native, of course).
You also will develop a very deep love for reading and you’ll learn a lot more from books you devour. It won’t be perfect, but it gets better. I promise. Just keep writing.
Don’t worry about not having a boyfriend
Because–surprise, surprise–you’re gay. And that’s perfectly okay. It’s going to be rough at times: how you always feel different from other girls, how you find yourself having a crush on your girl friends, how you’re afraid that people might find out and they’ll leave you and you’ll be lonely yada yada yada.
You know what, don’t worry. You’ll come out to your friends someday and they will accept you for who you are. And you’ll be grateful because it means a lot to you and is important to your own journey to self-acceptance.
Always remember what R. J. Palacio said:
Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.
Create something everyday
You know what they said (sometimes it’s okay to listen to “them”), little things add up. Create something everyday, no matter how small, no matter how mediocre. “If you work on something a little bit everyday, you end up with something that is massive,” Kenneth Goldsmith once said. Just make things; be it a piece of writing, doodles, laptop stand made out of cardboard (yes, you’ll make that one), knick-knacks, decorative shit, anything!
It’s okay if the things you make don’t turn out the way you imagine them to be. What matters is you made them and they are yours, your work, your own. It means you don’t just live your life sucking and consuming what other people make.
And remember what Betty Friedan told you in her The Feminine Mystique:
The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.
Happy International Women’s Day. Here’s a photo of your way cooler future self.