I was so inspired by my friend Dawn McCoy of BeautyFrosting, who wrote a letter to her 15-year-old self, then created the #Dear15Me challenge and social media movement because of the response to it. This is kind of off-topic for me, I know. But more than Mommy Greenest, I am also a woman who was once a very confused 15-year-old girl. Today, I’m the mother of an amazingly confident and self-assured 13-year-old girl who nonetheless has her world rocked daily by social media. So–deep breath–here’s my post, followed by more information about how you can get involved. #Dear15Me is a challenge to help girls tackle their teenage years with the confidence, grace, wisdom and ease we wish we’d had. Dear 15-year-old me,
You are not fat. There is a hole inside of you, and you are trying to fill it with food. Later you will try to fill it with other things that are worse for you than food. But you cannot fill it with anything but love.
You are worthy of love. You are so worthy of love. I know you think that no one will love you because of that hole, which you think marks you as broken and damaged. And yes, you are broken and damaged—many people are. But love will find you, I promise.
But here’s the thing: The hole is invisible. It doesn’t mark you at all. People think you are strong and confident and lovable, even when you feel weak and ashamed and rejected. They think you are beautiful, when you feel fat and ugly.
When you act on the feelings that come from having your invisible hole, people will be confused. They see you as complete, and you still feel something missing.
Remember this when people confuse you. They don’t know you have the hole. They think your heart is shielded. They don’t know how deeply they can hurt you. Forgive them.
One day, the hole will start to heal, but it will never be truly gone. You will fill it with love, and then you will fill it with babies that magnify that love in a way you could never imagine. But the hole will always be there. It’s part of who you are.
So love the hole. It makes you vulnerable. It tempers your ego. When you are a mother, it will make you more sensitive to the needs of your children, so you can raise them in a way that they can emerge perfect, undamaged, unbroken.
Be thankful. There is no other you, in all your broken, damaged perfection.
You are beautiful.
Want to join me in sharing #Dear15Me? Here’s more from Dawn:
#Dear15Me is a movement where we can share our stories and struggles of when we were 15-years-old – and share our hindsight vision – to encourage teens to love and accept themselves, just as they are right now at this very moment. Helping girls tackle their teenage years with the confidence, grace, wisdom and ease we wish we’d had.
Share what you would say to yourself at 15, having the hindsight, wisdom and experience that you do now. I urge you to 1) post a picture of yourself at 15, with a caption saying: “Dear 15 Me…” and follow it with 2) what you were feeling at that age, and most importantly, 3) what you wish you could tell yourself at 15. It’s that easy.
No picture readily available of you at 15? No problem. Any pic of you as a teen will do, or just post a pic of you now, holding the sign “Dear 15 Me…” and write your story and what you wish you could tell 15-year-old you in the caption.
While there’s no time machine to take us back to 15 to correct our thinking then, we hope our past experiences and heartfelt words will help inspire – and make the road a little easier – for teens today. Tag 5 of your friends and ask them to do the same. Together, we can make a difference in the confidence of today’s teens. And be sure to tag @Dear15Me and @BeautyFrosting so we can share your experiences with our social media channels.