Dear Younger Jessica,
I want to formally introduce myself to you as the future Jessica. The Jessica that would have never otherwise grown to become the woman she is without you. A woman that is accepting, kind, and brave enough to battle the adversities presented in everyday life. Through the germination of adolescence, change will overcome you from your transition into womanhood. Change is such a beautiful element of life, requiring viewership as opposed to action. Change is like watching the seeds of youth and innocence develop into a summerly Hydrangea. Here are some of the things I wish I noticed, bloomed, or sought in the growth of my potential.
I wish I could have savored the delicious red ice pops by the pool. The seasonal ice pops out once in the summer requires a keen eye by limited quantity. The red ice pops have served as a symbolic element to my childhood in a way I never thought of before. The selection of cherry ice pops in a sea of unfavorable green or yellow pops reminds me to take advantage of the endless possibilities that come my way. When an opportunity presents itself in your life, take it! Take all the cherry ice-pops—you don’t know when you’ll find another. Find the cherry ice-pops in your life: the people that make you feel appreciated, loved, and above all else, closer to you.
I wish I took a pause. I wish I stopped to smell the flowers blooming at my old home—the fantastical pink and red tulips. I remember walking from spring to summer alongside my house, watching the flowers develop from bulb to blossom. If I had stopped to enjoy the little things a bit more, I think I would have found a greater appreciation for the soul of my city and the one within me.
I wish I could have fast-forwarded to my current, older state. When I may have felt hopeless and impassioned, I would have liked to show myself the woman I have become. There are internalized pressures to keep up in a dynamic society—always wanting to be something more than you are. I wish I could tell you, Jess; trust in fate. You don’t need the approval and validation of others; you need that of your own. I wish I could have told you to value your innermost health nearly as much as your outer. There is not a shoebox for each of us, making mental health care all the more individualized. Find what makes you happy; whether it’s healthy movement (exercise or other movement that excites you) or the glide of a typewriter. It would have been nice to run a bit more with the crowds and engage with like-minded people in hindsight. Through your subsequent years of life, opportunity, and experience, you will find people that make you feel happy and excited. Seek the excitement; seek all the discomfort! Extend an arm to possibility, and it may do the same in your favor!
Jessica—I urge you to set boundaries! Let others know how you feel and value your identity above all else. Do not lose yourself in pursuit of something more, but appreciate the now (HereNow). We can lose ourselves when looking for something more, finding an answer to life’s rhetoric, and assuming a false identity. Stay true to yourself, and joy, success, and laughter will follow. Beyond self-perception, it is essential to fuel and treat your body as it tells you. The human body is fierce, resilient, and challenging. Granted the beauty of life, we must make the most of our existence. Treat your body with care! When your body tells you (via hunger cues) that you require a snack, fuel accordingly. If we all ate the same meals, snacks, and moved similarly, our bodies would still look remarkably unique. Your beauty is amplified by loving your body enough to accept it. I would consider looking into body neutrality, a less toxic and meaningful approach to body image, as it encourages a greater acceptance of our bodies and all they do for us.
Above all else, I wish you a future of test and fate, an adventure of smiles, tears, possibility, and moments of doubt. It is only until we push past these universal feelings of self-doubt and discomfort we can truly blossom.