Dear 5 year old Jeanette… It’s okay that you don’t look like everyone else in your classroom. One day, you’ll appreciate the intricacies of who you are and where your family comes from.
Dear 13 year old Jeanette… I know you feel like an outsider again, and maybe you are. It will pass and you will find your place, I promise. Be grateful that your family has given you the opportunity to get a better education than you would have at home. At the end of the day, no one can take your mind and your knowledge. Don’t be scared of the changes, flow with them instead.
Dear 16 year old Jeanette… Take care of yourself. It doesn’t matter what any boy thinks of you. How do you think of yourself? Are you as compassionate with yourself as you are with others? Oh and that scale? It can fuck off. It does not tell you your worth. Your life is worth living – every damn second of it.
Dear 18 year old Jeanette… Yet another season of change. Use this new beginning as a way to explore the world. Meet new people. Learn from the heartbreak. Don’t be afraid to say no to things that are just not for you. Oh, and stop playing that Words with Friends game during biology. You’ll do much better if you pay attention.
Dear 19 year old Jeanette… You’re off on a new adventure in a new country with new people. Please soak up this time of your life. Embrace the difficulties that come with learning a new culture, and use that to bring inspiration into your life at home. And don’t feel bad about eating the scones at Spar – you’ll never taste another like it.
Dear 20 year old Jeanette… You’ve decided to get married. Know that marriage is not easy, but it is worth it. I’m so elated that you’ve found someone who will make you think in new ways, and push you for growth. Love him, but do not forget to continue to love yourself as well.
Dear 21 year old Jeanette… You’re a big girl now, with a big girl job! Oh, how I wish I could hug you and tell you that it will all be okay. The tears and long hours will be worth it in the end. Every day of the next two years will make you a stronger human. Just know that you are making a difference, every damn day.
Dear 24 year old Jeanette… This is your year of saying no to things that do not add to your life. Your time is your time – use it however you please! Be grateful for who you have in your life, and don’t be afraid of letting people go. This year might get rough at some point, but you’ll get through it – you’re strong as shit. Don’t forget that.
25 year old Jeanette