Dear 23-year-old me:
Last night I was thinking about you. It all started when I was thinking of a belt I want to wear tomorrow night to a concert. We still have that belt and the truth is that we’ve only worn it a few times. Remember how you felt when you bought it? I do. You were at the mall with your husband and 1-year-old baby looking for something to wear for his baptism. You felt pressured because everyone said that losing the weight would be easy after the baby was born but a year has passed and the progress is slow. You were insecure and worried about what everyone back home would say about your husband and baby as they would meet them for the first time. But most importantly, you were insecure about that chubby lady on the mirror staring at you. My sweet friend… if only you knew how amazing you are…
You will go through so much over the next 9 years. You will grow in every possible way and let me tell you: I am so proud of you! I know that looking at that fluffy tummy makes you feel insecure and it might not sound encouraging but be prepared to face even more challenges. After all, that tummy will house three wonderful kids. You might not find someone looking like you on a cover magazine and that is fine. Not every person can see the beauty of every stretch-mark, the saggy skin, the fluff, but you can. Oh, yes you sure can! You are beautiful. Gorgeous!
People will say mean things to you. They will call you “gordita” and while that is an accurate description of an overweight person like yourself it will still hurt you. But please do not allow that define you. You are so strong, you have no idea! People will continue to say those and similar words to you, but there will be a moment you will make peace with your body and the words will have no impact on you. Just you see. It won’t be easy to reach that moment of inner peace, of self-love, of self-worth but you will get there. I heard someone say that when you turn 40 you stop caring and you start living… well, you aren’t like everyone and you will get there when you turn 30. Sorry you won’t have a big “3-0” partey but that baby is so cozy in there, you don’t want to bug him. Just saying…
I know you feel confused and worried about the future. You are desperate to find a job that gives you a regular schedule so you can have some order in your life. I am sorry to say that won’t happen as fast as you wish, but you will get it. You will continue your education despite of all the challenges that will come. You won’t give up. You will change your mind a few times about your profession… it is okay, not everyone knows exactly what they want and it will take you a minute to figure that but hey, you will do it! You will always work hard, be professional, give your best and stay positive… that will be your brand. Your brand is important; don’t forge that. Continue to invest in you. No one can take away your education.
You will meet AMAZING people at work. In fact, they will become like family to you. You will need to learn the hard way that not everyone is a real friend, but don’t let that discourage you to trust and love people. You will make real friends. You will have the most amazing, gorgeous, badass girlfriends who will have your back. Always make time to go to that brunch or dinner every few months and catch up and laugh. On that note, always remember to thank your husband for making this possible by watching the kids. He is the best! But seriously, enjoy when you do have time to go the movies with your BWF and eat some popcorn. Enjoy when your girlfriends make you to do something new that will be fun… but yes, you do suck at bocce ball. Enjoy when your girlfriends make you go to a different restaurant and try something new; hot pot is your favorite now! A coffee, a phone call, that text in the middle of the day from your kitty friend to brighten your day, tamarindos from back home. You will be blessed with some of the most amazing people in your life!
And that won’t be it. You will come across some of the most amazing people in this world through this thing called Instagram… yup, I know you are wondering what that is but social media took a huge turn babe! In the desperation of losing weight you will run into a family of like-minded women who will have your back. You will become real friends with them and will become familiar with them. You will take chances and meet some of them in person, and it will be so worth it! Through this community you will have the first chance at self-love and acceptance. They will show you so much love, support, and will motivate you to keep going. They will send you messages every day and there will be a point when you will start believing their kind words. The light will be turned on and you will be able to see your inner beauty that you thought had gone missing. You will learn that the journey is not easy but is worth it. You will learn that your tribe is freaking awesome. You will inspire others to join you and let me tell you babe that is the best! Remember how that is your life goal? Well, you will do it. They will too have your back when you are feeling down because negative thoughts are trying to crawl back in. But they won’t let that happen. Oh, no they won’t! These babes got your back. You will be blessed to have them in your life.
And as sweet as that sound, know that you will be tested; Oh, boy will you be tested by those kiddos of yours! You will love them so much I can’t even describe it. You will worry and protect them. You will do everything you can to provide them the best in the hopes they become good people. I have no doubt your love and efforts will pay off. They will be great people! And I know motherhood can be scary but don’t worry, you won’t be alone. You picked a really good guy to start a family with. I can’t even tell you how amazing he will be every day; he is the best husband and father you can imagine. He will provide for you guys. He will protect you. He will be there for you guys. He is simply the best! As a mom and as a wife you will doubt your capabilities at times because we are humans and we make mistakes, and as long as you listen to your heart, you will always do the right thing. Don’t forget to always kiss the kids good night even when they are sleeping.
Know you are a good person. You genuinely have a good heart. You truly care for others even if some call you fake for it. Don’t listen to them. Don’t let them change who you are. Always be you, be the best you can be! Continue to be the good person you are: be nice to others, be respectful, be kind. Karma is a real bitch so treat others the way you want others to treat your children. That is a great rule to live by. Laugh if you want. Take chances. Dare to cut that hair even when people say you’re becoming a hair-obsessed. Do what makes you happy. Don’t wait til tomorrow to do things because tomorrow is not certain, only the present is. Even if it means a slower fitness progress, enjoy that ice scream if that’s what you want. Enjoy the banana bread with the latte if that’s what you want. Enjoy today, leave nothing for tomorrow. And most importantly always remember to love you and accept you every day. That Dr. Seuss was right: “Today you are You, that is truer than it’s true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You!” And let me remind you that you are amazing and capable of anything you want. I believe in you. I know you will continue to do great things so when in 9 years from now you write yourself another letter, you will be as proud of you as I am today. May the best of our today be the worst of your tomorrows.