Now that I am old and matured, I look back at life with a certain bitter fondness. Of course, I am thankful for all that has happened because all those things are what brought me here today, but if given the opportunity, I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self, that was struggling so much, all that I have learned today.

You are more than your looks:

I wish someone could tell me when I was young that I was more than my unmanageable curly hair, my ugly braces and my acne. Little children are always taught that beauty is on the inside, and at the same time, we see beautiful models gracing the cover of every single magazine and billboard on earth. We are bullied when we look different, but are taught to be kind. I wish I was told that I was beautiful, because now I know I am. I know that beauty is not the rent we pay to live in this world.

Not all friendships last:

This was one tough truth to swallow, growing up. I thought that the friends I made in school were going to be with me for years. Little did I know that both I and all my friends changed with time, and that some of us simply outgrow our friendships because we stop being who we were in those friendships. Of course, this does not mean that we do not make newer and perhaps stronger bonds of friendships with new people.

You are under no obligation to fall in love:

In every story I saw, the woman, the heroine and the princesses were always rescued by the man of their dreams, the knight in shining armor, they fell in everlasting and eternal love and lived happily ever after. Growing up, I always entertained the idea that some good looking guy was going to sweep me off my feet, save me from myself and teach me how to love myself. But now, more than ever, I wish someone told me differently. I wish I knew that love is not an obligation, not an end all, and just because I never loved someone romantically, does not mean that I never loved.

Never be afraid to speak up:

Respect your elders and be nice to your neighbors, is what I was told as a kid. I wish that someone told me that doing all those things was never synonymous to not speaking up. I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to always speak the truth, even if my voice shakes, because we, as humans, spend so much of our lives suppressing our voices, afraid of saying what we feel, second guessing ourselves and sometimes passing up on beautiful and amazing things just because of those qualities.

Your gender is not an insult:

I often heard people telling each other that they either hit like a girl, walk like a girl or talk like a girl, and now, as a grownup woman with a feminist perspective, I wish, more than ever, that I could go back and tell myself that my gender is not an insult. I wish I was surrounded by like-minded people who were as fiercely vocal about gender rights back then as they are now. I wish I could go back and tell myself that as a woman, I needed to be kinder to myself as well as the rest of the women around me, because a disadvantage is the last thing that being a woman is.