Words From My 15-Year Old Sister

Words From My 15-Year Old Sister

"You Will No Longer Be A Prisoner To The Cycle Of Self-Hatred And Comparison."

What if you could go back in time? Would you? What would you do? Would you try to find where things went wrong or relive your favorite memory over and over again? Childhood, adolescence, becoming a teenager... you thought you had all the answers then, right?

If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself? Let's go back to high school. What would you say to fifteen year old you?

Awkward you. Naive you. Impatient, rebellious, lost... you. The you that felt like a prisoner. Insecure and impulsive.

Now, we know that time travel is not a logical approach. We cannot go back in time. We can't play in those beloved memories and we definitely can't undo what has been done or change the way we thought and felt at that time. But somehow, my younger sister knew. She knew what she would have said to fifteen year old her, at age fifteen. Somehow, she managed to speak to me through her sophomore year English Creative Writing piece, and she reminded me that no matter your age, those insecurities can still linger. The "am I enough" feeling we all know from our teenage years... it doesn't disappear when you hit 20, or any year after that.

The world is full of unrealistic expectations. Simply impractical standards... and yet, we give in. We feed into them. We accept them and torture ourselves to fit in. Social media doesn't help. We live off of "likes" and "retweets". It's not just us "millennials" anymore either, all generations are sucked into the black hole that is social media. I get it. I am guilty of checking Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook numerous times a day. You can tell someone's success or happiness by what they post, right? Did you really drink if you didn't Snapchat it? Filters, effects, body editing apps... they all help to morph you into the you the world around us forces you to be. But why isn't just you enough?

My sister, like every high schooler, is at war with herself constantly. But she realized, and reminded me, that comparing yourself to everyone around you is a dead end; it gets you absolutely nowhere.

Me, Myself, and the Person I Wish I Was

By: Nicolette Perera

You look in the mirror and you are not happy.

You twist and contort your body, stretch your skin, fix your hair,

Attempting to mold into how you wish you looked.

You suck in your stomach, flex your muscles,

Yet still don’t feel good enough.

You still feel either scrawny or stout, too tall or too short.

You still feel


You try on seven different outfits, but find that

None of them satisfy your harsh standards.

The jeans fit weird,

The shirt’s sleeves are too short,

The shoes don’t match.

Your room becomes a war zone,

With clothing strewn across the floor and on your bed.

You dare to look closer into your own eyes to

Criticize all the things you hate about yourself.

You think your nose is shaped strange,

Your eye color is boring,

Your pores are too big,

Your makeup is melted off.

The mirror laughs and squeals that you’ll never look like her,

The you that is content with themself,

And rolls its eyes while laughing at the idea of you being good enough.

You feel sick to your stomach.

You stare into the eyes of the reflection that you see,

Questioning why it is yours.

Twitter demonstrates that you’re simply not funny enough,

Snapchat shows you that your life is too uneventful,

Instagram tells you that you’re ugly.

These posts are brainwashing you,

And you begin to think you are utterly insignificant.

These illusions of perfection are just that,


The only way to suppress the pain is to halt the




Otherwise, you forget all of your





All you can see are

The things you don’t have,

The flaws that devour you constantly,

The adventures you haven’t taken yet, and

The qualities you seem to lack.

Everyone posts the edited versions of themselves.

The versions that have skinny bodies,

Filters slapped on,


Completely clear, airbrushed skin.

The things you see online are not real,

They are simply hallucinogens,

Each scroll is a drug, making your eyes trick you,

Making you see this perfect persona,

Perfect life,


When, in all actuality,

No one is perfect and,

We are all wearing masks.

These masks represent who we ache to resemble,

But, why doesn’t anyone desire and squirm to simply resemble themself?

The masquerade is over, it is time to strip ourselves of this burden,

And face reality head on, with your own bare flesh.

Look in the mirror and grin.

Exclaim “I am beautiful”.

Persistently tell yourself

“I don’t have to change myself, not one bit”,

Because why would you speak of anything but the cold hard facts?

You are

Good enough,

Not too tall or too short,

Not too thin or too thick.

The moment you wake up from this daze,

The moment you realize your own true worth,

Is the moment you can finally become released of your chains and shackles.

You will no longer be a prisoner to the cycle of self hatred and comparison.

You may not need time travel. It is never too late to remind yourself who you are. You don't compare to anyone else. You're you, and you is more than enough. Your health is important; mental and physical! Do not let the "shackles" force you to be a prisoner- you can break them. It is hard to remember all the time, that I know. Sometimes, you just need to take a step back from being an adult and listen to someone who is surviving the brunt of it now.

Thanks for the reminder, Chick. I am so proud to be your big sister. XX

Cover Image Credit: Gianna Perera

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A Letter To High School Seniors On Graduation Day

The rest of your life begins today.

Dear High School Senior,

Today's the day you've been waiting for your whole life. You'll wake up a little earlier than usual, brush your teeth and go downstairs for your last breakfast as a high school student. Your mom will look at you with tears running down her cheeks wondering how her baby grew up so quickly. Your friends will be texting your group message non-stop with words of disbelief, wondering where the time went. You guys made it to the day you've been counting down to all year long.

You'll start to reminisce on things like your first pep rally and the dorky outfits you wore freshman year. You'll laugh at things your old teachers did and remember the ones who left to teach somewhere else. You'll wonder how the guys in your grade actually managed to grow up and laugh at how young you all looked when you had just begun. You'll remember all of the football games you attended and consider how strange it will be seeing other people wearing your guy friends' numbers when the Thanksgiving game rolls around. You'll drive by the soccer field and think of all the blood, sweat and tears you gave to it over your high school career.

You'll recall your first real kiss and joke about how upset you were when the first boy broke your heart. It'll feel like yesterday when you walk through those doors for the final time and look around at all of the empty lockers. You'll gather with your classmates together in the same place for the last time and think about how you're all going to be in different places next year. You'll be excited but nervous because in a few hours, life as you know it will change.

So before you sit down to hear the Valedictorian's speech and walk the stage to receive your diploma, make sure you take the time to appreciate the memories you made in those halls. Thank your teachers, even the difficult ones, because when you're sitting down in your first college class, you'll feel grateful for the work they made you do. Thank your parents for supporting you. It's not easy raising a teenager, but they did not give up on you regardless of how brutal puberty was.

Thank your friends. They're the ones that got you through your first heartbreak and made sure that you were going to be okay. They listened to your complaints after a big fight with your mom, even if they thought you were wrong. They forgave you when you were wrong and understood your bad days. They stood up for you when you got yourself in a bad situation. They brought you coffee when you didn't have time to get it yourself. They took you home when you couldn't make it there alone. They celebrated your good news and helped you through the bad. They made you laugh uncontrollably and created memories that you'll hold on to forever. They made you who you are today.

After you receive your diploma and throw your cap in the air, make the most of the time you have left with your high school friends before you all head off to college. You only have a few months before you're sitting in a dorm room surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Work, but don't forget that memories last longer than money. Go to the beach, take lots of pictures, go out on Friday nights and enjoy the days that summer has to give. Trust me, college will be awesome, but you'll never be the same person that you are today.


Your College Self

SEE ALSO: 11 Pieces Of Advice All High School Students Need To Hear

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You Get What You Need, Not What You Want

What challenges us changes us for the better.

Here I am. Sand beneath my feet, wind brushing between my arms, and knee deep in the ocean. I inhale the salty, sea breeze that fills my lungs, and gradually submerge myself in the water. I take special note to the way each strand of seaweed gently glided past my skin. I noticed the way the seagulls on shore gathered in flocks when food was near.

Sometimes, I'll stop mid task and think about all the ways in which my life unfolded, and how it materialized the way it did. Not often, but sporadically, I'll wonder how certain experiences ended so horribly wrong, and how others, went so perfectly well.

During tumultuous times, it is easy to fall prey to the idea that life simply isn't fair. In many cases, that may be true, life isn't fair. Life has a special way of marking us with unpalatable hardships, hardships that if survived, create an inner confidence that you may never have experienced, had you remained in your comfort zone.

Challenges are a part of everyday life. They test you and they empower you to find out what you're capable of. When something comes too easily to us, it becomes easy to take it for granted.

How can we truly appreciate something we didn't earn?

Life has a way of testing your mental strength when you least expect it. These tests can come in any form. For some, the challenge is doing well at school, for others, it is getting a grip on financials.

But, regardless of the challenge, facing up to it is key; dealing with your strifes head on. Doing so will teach you what you're capable of, when the cards are down and a situation seems too bleak to change, and yet you persevered.

I remember countless nights which I laid on my back, gazing out my bedroom window, and dreamt of a world where certain past events never happened, where teenage girls weren't catty and where boys treated all girls with respect, regardless of attraction. I dreamt of a world where the deaths I'd experienced been undone, and my friends and family reigned in harmony. What I dreamt of was a fantasy world.

The most important lessons I’ve ever learned, have come from some extremely difficult times. I didn’t know it in the moment, it can be next to impossible to see the purpose of our struggles when we’re in the deepest, darkest corner of the pain. But if it’s there, you'll never know how strong you until it truly matters.

I remember one summer I was living in a small, rural village in Guilin, China. I was initially petrified of venturing out across the globe, without knowing a single soul in the region. The first night I arrived at my host families apartment, and as I realized that they didn't know a word of English, my heart sank. And yet, I was able to adjust to a kind and loving family, a family who welcomed me into their home, who tried to accommodate me in any way they could, and as a result, my language skills flourished.

Although my heart raced each time I spoke with a local, I can say with utmost certainty that I have never experienced true confidence quite like having a conversation with a local in China. I remember the first time I attempted to buy an apple from a fruit vendor, and she had no idea what I was saying, regardless of how hard I tried to pronounce the proper tones. The next day I returned, bought an apple and this time, she understood a little bit more. I would continue to buy an apple from her everyday for the remainder of my time in Guilin, each time speaking with her more and more.

I was by no means in my comfort zone, and yet, I have never experience peace quite like rural China. I remember one weekend, a few of my western friends and I had gone down to the Li River, and hired a bamboo raft guide to take us through the mountain ranges.

From the vivid, crystal blue water, it resembled a painting we were floating through. I could imagine to the water colors flowing to and fro from the paint brush and the grand mountains ran from the artists finger tips into the sunset. Colors and textures flourished and created a landscape of true beauty.

Trees covered the shores grey and blue rocks. The suns rays lit the land and reflected off the water and to the river boats that ran up and down the river. Bamboo logs painted with browns, greens, oranges, yellows and reds contained countless small and insignificant people. No one could tame, or capture, or recreate the landscape on the grand scale in which it was created. And no foreigner, or local Chinese man giving guided passages could possibly put a price on the region.

I laid on the edge of the raft, as we gracefully followed the stream's current.The intense sun rays soothed my skin, and eased my mind. The raft smelt of pine, seashore, and cooked rice. My feet draped off the bottom of the raft and splashed my lower shins as they floated through the water.

One of the people I was with water colors flowing to and fro from the paint brush and the grand mountains ran from the artists finger tips into the sunset. Colors and textures flourished and created a landscape of true beauty.

The harsh sun rays melted away my thoughts as we gracefully followed the rivers rhythm. It smelt of pine, seashore, cooked rice and whatever else China smelt like. My feet hung off the end of the raft and splashed my lower shins as they floated through the water. It felt like heaven in an instant.

Know that there is a reason to why we’re here, even when things get hard. It’s comforting to me, right now, as I have moved through some of the most heartbreaking, and beautiful moments of my life.

I can recall the moments of injustice that I had previously suffered at the hands of close friends. I can recall the kindness I'd been shown by total strangers. I can think back and pull up over a dozen past experiences in which life showed me an obstacle, and after finding a solution I felt stronger for it.

When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy, which produces positive emotions and improves performance.

The people closest to us show us the way by triggering the old, the unconscious, the pain. Running from difficulty because it is challenging is missing out on the greatest learning. Daydreams turn to nightmares and nightmares turn to daydreams and round and round it goes until we make peace with where we are and who we are here with the epitome of mental strength—seeing opportunity and taking action when things look bleak.

Running from difficulty because it is challenging is missing out on the greatest learning. Daydreams turn to nightmares and nightmares turn to daydreams and round and round it goes until we make peace with where we are and who we are here with. At the end of the day… It’s all love.

Don’t miss out on it by looking the other way.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

I believe the universe will never give you anything you can’t handle.

Cover Image Credit: personal

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