When you're young, you'll spend your days feeling like you're not enough.
Not funny enough.
Not pretty enough.
Not smart or creative or different enough.
You'll run in circles wondering why the hell not. Wondering what you're doing wrong and what everyone else seems to be doing right. Wondering when somebody will look at you and say "you're perfect. You are enough" or, more importantly, when you will say it to yourself.
You'll chase after qualities and aspirations which you think you should have; after people that you think you want to be.
You'll wear what they wear, say what they say, knowing you should accept who you are but simultaneously feeling like you should be somebody else. Always unsure. Always uncertain. Always looking to others to find the answer.
But one day, my darling, you'll grow up.
It probably won't be your choice.
Life will hit you like a wave, with all its tests and trials and yet, somehow, you'll find your head remains above water, though you never thought you could swim.
You will love.
You will lose.
You'll find your hobbies and passions and the little things which make you happy and sad and scared and angry.
You'll learn to be strong and to be kind and to help people. You'll learn that this is more important than anything else that you could do.
You will travel the world and meet people from every corner, and you'll take little bits of these places and experiences, smells and sensations, and fit them into the mosaic of your heart.
And when you come back, from wherever it is that you've been, you'll find that you're not the same.
Suddenly, you'll be sure of yourself. Because amongst all of this you'll have found what matters, what is important.
You'll know what you love and what you deserve and you won't settle for anything less. You'll no longer look to others for inspiration, for motivation, wondering when you're going to turn out like them because you will be content with how you turned out. You will be content with yourself.
Finally you will see that, with all of the traits and quirks, flaws and imperfections that you once tried to smother and bury away, you will be enough.
In fact, you'll be more than enough.
So much so, that you'll be too much for some people. And that's okay.
Not everyone that you meet will be capable of accepting that level of positivity and power and self-confidence. It makes them feel small. It makes them feel like they're not enough. But that's not your fault. And it's not your problem.
Because you did this alone.
You found the pieces of you on long walks and lonely nights, on days when you longed for a friend, a companion, for somebody just to hold you and scream IT'S ENOUGH. YOU WERE ALWAYS ENOUGH.
But they never did, and so you did it yourself.
You can't hold somebody else's hand now and walk them through this; that's not your job.
It is your job to be kind and warm, always. But the journey to finding yourself, to loving yourself, to treating yourself kindly and accepting yourself, is one that must be travelled alone.
It's a long journey. It takes courage, integrity, resilience. It winds and bends, up and down, and you never really reach the end.
But with every corner you brave and hill that you climb, you learn a little more; you get a little closer, continuously learning, adapting, growing more positive, and you mustn't ever apologise for this.
If you're too much for somebody, this is not your person.
If your experiences and stories and outlook on life intimidate a person; this is not the one with which you must share these parts of yourself.
Maybe they still need to start their journey. Maybe they never will.
But please, promise me, that you won't you ever shy away or feel you need to reduce yourself to make somebody else feel bigger. Promise me you won't try to take up less space just because somebody else is uncomfortable with how much you inhabit. Promise me that your "enough" won't suffer at the hands of somebody else's insecurities.
Because these things that you were searching for all this time? They weren't somebody else's. They didn't belong to that popular girl at school or that funny guy on the football team. They were yours, always. They were right inside of you this whole time.
And now, after you've come so far, do not let somebody feel like you got it wrong; like you don't deserve all of the things you built for yourself. Like you don't deserve to stand here with your shield against your chest and demand your own happiness.
You are not "too much". You are not "too strong", "too confident", "too proud".
You are enough, you always were. You just never saw it.
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Photo credit: Miquel Sorell