Dear Teen Nikki,
No one’s perfect.
High school wasn’t what you expected. You saw the movies and heard the horror stories about it before you even got there. You were prepared for the mean girls, the cliques, and not fitting in. The truth is, it wasn’t really that bad. You had amazing friends and people who loved you. You wanted to be a doctor and you were going to make it happen, no matter what.
No one ever told you the person who would treat you the worst was yourself.
The façade you created did its job. You were perfect to them. Good grades, great friends, a future. The worst part of the whole thing is that being perfect worked for you. The monsters in your head didn’t exist to anyone else, but they allowed you to achieve. Until they didn’t anymore and the monsters turned on you.
Everyone told you what the people in high school could be like. No one knew the things you told yourself. They don’t know you hate your reflection because every time you look at yourself, all you see is a reason to be better, thinner, prettier. Dancing wasn’t an escape, it was a reminder. You would never be the way you wanted to be. You would never be as good as them, as skinny. You’ll contemplate some not so healthy ways to feel better, but in the long run, none of that ever really helps and in the end, you still feel the same. The monsters don’t leave. They still tell you you’re worthless, useless, ugly.
You’ll drop out of premed in college even though it was your dream. You’ll tell everyone it was because you don’t want to be a doctor anymore. In reality you just don’t think you’ll get into medical school. You’re grades aren’t good enough. No one will ever accept you. You’ll let everyone down and that’s a failure you can’t handle. So you give up because you can’t be perfect at something you never attempt.
Your own mind will become your worst enemy. It’ll wear you down, make you depressed. Parts of your life and relationships will suffer. It’s going to take you years to figure it out, but you will and you’ll come out of it stronger on the other side. Trust me. You know why?
Because nobody’s perfect and that’s okay. The things that make you imperfect are the things that make you unique. They’re the things that drive you, the things that pushed you to send your writing out into the world. The strength you discovered is the reason you’re a soon-to-be-published author.
The fight isn’t over. Don’t give up.
One day, you’ll realize that perfection is an impossible goal. You’re perfect the way you are. The monsters will still be there to tell you you’re wrong, but now you have weapons to use against them. You’ll still have bad days and the monsters will get louder, but you’ll have great days, too, and those same monsters will fade into the background. The important part is that you can deal with it. You don’t have to listen to the monsters. Most important of all, you’ll realize you’re okay. Because all those imperfections you’re worried about? They really actually make you kind of perfect.
All the love,
I pledge to take a stand against bullying each and every day. #One Voice
~Nikki Urang, Author of The Hit List
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