A letter to my younger self

In the past few years, I’ve unconsciously decided to be someone I’d be proud of. A kinder, smarter, and funnier version of myself. Someone who would also have more self-confidence and stand up for what matters to them. It’s not really hard work, in fact it’s quite easy. In a way, I think I can already be proud of who I am. I’m going to be 35 in a few months and I’m finally becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be.

Yet it wasn’t always the case.
My family and friends know how much I struggle with my lack of self-confidence. Every time I do something, there seems to be a voice in my head saying “You can’t do it”. It even often makes me physically ill.
It has always been like this.
I know where it comes from: for many years I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough. Like many teenagers, I went through some tough times. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking, “I’m so ugly and stupid.” Thinking that made me cry many times. Why was I so mean to myself? I don’t know, but I hate myself for that, because it has impacted my life so much.
So, if I could say something to my younger self, this is what I would say:

Don’t be mean to yourself. No one is perfect.
You think that what you’re saying to yourself won’t have an impact, but it will. So please be kind to yourself and don’t be ashamed of who you are. You’re neither ugly nor stupid.
You’ll never think you’re pretty, even though some guys will tell you that you are (haha), and you’ll always think that you could be smarter. But that’s not what matters. What matters is that you finally accept yourself.
And I’m sure you will.

Me, in the 1990s

Stop being selfish and mean to your parents and family. They love you and care about you. You don’t realize it yet, but you’re lucky to have them. They’re not perfect, but they always do their best. They just want to protect you. You think it’s okay to be like this, and you don’t realize how much you’re hurting them. But you should, because one day you’ll be ashamed of your actions.

It will take you many years and experiences before knowing what you want to do with your life.
You’ll eventually find something that will make you grow up and be happy. You won’t be rich, but that was never your goal.
You just want to find something that suits you, something that is YOUR thing. I can tell you that you’ve made it, even though I never imagined you having this career. Yep, you’re going to be a visual artist, freelance photographer and instructor. Surprising, isn’t it?!

Your mum thinks that you’re wasting your young years.
Well, she’s right. You’re not making the most of these years. But you should, because time flies. Adulthood is just around the corner, so enjoy these years, have fun, make mistakes (but don’t hurt anyone) and learn from them.
You’ll make friends, love them and lose some, because that’s how life is. Sometimes people go their separate ways.
You’ll even discover that being alone isn’t so bad after all. In fact, you’ll learn to enjoy your own company.

I know how dark your thoughts can be. Your lack of self-esteem plays a big part in this. But I promise you it won’t always be like this. You’ll have great moments. You’ll find reasons to hold on, things to discover, and dreams to achieve.
Yet you need to face your traumas as soon as possible. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. Otherwise, they’ll gradually become your biggest demons and your high sensitivity will make them even worse. Speaking of sensitivity, you should learn to accept it. It won’t always be as bad as you think. In fact, I’m sure it plays an important role in your work and your way of being.

Pauline, take care of yourself and be patient.
You’ll become someone you like.

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Pauline Le Pichon

I’m a French visuel artist, freelance photographer, instructor and writer.