Dear Hazel:

Spoiler alert: the future is awesome.

If you could see yourself right now, you’d be pretty damn proud. You have helped heal the sick. You have helped change the world. You are able to draw and paint anything you please. You talk to people, and then write their stories. You’ve been to places you’ve never even imagined. You’ve done things you thought you could never do before. All in all as I said: awesome.

I am telling you this so you know that life does get better. Perhaps it does not feel that way. But you know what? Your struggles and your pains are not yours alone to bear. All over the world, thousands of people feel the same fears, insecurities and uncertainty as you do. You are not alone.

I know exactly the advice you need to get through it:

First, do not be ashamed of your love of solitude. Do not make excuses for it. It’s OK to want to be alone. The things you do in your solitude will define you and mold you.

Just be yourself, cliché as it may sound. Every single person has their own opinion of what everyone else should be. They will want you to be fatter or thinner, or smarter or stupider, or passive or assertive, or more silent or more talkative. Do not give a damn. Only by being you can you give your own unique contribution to the world. Being different is OK. Embrace it.

Instead of trying to please others, understand them. Everyone is going through a struggle. Everyone has a story. Someone once said: “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love, once you‘ve heard their story.” Don’t be afraid to love people this way. And stories will make you understand where you’ve come from and where you’re going. Only in listening to the stories of others will you discover your own.

Finally, always make time for your art. If needed, just drop everything else to do it. Art is your voice. Your work is your soul. Creation is your identity. Remember that. If you do not have time for your creative work, you neither have the time nor the ability for anything else at all.

And while I wait for you in this moment where I am right now, I find comfort in knowing that whether you follow my advice or not I know that you will still be fine.

See you soon.

Much love,

Your older self

Dear Me is a Youtube campaign for Women’s Day (March 8) 2015. I do not have an active Youtube channel, but I figured I’d like to write to my younger self anyway. 🙂

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