When I was training to become an Aerie Ambassador, we did an exercise called “A Love Letter to My ______”. This exercise was meant to have us start thinking about all of the amazing things our body does for us and how we can learn to accept ourselves.
A huge part of learning to love yourself is through self-reflection, it can be through the form of writing in a journal, creating art, speaking with a friend, etc. As a result, I created my own self-reflection, a spin-off on the Aerie love letters, and it helped me learn and think more about how I thought about my body when I was younger and how different my mindset is now.
To my 12-year-old self,
I know how insecure you are feeling, wondering why your jeans come from the women’s section when your friends get theirs from the kids section. I know that you are embarrassed that your legs can’t even fit into your mom’s jeans, and that your sisters are skinnier than you. It’s okay that your thighs are curvier, that you’ve got tiger-stripe stretch marks on your hips, and that your butt is bigger than the other girls. Try not to spend as much time scrutinizing yourself in the mirror; you will grow into your body, I promise. You are and will continue to be beautiful.
Please, don’t try to shave your eyebrows down because girls keep telling you they look like caterpillars. Trust me, in a few years thick and full brows will be trendy, and girls will spend hours drawing theirs on to match how yours look with no effort.
When girls tell you that you need a nose job, turn the other way. They clearly have their own issues they need to address.
Don’t try another restrictive diet with your dad. It’s not healthy or normal for a 12-year-old girl to drink kale smoothies every meal for three weeks and take a hand full of supplements daily to try to drop weight.
Allow teachers and students alike to mispronounce the unique way your name is spelled. In a few years, you are going to get to visit your homeland and meet people with the same name as you!
The boys are going to continue to be jerks, even when you’re twenty, but you have to learn you do not need one to complete your princess fantasy. A true queen doesn’t need a king.
All of your reading and practicing math problems will pay off - let people call you a nerd or a dork, soon enough you’ll be studying what you love at a great university.
Let girls whisper that you have a bubble butt in the hallways, in a few years your body type will be considered sexy.
If you are uncomfortable with boys, you don’t have to do anything with them. And do not worry that you won’t get your first kiss for a few more years; no one is going to judge you.
Hang in there Lidija, in a few years you will learn what it’s like to love yourself, and it will be an incredible journey. You will be able to use your hardships to inspire and help girls from across the nation, and you’ll get to write about what you’re passionate about for large audiences.
I’ll see you in eight years,
If you’re reading this, consider taking a moment to write about what you love about yourself, what makes you unique and beautiful, and don’t limit yourself to physical features, personality traits work as well! Comment below if you want to share your letter!
Read the issue 3 intro letter and check out the cover!
…As I began to embark on my new life journey thousands of miles away from home, one of the hardest things I had to undergo was learning which relationships to “take” with me on my young adult novel-esque journey, and which ones to leave back in Texas
For the first time, I reveled in my little victories.
McCullers is an intimate writer, someone who is well worth the read!- she’s stripped away any stone of and brought you into the real world, cloaked in all of the dirt and muck of real life. This brings the reader and author closer together-- showing each other a specific relationship between two strangers.
I didn’t analyze the situation too closely at the time, other than to remark, “Wow, that’s funny that they thought I was pregnant.” But thinking back, I’m struck by how inappropriate it is to compliment a young woman on her maintained virginity. I also think, what if I had been pregnant? Would they have described abortion as an option? Or would they have positioned adoption or motherhood as the only available choices?
I have transformed quotations from my fictional heroes and my most beloved female characters into Haikus that remind me why I admire them as role models so much, and also of who I strive to be.
I am one to proclaim that the things we choose to watch, listen to, read, and indulge in are a big factor that shapes the kind of person we become … and shapes the way we perceive the world around us. Through its realism, its relatability, and it's all-inclusivity -- The Bold Type is a healthy binge-watching alternative.
This short fictional story centers around seventeen-year old Jo, an aspiring journalist and devoted fan to the fictional artist, Derek White. Throughout, she sadly learns that there is a separation from an image of a person and their true selves.
It is not uncommon for people with existing anxiety and self-esteem issues (like myself) to feel a dip into low moods in the summertime, particularly when we are flooded with images and advertisements for how to keep ourselves “beach body ready.”
This 22-Year-Old Female Founder is Making Periods Sustainable, Accessible, and Affordable. Get ready for viv to be your new favorite period product brand.
Support networks are important for everyone, but they don’t always come in the same form for every person. Family is perhaps the first one that comes to mind, but the definition of family is not uniform. For some, it’s biological. For others, it’s chosen. For some, it’s a mixture of the two.
Girls and femme-identifying people simultaneously need to practically break their necks to be as feminine as possible while being constantly belittled for femininity, all for the end goal of being in a straight relationship with a man who will appreciate their beauty. Why can’t we just value ourselves without a man’s approval?
In my poetry, I see that the historical contextualization and memorialization of women can have a profound impact on what we now believe is possible.
Every time I pass her building, when the family gets together for dinners, as her favorite song plays in my shuffled playlist; she is everywhere…I didn’t know how much of me was made of her, and I don’t know if I’ll ever fully understand, but having you here is something I’ll forever be grateful for.
As “womxn” increasingly becomes apart of our language, it may feel intimidating if it’s something you may not know much about or have even heard for the first time. Here we answer some questions you may have about the word.
It’s taken me a long time to embrace the beauty and power of my imperfections. Moreover, to realize that my worth isn’t lessened by my flaws.
Miscellaneous: Serious Fun is a new column where I’ll explore random subjects that I’m interested in, just for the hell of it.
For trauma survivors, pleasure is a process of growth.
At my high school’s college signing day, they made a point of mentioning who was the first in their family to graduate from high school or the first in their family to go to college. Everyone clapped and cheered and the adults in the room seemed particularly impressed, but I don’t think any of us really understood the weight of what we were experiencing or about to transition into.
Everyone knows the name Amelia Earhart. She has been a staple figure in elementary school history classes for generations, and most people have a sense of the basic information: famous pilot, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, disappeared mysteriously. But that’s pretty much where the description ends for a lot of us.
I remember there was a marked time in my childhood when I started performing obsessive actions, and then a time when I realized these actions were not something everyone did.
“Dear Jessica Jones, you deserved better than this.”
Through messages I’d received through books, and through the messages I’d received from people around me my whole life, I’d been told that relationships have a playbook that they start and develop by, and had either desperately misconstrued these messages or taken the really damaging ones to heart.
An ode to the greatest southeastern supermarket chain of Heaven.
A short story on the emotional toll womanhood can exact today.
The time to act on climate change is now; not tomorrow, or in a week or even a day.
I decided to visually depict the absurd and problematic thinking behind the phrases and words used today that need to be erased from our language.
In my hand was a boarding pass for a flight to Madrid, the first stop on a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, an ancient route that has attracted religious and secular travelers for centuries. Aside from the aforementioned backpack and shoes, I was diving way outside of my comfort zone without as much as a clear idea of where exactly in Spain the journey would take me.
“It’s up to us to teach young girls and even ourselves that being a girl is ok. In fact, it’s great! Be the best girl or womxn you can be and be a role model for others who might be afraid to be themselves.”
I remember sending a photo of an outfit I wore to a group chat of 11 of my closest friends with the caption “this makes me feel androgynous” – meaning: it makes me feel less feminine than my tight, revealing outfits usually do.
Author: Lidija Jurovich
Lidija is a rising junior at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in Marketing with a minor in Non-Profit Leadership. Growing up on the West Coast, Lidija has learned that traveling and meeting new people is one of her favorite things to do. She hopes to create her own non-profit clothing company with proceeds benefiting victims of child abuse or pursue a career in marketing for empowering and inclusive clothing or beauty companies. Currently, she is a brand ambassador for Aerie, where she works to promote body positivity and empowerment on UMD’s campus.