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!
And while I absolutely look forward to legally ordering a glass of prosecco at dinner like a real grown-up lady, my impending birthday has also made me stop and reflect on some of the few nuggets of wisdom I have acquired over the last two decades
Community is at the heart of what feminism is all about.
What Ana Mendieta’s Siluetas Taught Me About Woman and Nature as One.
I have found magic in R E V E A L I N G ones true nature.
Vintage pinups redone with ink and abstract watercolor.
The modern day equivalent of sticking post-its and cards to your mirror.
Self-Love is the greatest love story.
Dealing with the “monster menses.”
Hi, wow!” she exclaims with an unbridled energy that seems both youthful and genuine--two adjectives an average American would be unlikely to employ if asked to describe “politician.”
My admiration for music and feminism brought me to create artwork that showcases new women artists reimagined as older feminist singers that share similarities.
How Overthinking Ruined My Love Life.
The premise of this short film is that a young girl’s happiness and fantasy keeps getting interrupted by outside sources. Her fantasy can be whatever you take it to be, whether that be her dancing by herself, consuming confetti and joy, remaining true to her values, whatever you might identify with.
Regardless of how up to minute one stays with celebrity culture, it’s hard to miss the fact that we love nothing more than a woman in a crisis.
Traveling solo is a great way to boost your confidence, even if it feels scary.
My best friend was the first to know. The bittersweet words felt sour on the ears. She disappeared into her own self-induced shock, paralyzed by the reality of three little words (“Kristie, I’m Bisexual”).
Did you know that Black women are three to four times more likely to die from childbirth than white women?
I’m sorry, I should’ve packaged up your ignorance in a neatly wrapped box. A pretty ribbon to heal your embarrassment? A sweet label to explain away your guilt?
Shame feels terrible. Hot sweats. Crawling skin. Unbearable smallness. Shame makes me feel like a little girl, not the grown woman I am.
You both asked me how I’ve been, Good.
if I ever made it to where I wanted to go, I did.
why I left with such certainty. For me.
Now the #1 bestselling author of The Survival Guide to Bullying: Written by a Teen, Aija asserts that she is “strong, determined, and vulnerable.” The adjectives bookending her sentence, “strong,” and “vulnerable,” might seem contradictory, but over the course of our conversation, Aija swiftly exhibited her multifaceted personality and explained how she finds courage in her weakest moments. Over the course of her teen years and blossoming career, Aija has successfully twisted her struggles into strength in order to save herself and others.
If my future self would have told “1st grader Brooke” that she would be a public figure in Texas politics, little Brooke would’ve told my future self that she had spelled dentist wrong. Dreams can change through a matter of circumstance.
I got bangs just like my 6-year-old self displayed on picture day.
I stood, my tummy jutting out in my Speedo two-piece, and stared at my reflection in the mirror, zeroed in on one thing: a huge pimple right between my eyebrows. Big and red and painful. I squeezed the ever-loving shit out of that thing, but to no avail: I had only angered the beast.
In one particularly inappropriate and hilarious scene, the word “clitoris” is repeatedly shouted. My friends and I are baffled. What is that? It’s still considered “cool” to know bad words, which we assume it must be. “I dare you to ask our health teacher,” my friend says.
My clothing is not an invitation for your hands, my sister is not a prize, and my best friend is not able to consent if she is not fully conscious. Simply existing in your room doesn’t make me yours. Content warning: rape and sexual assault.
I just asked him if he knew about the mermaids. Specifically, the mermaid in Irish poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill’s “Mermaid in the Hospital,” a mermaid who wakes up to find her tail gone, replaced with “two long, cold thingammies.” . She doesn’t understand her new, working legs because they are not her: “But here's the thing/she still doesn't get— ... How she was connected/to those two thingammies/and how they were connected/to her.”
In my last spring break, I disappeared for a night. While I suspect that this was the second time I’ve been roofied, I’ll probably never know for sure. After waking up in a strange place and returning home, I saw the damage that I believe I had caused--the tears and panic in my mom’s eyes, my boyfriend sitting in the driveway crying as he waited for me to come home. I don’t know what happened that night.
We are queens of our own, Our crowns don't show. They are hidden in our souls.
I heard so many things growing up, starting in pre-school. I believed “boys are faster and stronger than girls”, or “only girls can like pink and purple”, or “girls are smarter than boys”. Even though none of these are accurate statements, I remember feeling sad when I lost a race to a boy on the playground, thinking it was because I was weak because I was a girl. Then I remember hating that part about being a girl.
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.