A Letter To My 20-Year-Old Self

Artwork by Joanne Nam


You have come a long way. From the simple life in the province where you have experienced a fun, exciting, sad, and frightening childhood to the city where the tall buildings and abundance of cars on the road amazed you.

At a young age of 9, you have understood that you can’t be with your mom,like kids your age are supposed to, because life is difficult and your father’s an alcoholic. Your mom is the only person that you look up to, you treated her as your hero, and until now, you do.

I would like to tell you how proud I am of you because you have conquered all your childhood fears quite well despite of your father’s infrequent (and mostly dismissive way of guiding you).

You grew up in different households, because your mom has finally given up on your dad’s irresponsibility and is entrusting you to relatives and friends, and that somewhat influenced you as a person. It taught you how to associate yourself with people you barely even know, and it improved your social skills more than you have ever imagined. Like a little flower, a lot of people has admired you and has taken care of you. You have gained a knowledge or two from them and you are forever grateful for that.

The challenge of life has been never-ending for you. From fighting those negative emotions that got the better of you when your life wasn’t all sunny and problems are coming in like an unapologetic sandstorm that, with all it’s might, will blind you from seeing the bright side of your existence, to keeping your head up from all your high school bullies that can’t stop themselves from picking on your acne, your dry skin, or your face, which for them will never be pretty. Up until now, college has been mildly savage for you but you have kept a positive attitude and have found your peace against all the challenges that came with your course and the lack of facilities for it.

You have lost friends and gained new ones, but you never lost yourself, and that is far more important! You realized that some things can never be fixed, and people cannot be civil with you no matter how hard you try to be IT to them. You have learned to keep quiet despite of all the rude things that some people have done without wishing them ill in exchange. You have learned that triangulating other people into your issues will never result in anything good, it will make things worse, and you will be no different from your naysayer’s. You have learned that having a group of friends that tolerate your hate will only keep you from growing.

I am proud that you have figured out all these things from your own experiences!

Now, you are officially 20 years old. Far from that little girl on the streets, doing silly things, trying all the games, laughing wildly, and without any problems. You are now a young adult ready, although frightened, to take on the world. Yes, you have lost some of your child-like positivity and some of your glitter, but you have never lost your sparkle as a human being. You have been true to yourself and I commend you for that!

Know that trials and tribulations will always follow you around but you should never let that be a hindrance in reaching your dreams. Face your demons but never befriend them.

Good luck on your future adventures and self-reflections! I will always be here, watching.




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