My 16-year-old self has more spots than my 14-year-old self, or even my 15-year-old self. But she is more comfortable with a face full of harsh, red blemishes than the 14-year-old who would sweat and panic over one tiny zit. It wouldn’t even be classed as a zit; in reality they were slightly discoloured hills on my skin, barely able to be awarded the title of red - of a spot.
My 16-year-old self sometimes walks around make-up free, despite her pock-marked face! My 13-year-old self would sometimes do the same, but she felt more shy about her perfect skin than my 16-year-old self’s varied one. My 14-year-old self had thin thighs that she felt were “too skinny” and a relatively flat chest. Now my 16-year-old self has boobs that jiggle when she dances and thighs that wiggle when she walks.
My 13-year-old self was insecure about her likes and dislikes - that things that made her her, she thought that her reading habit and bookish obsessions would cause people to think less of her. But now her 16-year-old self is proud of her hobbies and her colourful bookshelf and will usually be happy to share the things she has written, in the hope that someone will enjoy reading them as she has enjoyed writing them.
But my 16-year-old self is still secure. She still has days when she is scared and doubts her self worth; she still feels conscious about changing for PE in case anyone looks disparagingly upon her body. She is confident but still has insecurities. She knows everyone has insecurities now matter how confident they may seem - and that is what makes her confident. She has accepted herself for who she is and I am proud of her for that.
However, that doesn’t mean that I am not proud of my other selves; the spotless 13-year-old, the 14-year-old with “too skinny” legs, and the 15-year-old who felt lost and out of place, with no sense of direction. I am proud of them.
I am proud of my 13-year-old self for letting herself become more confident around people.
I am proud of my 14-year-old self for achieving the feeling of security and bliss around the friends I still love to bits today, for discovering more of her passions and letting others know about them.
I am proud of my 15-year-old self in so many ways. Having recently been her, her troubles are still fresh in my mind. The heartbreak my 14-year-old self felt at having to leave my home rippled into my 15-year-old self’s thoughts. She didn’t feel right - she was uncomfortable. She felt empty for a while until she took the time to glue herself back together, piece by piece. I am proud of her for triumphing over the troubles my past selves struggled against and I want to congratulate her for that.