What Do You Wish You Had Known As A Teenager?

What did you want to know, but didn't know, in middle school? In high school? Was there something you needed to hear from someone else, in order to believe it yourself? With International Women's Day coming up this Sunday, YouTube has launched the #DearMe campaign to encourage women everywhere to think about their teenage experiences and what they were missing. In the video below, a group of women write letters to their younger selves, addressed "Dear me."

YouTube user Magali Vaz begins her message to herself by saying, "I remember being you, and I remember it being really, really difficult." Nearly all of the other women echo this sentiment. Many cite their appearances — "the coarse, black hair, the yellow skin," "the color of our skin," "not feeling black enough," and just "your body," in general — as major sources of anxiety and shame. As these women describe their adolescent fears (not fitting in, being bullied) a clear theme starts to form — something along the lines of, "Dear me, do not let what others expect of you get in the way of your happiness."

The speakers go on to assure their young selves that they won't always be preoccupied with those worries. "All those amazing, different qualities you have, no one else has," says participant Lilly Singh. The #DearMe campaign is arriving in time for International Women's Day, but its core values — self-reflection, forgiveness, support — influence how women treat themselves and each other every day.

In response to the self-explanatory hashtag #OffendEveryoneIn4Words, Amy Schumer smartly tweeted: "Woman who likes herself." The #DearMe participants are working to undo the absurdity of this idea, asserting that women can and should be happy with themselves. As participant Hannah Hart puts it: "You're going to meet a version of yourself that you never knew existed, so don't stress out too much about how you look or how cool you are." Links to the individual videos included in the compilation above can be found here, in the video's info section.

Now, it's your turn to sit down with your former self. Write a letter in your journal, or even make your own #DearMe GIF here. After all, the most meaningful advice comes from the person who knows you best.

Via YouTube.

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