#ToHER: I Waited Too Long to Love Myself

May 15, 2022

We bring to you letters written by women to women they love, miss, cherish or just remember. To celebrate the support women continue to show each other, this is #ToHER.

From: A woman finally learning self-love 

To: Stephanie, herself

Dear Stephanie,

I’m writing this because I want you to know you deserve to feel beautiful every day. This year hasn’t been great for you. You’ve struggled with your identity and failed at friendships, family and school, and I know it’s been tough. The saddest part is that you’ve been on this spiral for quite some time.

But I want you to know that I’m proud of you. I know the self-doubt started in JSS 1 when the school dormitories were burnt down. You used to be been in Yellow House, but after the fire, no one could stay there everyone needed to move. And that’s how you ended up in Red House. You were always bullied, so you expected the worst from trying to fit in all over again, but the rejection from the Red House captain wasn’t something you’d planned for. And she wasn’t even bothered when you went back to complain. You couldn’t understand why you were suddenly unwanted; everyone just pushed you around until other seniors joined in to laugh. the bullying got worse over time and the self-hate started to set in.

RELATED: 7 Nigerians Talk About Being Bullied in Secondary School

By SS 2, nothing had changed so you thought something was wrong with you. ”I’m not as pretty as the other girls,” you thought. ”It’s because my face is covered with pimples” Or, ”Why don’t I have nice clothes like them?” You compared yourself to the other girls and wished they would like you. 

I wish you trusted that you were enough. 

The moments you allowed yourself to feel beautiful were quickly ruined. Like when that boy called you ugly because of your acne and scars in December last year [2021]. I wish you didn’t allow a silly boy to ruin the confidence you worked so hard to build again after high school. You were finally starting to love yourself again, Stephanie, so what happened? Now, you’ve spent every day since that snarky comment believing that the beauty you felt this year was in your head. 

RELATED: 7 Nigerian Women Talk About Living With Low Self-Esteem

Self-love won’t happen overnight, but I want you to read this whenever you doubt that you’re enough and remember how you felt in this moment writing to yourself. Stephanie, your smile lights up a room anytime you walk in. The dimple on your left cheek makes it impossible not to stare. I love your entire head of hair when it’s messy and when your edges are laid. I love your fingers and how perfect your nails look. Since April, I’ve taken every day to admire every part of you, so please don’t let anyone ruin this journey.

You aren’t the girl you were in high school, and I forgive you for holding onto her for so long. I know you were sad, hurt and angry, but the past is the past. Stephanie, I love you for all that you are. Please be patient with yourself on this journey. 

With all my love,

Stephanie

ALSO READ: 10 Things That Count As Self Care For Women

If you’d like to write a letter #ToHER, click here to tell us why

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