A Letter to My 21-Year-Old Self

As some of you reading this may or may not know, a couple of weeks ago (July 12th to be exact) I rang in 22 years of being on this beautiful earth. Shout out to all my Cancerian sistas and brothas! I knew 21 was going to be an iconic year, but I did not anticipate all of the experiences and growth that would take place during this past year. For that reason, I have decided to write a letter to my 21-year-old self.

PHOTO TAKEN BY LUCY BLEHAR

PHOTO TAKEN BY LUCY BLEHAR

Dear Misako,

You’ve just had an incredible 21st birthday in New York City, surrounded by some of your closest friends. You probably won’t see them for a while so make sure to cherish these moments! The weekend is about to end and you will be heading back to LA soon. I want you to brace yourself because you’re in for one heck of a year.

After having such an incredible time with your friends in NYC, you’re really going to crave the comfort of having a large friend group. Instead of being grateful for the handful of true friends that you do have in LA, you’re going to settle with hanging out with a group of people who don’t really care for you. Fortunately, the novelty of having a big “squad” is going to wear off once you realize this, and you’re going to begin to surround yourself with positive influences and to appreciate the true friendships you do have. This is going to take some time but it’s going to happen, I promise. Don’t waste your time with people who don’t see your worth and/or don’t want to see you be the best version of yourself. I know this sounds cliche but it’s 100% true: “It's not how many friends you can count, it's how many of those you can count on.” -Anthony Liccione

Now that you’re 21 you’re going to feel obligated to go out every night, resulting in way too many stupid decisions, that you’ll of course regret in the morning. This is going to happen time and time again until you knock some sense into yourself in January. You don’t have to go out every night to maintain a social life, which you’re aware of, but feeling like this is the only way you can connect with your “friends” will prevent you from acknowledging it. You’re going to use partying as a distraction from some deep feelings of insecurity you’ve been harboring, but I promise you this isn’t going to help the situation AT ALL. You won’t believe this right now, but please know that you are beautiful, inside and out, and worth more than you think you are. Drizzy said it best, “know yourself, know your worth!” You don’t have to settle for negative friendships and mistreatment from men to feel loved and valued. You are loved and valued by a lot of people, but you are going to have to learn to love yourself before you can accept love from others.

Your family is going to experience a lot of hardships this year. You’re going to feel helpless and like your entire world is crumbling around you. You will endure a lot of emotional pain behind closed doors and get to a point where you feel like you can’t handle it anymore. Know that you and your family will come out on the other side, even though right now the light at the end of the tunnel seems unreachable. Take a deep breath and realize that these things are out of your control. Accept the fact that you can’t fix the past or what is currently happening, but you can offer your love and support. It may not seem like enough, but that’s what your family really needs right now.

After about 11 years years of makings excuses for yourself, you’re finally going to begin dancing again! This might actually be the best decision you make all year. It’s going to be scary, difficult, intimidating... but mostly incredible. Through this experience you’re going to realize that you’re capable of a lot more than you give yourself credit for, and that it’s never too late for ANYTHING. Continue to take risks and to do things you’re afraid of! Whether that means walking into a ballet class, buying the plane ticket you probably can’t afford, or going on the date, do it! DO NOT ignore your passions and DO take time to nurture your creative spirit. The projects you work on at you job are important, but remember the most important project you can work on is yourself.

All in all, 21 is going to be a life-changing year for you. Through all of the ups and the downs you’re going to become a stronger, smarter, and more confident woman. Everything happens for a reason, and although at times it won’t be clear what those reasons are, it will all make sense eventually. Continue working hard towards your dreams and stop comparing yourself to others. You’re doing a great job!! Most importantly, love yourself and allow yourself to receive love--it’s pretty awesome.

PHOTO TAKEN BY LUCY BLEHAR

PHOTO TAKEN BY LUCY BLEHAR

With Love,

Misako