Yes, I’m going to do one of these before I get to April (that’s the usual upload) because I think this year needs to be dissected a little bit.

For everyone that has no idea, this is a tag I started years ago based on a challenge.

I write a letter meant for myself, to be read a year later. I usually end up reading these multiple times through the year though.

These are long, sometimes personal details that slip through the average readers eyes, a code only I and a select few people are meant to understand. Make of that what you will.

Dear Future Me,

I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but I’m going to do two parts this year. 2020 has been hard and I don’t want to rehash all the things that have made it so in my 2021 letter.

I read the other letters a while back, so this is the first time I’m doing this without having read the previous letters minutes before writing the next. I have a good reason for this.

You see, on reading those, I noticed what I was like all those years ago. Young, hopeful and immature. Not that I’m not those things now. To you, I will always be younger and more immature.

I also realised how much I needed to mature, to grow up, and if you’ve read those letters before you got here, you’ve seen the transition too.

Surreal, isn’t it?

This letter isn’t for the past mes so I’m going to refer to them very little. This letter is for you.

I think, with maturity, comes the ability to acknowledge your flaws. And you’ve done a ton of acknowledging in the past year. You’re flawed, and that’s fine. It’s human.

I read somewhere that the worst way to prove yourself is to disprove what you were and it hit me hard.

The article went on to hit home a few more points, but these are facts that need to be accepted.

To prove ourselves to be strong, we renounced (or attempted to) a lot of things we considered feminine.

We wore polos exclusively, refused fancy hairstyles, actively shunned makeup, acted physically strong and largely dismissive of the more “feminine” traits.

I know how wrong that was now. We tried to prove women were strong because we adopt “masculine” traits.

In reality, there is no such thing as a “masculine” or “feminine” trait.

I know the longing you buried for pretty dangly earrings, coloured eyeliner, lipsticks, dresses.

I want you to know you have them now. I found the real us.

Now I have a stash of makeup, a ton of skincare I religiously follow, new recipes I try every weekend.

I wear flowy dresses and soft makeup. And I smile a whole lot more.

In no way does this bear on the fact that I can solder wires and fix earphones, change condensers of fans, take apart the switchboard and put it back together again.

It doesn’t mean that those 5 minute snacks required to keep your hunger pangs at bay make you weak or worthless. Taking care of yourself is important, you have to live with the consequences.

I think this is one of the most important things we learned this year. Things won’t go your way, you have to pick which battles to fight and which to ignore. If you know it’s a losing battle, sacrifice your ego instead. It isn’t worth the effort.

I think we grew up to realise everyone has their own lives. The number of messages you get does not dictate your worth. It never did.

The people that matter will still reach out. Dhwani, Jolene, Ashna, Mayank and everyone else that reached out this year did it despite not physically meeting you.

You know you would do it for them too. Maturity is realising everyone is fighting their own battles, but it doesn’t undermine the one you’re fighting either.

Sure, there are people fighting tougher battles than you are, but if you’re sad, you’re sad. Period. Cut yourself some slack.

It’s been a year of introspection, and I’ve realised Dhwani was right.

In my haze of loss, last year’s letter barely covered anything that happpened.

I think one of the fondest memories of our life was Disneyland. We will forever owe Ashna that debt.

I don’t think we mentioned Paris enough. It may not have been the kindest, but big cities rarely ever are. It was cut throat, but you enjoyed it.

We went to the Parc Zoologique de Vincennes (Zoo) and learnt that we need not be accompanied, that kind of happiness can apply when you go alone too.

We met Dhwani in Paris, a disheartening day made so much better. You owe her that.

You owe Mayank and Meenakshi. Yanis and Sandrine.

You owe those random people at IGT that helped you with your bags.

You owe mom and dad and Sneha for keeping you same through those 14 days.

You owe a shit ton of people. You can’t get through life alone and people need to be appreciated. I know you suck at expressing that, work on it!

We tried real hard and it didn’t pay off. That’s fine.

Stings a bit, but it’s fine.

It’s supposed to be that way. Life teaches you lessons, we need to remember them.

I’ve done so much growing up this year. But I’ve also grown to like myself. This version of me.

I’m not so sure past mes would be happy with the me now. But that’s only because they don’t know what you and I do.

They’re out to prove themselves, you’ve already done that.

The only person we needed to stand up to was ourself. The pandemic gave us there time for introspection we never had. We jumped from milestone to milestone so quick we never had the time to stop and stare. We had that time now and we used it as much as we could.

So no, you’re not happy 100% of the time, no one is. But you’re mostly happy.

You’re not the shining beacon of physically strong, but does it matter?

You have more colour in your wardrobe. Flowery shirts and bell sleeves, pastel shoes and pink blush. And you rock them.

Just, please get back to some sort of exercise. At the rate I’m cooking, we’re going to need it!

This letter is a little disjointed, a touch happy, a tad introspective. You’ll make sense of it though, you always do.

We’re all proud of who you are now. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, we love you.

Stay strong love,