Author’s Note: I wrote this letter to myself because when I was younger I struggled just being myself. I had confidence issues and a lot of that had to do with the fact that I cared too much about what my teachers and others thought about me. That is how I felt at a young age and I recently started to feel that way again this year. I want to remind myself of how powerful and strong I am. The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This letter is for every young person who feels fearful, overwhelmed or anxious. I want this letter to remind other young people that they too are powerful and strong.
Dear past Juliana,
You never get enough credit. Your intelligence isn’t often acknowledged and you’re often not heard. I know this makes you wait for something, validation. We both know you don’t need it, but it’s still wanted.
But you are exceptionally whole, carrying yourself as high as you possibly can.
Growing up wasn’t easy for you. You spent most of your time alone, especially at school. Your curiosity has always been present, even at a young age. Your curiosity was, and still is, your favorite thing about yourself. But to others, it wasn’t.
At a young age, you learned what spaces were and weren’t meant for you.
You learned what it felt to be lonely. And though it hurts, breaks your heart even, you learned that it’s better to be alone than in bad company.
You’ve grown so much. Not only as a person but as a young muxer. You’re so powerful. You know your strengths, your triggers, your heart and that’s what helps you thrive. Your sense of yourself is so beautiful, you don’t need validation.
I see the passion in your eyes, how mindful you are of thinking about what to say. You sit with such radiance and power. To describe you as a gift isn’t enough.
Safety. Something you’ve looked for your entire life. You’ve found it in some places and not in others. When looking at the bigger picture, it’s never been easy finding somewhere to belong. Belonging, or even longing to be apart of the status quo, was something you secretly wanted but were never able to attain.
But I believe you’ve created your own somewhere. Even through pain you remained true and relied on your feelings, your heart, body and soul. You see the importance in growing and learning. You depend on your safe spaces and they depend on you.
Juliana, you’re valued and seen. Your family needs you, your friends need you, la raza needs you and I need you.
About the Author:
Juliana Taboada is a local Xicana poet and community activist. She originally grew up in Thousand Palms but moved to Mecca in 2013. She loves both her communities. She enjoys watching Netflix for hours and bursting out into Broadway and musical songs at any given moment. She is also awkward but very social and also loves pretzels.