Written by Natalie Levy for YettiSays Self-Love Month | “To The Girl” post series
To The Girl Who Thought Her Sadness Defined Her
To the girl who thought her sadness defined her, you were right. For a little while. The sadness was what you knew. It shaped the corners of your mouth and the way you walked across the room. It shaped the way you heard people’s compliments and harbored their criticisms. It was all that you knew.
To the girl who thought that her sadness defined her, you were right. It was your identity. It was the music that you listened to and the crash diets you tried. It was the way you judged yourself and the way you judged others. It was the tears you cried and the hours you slept. It was the screaming matches you had with your father and the distance between you and your brother. It was the ache you had for a mother you barely knew. It was all that you knew.
And to that girl who thought her sadness defined her, I honor, admire and love you because despite the stories you told yourself— stories like, “you would be lying to yourself if you felt happy”, or “you would lose your identity if you felt happy”, or “happiness is for people who are prettier, smarter, and more deserving than you”— you had hope. That hope came from somewhere deep inside of you, but it crept through. Slowly at first, and then like an explosion. One day, you woke up and cried because you suddenly realized that you were happy. One day, the sadness informed who you were but no longer defined you.
To the girl who thought her sadness defined her, you learned that deep empathic understanding can come from sadness. You learned that you have the ability to hold space for other people’s sadness because you examined your own. And it is that very sadness that makes you the person that you are/I am today. And while I wouldn’t wish that sadness upon anyone, I am grateful for having experienced it.
To that sad little girl who wanted love, I love you for learning to love yourself. To the sad little girl who wanted to make an impact on the world, I love you for working so hard to follow your dreams. To the sad little girl who discovered that she could help people through their suffering because she understood it, you would be so proud of the work that you do today.
And to all the girls who think that sadness defines you, I want you to know that it only informs who you are. I want you to know that if you never experienced deep sadness, the happiness would never feel so sweet. I want you to know that you are so strong, not despite your sadness, but because of it. I want you to know that only you can define who you are. And, I want you to know that hope, no matter how faint, can eventually set you free.
To the girl who thought her sadness defined her, you will let your darkness lead you to your light.