Three years ago, in a rare move, Eldest Sis wrote me an email. “I had a meaningful conversation with Third Sis about what I think of as the yardstick concept… the yardstick in our lives. I believe each person has a fundamental essence that he or she needs, to keep feeling appreciation [about life] and blessed for being alive. I know mine is meaning in my life, and not regretting my decisions. I told Third Sis what I think hers is, and so I’m writing to you now to tell you what I think yours is. You can disagree absolutely. I feel that your yardstick is acceptance.”

2011 wasn’t my best year, let me first admit that. Back then, I had an ego the size of a mountain and was knee-deep in my first foray into twenty-something growing pains. So when I read this for first time, needless to say, I was angry. Furious. I wasn’t expecting what more looking to be told what I was(n’t).

“Acceptance of your achievement and downfalls; acceptance of the decisions you’ve made so far; acceptance of your own self, and by other people. But I want you to remember, that before any degree of acceptance – you have to first accept yourself.” 

“It isn’t easy,” she went on, “because it’s not fun to look at ourselves in the mirror, but when you’re self-secure, it doesn’t matter who you’re with and where you are, because you know that the best person you can be is you. I tell you this because I know you haven’t accepted yourself completely …and I hope you will – through sweat, tears, joy, anger – so that you’ll live your life fully without fear, except fear of the Almighty.”

I have always believed that I’m now at a point in my life where my past no longer defines me. Most days I win, but then there are… sometimes there are… days like today. Sometimes it takes a little more effort than usual to not conjure demons of the past, monsters under my bed I thought I’d fought and won over. Faces and names that I still recall with a clarity that has me cursing at myself because why, why retrace parts of the past that’s best left buried? These girls I’ll never be. Girls I’ll never measure up to because they’ve got the smarts, the beauty, the personality- you name it, they’re It.

I am tired. I am so fucking tired of these goddamn girls who seem to have their lives in order and themselves so put-together, who have knights in shining armors ready to catch them when they fall and a long line of girls just wishing and wanting to be their friends and sisters or whatever else. Female friendships can be so fucking odd, let me tell you that. I should know – that’s what I know best. “When you accept yourself,” my sister wrote, “it doesn’t matter who you’re with-” If only it’s that easy, damnit.

Why is it that girls like me are told to be strong and tough and brave, to learn to swim to the shore by myself because I am capable while girls like them get picked up in a boat even if they are too? Why am I told to define myself and have presence, but it doesn’t matter if girls like them are nice but awkward, or pretty but catty – it doesn’t matter how nice or mean they are because people will always, somehow, flock towards them?

Today is your birthday, isn’t it? No, I didn’t forget. Okay I did, but of course your admirers were quick to correct that. Eldest Sis was right. I admit; (self)acceptance is my fucking yardstick. Always has been. I desperately want to move past this. I want to move past this, damnit. I want to make peace with the fact you don’t like me and I don’t know why. I want to accept the fact you treat me differently among our supposedly close-knit group of friends, how you’d brush off my attempts at keeping in touch. I want to stop sounding like an apology for not being good enough to be approved by you. I just, I- I thought we were friends. For two years, I genuinely thought we were friends.

Happy birthday. I hope know you’re doing well.

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