What's Beautiful: An Open Letter to my 16 year old self

I am honored to be a sponsored participant in the Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign through my FitFluential ambassadorship. To me, this journey isn't about winning, it is about redefining what is beautiful for the female athlete. I realize that Under Armour has a more global goal but for me, I feel the journey needs to be specific to the individual, that woman or young lady reaching to obtain her goals.

As a mom I do think about the journey darling daughter will face. Girls can be mean. I was mentioning this yesterday to a co-worker and she said, yes, they can be. They will always be. Just teach yours to be nice. And that is what I am trying to do. But I also feel I need to aim to give her the strength of character I didn't have when I was younger. I was nice. I was not confident.

If I could go back in time and talk to my 16 year old self I would have a lot to say.

First, I would say, girls can be mean. Be proud of yourself and no, your legs and butt are not too big. A size 6 is perfectly healthy. Beauty isn't defined by a number on the scale or a tag. Don't stress too much when you gain weight in college. Don't let that number on the scale make you think you are not beautiful. You will dig deep. You will decide to make a change. You will go from a size 12 to a size 2. You will gain weight again when you get pregnant. Do not let the "you are so big" comments make you think you are not beautiful. You are. You will lose that baby weight. You will get back to pre-pregnancy weight and you will become fitter than you have ever been. You are an example of continual improvement. You are committed. You are beautiful.

Second, I am glad you stopped bleaching your hair. That just damages it and later in life, you are going to love your red highlights and aim to enhance them with henna. And those crazy waves you try to tame, just let them be. It isn't worth the struggle trying to make your hair be something it isn't. You will never be fully happy with it but you will learn that it is yours and who you are. It is being true to yourself that is beautiful. Let your natural you shine. You are beautiful.

Third, that high school soccer team that you are part of is not a true representation of a team and how women support each other. Do not listen to them and do not let their air of superiority make you think you are less. You have a lot of talent within. And the coach that chastised you for running fast and well instead of staying behind with those who were dragging you down emotionally, forget about it. That day you were pushing your limits, seeing what you could do, you were finding that you indeed have running legs. That is a very important day. You trained well the summer before. You ran on your own and that day you realized hard work pays off and that you are capable. Hold on to that. And don't worry, later in life you are going to find out what true teamwork is. You are going to find a support group of online runners, fitness enthusiasts, and fellow ambassadors that will amaze you beyond belief. You will give and receive support as we all strive to reach our biggest dreams. And believe it or not, you will reconnect with some of those friends/acquaintances from high school. Ironically, you will feel the most support from those who didn't seem as close to you in those younger years. You will open your heart to them. You are beautiful.

Take pride in this time of your life. This is the time when you are learning just how strong you are. That boy you are with right now who you believe you will be with for the rest of your life. Well, your paths separate but he will continue to be a dear friend and a great support. He will be an instrumental piece in you developing your inner strength and confidence. He will get you to Maui and then you will stay there on your own. It will be scary. You will do it. You will find your soul mate and then leave him on Maui when you move to O'ahu. You will cry the moment you walk into your new apartment. You will try to find a Wal-Mart for food but end up back where you started hungry, scared, teary, and feel very alone. You will be on the verge of running out a gas and lost. You will feel hopeless. But you will find your way. You will find your strength. Those days will become the days that cement your character. You will start running to run in college but on O'ahu you will become a runner. A runner determined to compete and continually improve. The stage is set. You find your inner beauty and you will move back to Maui and have a daughter of your own. You are beautiful.

You will begin to think of food as fuel. You will respect your body more each and every day. You will become a running coach and continue to have big dreams. You will become a sponsored participant in the Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign and have the courage to tell the world that in high school fellow students made you feel bad and worthless. That you felt ugly but now you realize, you weren't. You are beautiful. 

You will continue to care what people think at times but be able to tell yourself when it doesn't matter. You will continue to strive to be the best you but you will no longer aim to be perfect. You will learn perfect doesn't really exist. You will learn to love yourself for who you are. You will be driven to live a life you will be proud your daughter followed. You will try to fill her with confidence and arm her with the love she needs when she faces her own battles. You will love unconditionally. You will remember your face and eyes when you were in kindergarten when life seems so big right when your daughter is about to embark on those same milestones. You are beautiful.

Your beauty comes from your strength and your determination. You will step on a treadmill one afternoon for a 7 mile run with 4 miles at tempo pace. You will feel tired from the start. Two minutes into the tempo run you will want to quit. You will allow yourself to ease the pace from the target pace of 8'20" to 8'27". You will tell yourself you must run 20 minutes at this pace, then you can do 10 minutes at easy pace, then another 20 minutes at tempo pace. You will bribe yourself that if you do the full 4 miles at tempo pace you won't have to go for a full 40 minutes (in two segments). You stick to your guns. You repeat "I will" and "strength". You find your inner strength. You will run 4.5 miles at tempo pace and complete a 7.23 mile run. You are beautiful.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for soft, cozy sweaters.
Daily Affirmation: I am beautiful and my beauty comes from my inner strength.


  1. This is amazing, wow!! Great post :)

  2. This a "beautiful" post! Seriously! Thanks for sharing, I love your attitude and perspective on life past and present:) The What's Beautiful campaign is such a great idea!!!

  3. Love this! I felt the same way in high school. So sad that people choose to be mean instead of supportive. As everyone always says, "I wish I knew then what I know now":)

  4. I have tears in my eyes. I am SO with you...16 yr old self. I have felt the mean girl pain. Look where you are now, strong and beautiful. I wrote a little bit about the relentless teasing I used to get about being muscular.

  5. I can relate so much to this. All that teenaged angst stopped me from achieving to my potential. I think I'd add in a little more - not to spend so much time worrying because it's all going to work out in the end.

  6. This made me cry!!! I love this post!!!

  7. Anonymous2:39 AM

    I was soo insecure at that age, so much so I do believe it messed with my potential. I never achieved things I wanted to. I am 42 and frankly I still have work to do in that area.


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