Dear Selena Gomez,
Like many others, I have grown up looking up to you. From the era of Wizards of Waverly Place to the new era of Rare, just about everything has played its part in my life. Being a timid and sincere kid, I found my solace in watching Alex Russo play her gimmicks. I wished to be just like her — wish it was possible! I always wanted the approval of others and never had the courage to say no. Wizards of Waverly Place used to stream at 4:30 PM, and my mother returned from work at around 5 PM. Since I was strictly instructed to sleep at that time, I was not allowed to watch the show. So, I used to watch it, run to my room and pretend to sleep on hearing my mother open and enter the front gate of our house. I know it may not seem much, but Alex Russo gave great fun and comfort to the rebel in me. And from then on, I searched and watched everything you did and every project that you would appear in…
For most of my life, I have been a prisoner of my own expectations and the expectations of society. My dreams and my actions were never my own. I always followed someone else’s dictation. The only thing that was mine, was my wish to travel around the world. You fulfilled half my dream as I experienced travelling to Paris with you in Monte Carlo and for the first time in quite a long period, I felt like the world was my oyster.
As a teenager, I was tired of being compared to others and my parents and teachers telling me that life is a race and all fellow human beings are my competitors. This was in total contradiction to my view of the world in which I considered everyone a friend. In this whirlwind, my insecurities grew. I felt like I wasn’t good enough for my parents or anyone else for that matter. At this point in my life, Who says was released. This song gave me the ability to believe in myself. On your revival tour when you sang the song live on-stage and the audience sang along, I was at home singing along with the other fans getting goosebumps and tears of joy. The song still works like magic in freeing me from my demons that tell me that I cannot be what I want to be. At the same time, songs like Come and get it, Hands to Myself, Ring and Fetish make me feel sassy. When you sing about stupid love affairs, I feel it all. I feel the pain of wearing your heart on your sleeve all the time, of being in love with someone who is the only one for you but you might not be the only one for them. When you just know what is wrong, you can count the red flags on your fingers but still choose to stay and suffer through it. When you try to reach out but nothing comes across and even if you decide to move away, you are always pulled back in and then left again, in pieces. But at some point when things become toxic and start affecting you in the worst way possible, you taught me to put myself first. And as you got me through the heartbreaks and millions of turmoils, you also gave me hope and strength to get up and to keep moving forward — neither to ever get hurt nor hurt others.
I am sometimes healthy but always fat, I am sometimes calm but always anxious, I am sometimes wheatish but always dark, I am sometimes happy but always sad and I am seldom understood but always judged. As I go through these different moods in life, you are a constant. Sometimes coincidentally facing the same emotions as me, expressing your views on what I am dealing with and how to deal with it. Your vulnerability is a boon for society. You have tried to encourage women multiple times to break the beauty myth — an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern women in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self-consciousness and self-hatred as one tries to fulfil society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty. 13 Reasons Why sparked discussions around many issues, which I and many young adults face in their day to day lives like bullying, body shaming, sexual assault, substance abuse and more. Doing all this, all while always making constant efforts to impart self-love and make people feel comfortable in their own skin through various projects like Rare Beauty, makes you even more admirable. Your goal to make help available to those who suffer quietly with their mental illnesses through different initiatives like Wondermind or Rare Beauty Mental Health 101 has changed the lives of millions across the globe.
While you do all this for us, I get perplexed on how sometimes you let the haters in and let them pull you down because for me and millions of others, you are just perfect. And in that moment, I want to be able to tell you that you are beautiful in every way, inside and out and you will always stand out. Not getting enough recognition for your work should not let you down because for those who look up to you and love you truly, every song, every movie, every show and every form in which you share with us a piece of yourself is like a pearl in the ocean. And if I were you, I would never want to be anybody else. Even though I am always eager and starving for new work from you, I wouldn’t mind if you took breaks to take care of yourself. As I will not be worthy of being called a Selenator if I don’t let you put yourself first.
- By Kamakshi