"My teens were even worse – grappling with how to fit in, and what that even meant," Meghan Markle wrote

By Erin Hill
Updated August 04, 2020 02:58 PM
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In 2014, Meghan Markle was playing Rachel Zane on Suits and was happily running her lifestyle blog, The Tig, as she approached her 33rd birthday.

In a short essay she wrote to her Tig readers on her specially day Meghan got candid about her past struggles to accept herself. Now, just six years later (on her 39th birthday!), her message is more powerful than ever, as the former actress is owning her new role as the Duchess of Sussex and a royal mom.

“I am 33 years old today. And I am happy. And I say that so plainly because, well…it takes time. To be happy. To figure out how to be kind to yourself. To not just choose that happiness, but to feel it,” she wrote at the time.

Meghan also delved into her challenging past, starting with her cliquey high school and her early years in Hollywood.

“My 20s were brutal – a constant battle with myself, judging my weight, my style, my desire to be as cool/as hip/as smart/as ‘whatever’ as everyone else. My teens were even worse – grappling with how to fit in, and what that even meant. My high school had cliques: the black girls and white girls, the Filipino and the Latina girls. Being biracial, I fell somewhere in between.”

Seen Around Lincoln Center - Day 3 - Fall 2014 Mercedes - Benz Fashion Week
Meghan Markle in 2014
| Credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

It wasn’t until she was in her mid-twenties that she had a life-changing conversation with a casting director: “I must have been about 24 when a casting director looked at me during an audition and said, ‘You need to know that you’re enough. Less makeup, more Meghan.’ ”

Then, she addresses her fans, writing, “You need to know that you’re enough. A mantra that has now engrained itself so deeply within me that not a day goes by without hearing it chime in my head. That five pounds lost won’t make you happier, that more makeup won’t make you prettier, that the now iconic saying from Jerry Maguire – ‘You complete me’ – frankly, isn’t true. You are complete with or without a partner. You are enough just as you are.”

Meghan closes her post by asking for one birthday gift: “I want you to be kind to yourself. I want you to challenge yourself. I want you to stop gossiping, to try a food that scares you, to buy a coffee for someone just because, to tell someone you love them…and then to tell yourself right back. I want you to find your happiness.”

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle
| Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage

The Tig, which Meghan shut down in August 2017, was Meghan’s passion project. It mostly covered food and travel, but she occasionally dished out advice about life and love. She named her blog after the red wine Tignanello.

“Tignanello is a full-bodied red wine that I tried about seven years ago. In wine circles, it is nicknamed ‘Tig,’” she explained. “It was my first moment of getting it — I finally understood what people meant by the body, structure, finish, legs of wine. The TIG is my nickname for me getting it. Not just wine, but everything.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie
| Credit: Press Association via AP

Meghan’s life has changed drastically since her 2014 birthday post. After her royal wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018, she adjusted to life as a duchess and welcomed their first child, Archie, born in May 2019. Then in January 2019, the couple announced their decision to step down as senior working royals.

As they settle into life in L.A., Meghan and Harry are making plans for their new foundation, Archewell. Given the massive upheaval from both the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd, Meghan and Harry have refocused their efforts.

"Nobody could have counted on the world turning upside down," a source tells PEOPLE. "As many others have, they have been moved to get their voices behind supporting both the COVID-19 response and Black Lives Matter."