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Nicole Richie

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Nicole Richie is not sorry.

The Simple Life alum recently turned 35, and instead of cowering with fear at the thought of hitting her mid-30s, Richie embraced it. In a new essay for Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter, Richie opens up about the reflecting she did upon hitting 35 and how it will all affect her future.

Richie, who is now a successful fashion designer, admits to looking back on her life and cringing at some of the decisions she made. Now, however, she's choosing a positive outlook.

"Other moments come when I'm out in the world, and that's a very different picture, one of danger, darkness, and shame. Moments of congratulation and celebrating who I am do not come without strangers pointing out how dark my life once was," she writes.

"I hear a lot of 'Wow, you once looked like this, but now you look like this!' and 'You once were wild, and now you're an angel!'

"I was so used to hearing others' views of my life that I found myself believing them," she continues. "I sat and wondered, Why do I laugh at home, but feel shamed out in the world? With my family and close friends, I am owning my past, relishing in the absurdity, slightly flinching at my own naïveté, and giving myself props for the unabashed bravery that streaked through my youth. But not trying to hide from it, not trying to change it, just allowing it to help propel me forward." 

Richie, who admits to having made some "bad decisions," writes that she's realized she can't hide from her past; in fact, she embraces it—and so should everyone else.

"I feel the need to support women loving themselves. It's by loving ourselves that we give permission to others to love us," she explains. "Life is a roller coaster, and we all have had times where we need to get back on the up, but we can't do it alone. We need each other's love and support."

Despite any embarrassing moments Richie might have faced, she's grateful that they happened on the world's stage because it helped keep her accountable.

Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, The Simple Life

Fox Broadcasting/Sam Jones

"And as much as I have to look at those moments and learn from them, as we all do, it's important for me to have gratitude for that time, too. Not shame. Being ashamed of your life is not OK," Richie writes. "I realized I am actually extremely thankful I was so beastly in front of the world for a few reasons. It's so bad in people's minds that there's nothing that can embarrass me now. I got a little surprise gift of freedom!"

She adds, "I also truly believe if I didn't have so many eyes on me, it would've been easier for me to slip back into my reckless behavior. I had people rooting me on and watching me at a time when I needed that."

More confident than ever, Richie is moving forward with an identity she creates for herself. "I've been given many titles: Wild child. Reality star. White-washed black girl. Skinny. Rich. (I guess the last two aren't so bad)," she writes. "Now, at 35, the only titles I am taking on are the ones I give myself."