A letter to my 16 year old self
April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’ve been reading this gorgeous little book recently, thanks to my book club, called Dear Me: A Letter To My Sixteen-Year-Old Self. The foreword of my version is done by Elton John and the collaboration features letters from the likes of Jackie Collins, Yoko Ono, Rolf Harris, Jane Fonda, Lynda La Plante and Stephen Fry to name a few. Each celebrity shares their insightful advice with their younger selves; some letters are short and witty, others are long and moving. I loved the concept so after finishing the book I sat down and thought to myself, if I could send a letter to myself aged 16, what would I write in it? Of course, it’s only been just over a decade since I was 16 but with some of the intense experiences I’ve had since then, I’d like to think I have at least a few gems to share 🙂
Right now, you’re 16 years old. This is a shitty and great time of your life. I know you’ll like reading this letter (1) because you love reading and (2) because you love learning new things about yourself, so please pay attention to everything I’m about to tell you.
First of all, love your parents. This seems like a big ask I know, and there are times when this feels impossible, but your parents will be there for you unequivocally – definitely until you’re at least 28 but more than likely until they are gone from this world. As hard as it may be to believe this, you will reach a point in your life where you regret not being closer to your parents and for spending so much of your teenage years filled with hate and frustration towards them. We are all victims of victims and one day you will understand that they have suffered just as you have. The only thing that matters though is that they love you more than life, more than anyone will ever love you for the rest of your life. Stay close to them, appreciate them and tell you how much you love them at every chance you get.
Secondly, don’t try to kill yourself next year. It’s so not worth it. You will suffer through some serious bouts of depression several times in your youth; in fact, depression will probably dog you on and off for most of your life. But I’ll tell you what – you’ll get through it. You will always get through it. When the shit hits the fan next year after your boyfriend breaks up with you, you lose your job, you get kicked out of home and you become really ill, you will be at the very bottom of the bottom. You will want to throw the towel in because you will believe that you literally cannot face another day, that you’re too tired and it’s too hard and you don’t care what anyone else thinks or says or feels. You will feel like no one else understands how you feel and they won’t – except for me. I know exactly how you feel and while it is heartachingly sad – there is no question about that – you will get through it. Go to the hospital, get a really good counsellor, don’t resist medication; in fact take medication whenever you need it for as long as you need it. Accepting help doesn’t make you weak.
These are probably the two most important things I wanted to tell you – and they are important so don’t roll your eyes and think you know better than me, because I am you and no one knows you better than you.
Don’t worry too much about uni and having all the answers about what you want to do in life after you finish high school. Uni isn’t that big a deal and to be perfectly honest, you will kick ass personally and professionally without a degree. You’ve always been pretty money-oriented so go get a job, get lots of jobs, work hard and SAVE MONEY (something you’ve never been good at and probably won’t ever be, but at least I tried).
Also don’t stress too much about keeping in touch with all your friends from high school. This will seem really important to you at 16, but most friendships won’t go anywhere in the long run. You’ll grow up with fewer friends but stronger relationships with them, and you’ll despise all the people you know who have hundreds of “friends” who don’t really mean anything to them.
Something that will form a huge part of your life is men and your relationships with them, but I don’t want to say anything here that will spoil it for you! You’ll date a lot of great guys, more than a few douches and you will suffer an incredible amount of heartache because you wear your heart on your sleeve, you love being in love and you have trouble letting go of things (especially men). But you know what? Just go for it, do what you want and go with how you feel because eventually you will end up with an amazing, beautiful husband and the only way you’ll get there is through all the other boys, men and losers who make you into the woman you are when you meet him.
Sleep with as many guys as you want – don’t worry about what people think or say. If other girls call you a slut, punch them in the face because “ignoring them” won’t be as satisfying. Sex is fun! Have lots of it! Just USE CONDOMS (I know you hate them) because believe you me, you will NOT want to get pregnant (you won’t realise this until almost a decade later).
Ultimately you will have a great life and everything you do you’ll do with excellence, pride, love and determination. You’ll tell yourself all the time that you’re doing “okay” or you could have done it better but you’ve never been very good at self-love. At the risk of sounding like a Beatle, you will realise at some point that the crux of it is this – LOVE. Love yourself, love your family, love your friends and your men, love your work, love what you do in all aspects of your life. Love art, love writing, love music and coffee and running and jazz and shopping and black olives. Love everything. The more you love yourself and allow yourself to be loved by others, the better your life will be.
Final words of wisdom: try and limit your drug taking; don’t ever cut your hair super short because you’ll regret it immediately; try to curb your eating habits as early as you can because your enviable teenage metabolism won’t last beyond your early 20’s; don’t waste your time with engagement rings when you’re with Rome because it won’t end up lasting anyway; get tested for lactose intolerance; get a boob job as soon as you can afford it (they won’t get any bigger); make as much time as you possibly can for reading, writing and art; try not to cheat on your boyfriend even if he deserves it; persevere with mangoes because you will love them eventually; don’t bother buying a Pomeranian because that won’t last either and for GOD’S SAKE don’t go out for a run on the morning of 15 April 2012 because you’ll tear two ligaments in your ankle, screw up the wedding dance you’ve been rehearsing for six weeks and end up having 6+ months of physio and NO HIGH HEELS.
I know your biggest fear is being alone, but don’t be afraid because I’ll be here with you every step of the way. Don’t ever forget you are a beautiful, strong and amazing woman.
Have lots of fun, ENJOY your life and love EVERYTHING & EVERYONE as much as you possibly can.
I love you.