Saturday, 20 July 2013

A letter to my 16 year old self

Dear 16 year old Me,

I am now 26 years old. I wanted to write to you, dear 16-year-old self, to offer you some guidance and words of wisdom that I wish that I'd known during the last ten years.

Being skinny doesn't mean you have to starve yourself, but enjoy it while it comes easily. I'm not saying you're going to be fat when you're older, but at your age, skinny comes naturally. Don't worry too much about what you're eating, your body is naturally burning it off. Keep on running but eat what you like. When you get older it's not so easy to stay slim and you don't have as much time to exercise, so enjoy eating crap while you still can little me!

You're not tortured and misunderstood. You might think that you're the only one who is really a tortured soul who struggles through every day life and is severely misunderstood, but believe me... all teenagers think that. I teach lots of teenagers, and they all think they're the only ones with problems. They all listen to sad music and cry. They all think that no one understands them. Your life is good. Don't waste time trying to be the most miserable teenager. Things will change and being sad won't seem as 'cool'.

Enjoy your family. They're not going to be around forever, and they will never be all under one roof again. Spend time with them. Don't hide yourself in your room. Spend time with your parents and let them know that you appreciate them. Value that special time. In fact, even be nice to your brother once in a while. He's not that bad.

You're actually right about a lot of things. Don't let people lead you to believe your views aren't correct. Stick to your intuition. You're right, and you're intelligent. Stand up for that. You're actually pretty funny too. However...

Question your beliefs. Are you really sure about religion? Do some reading, talk to others and question your ideas. What do intelligent people around you think? Why?

People will like you. You might not be the most popular kid in school, but it won't matter. Once you start in the outside world you will have friends of different ages and spend time with lots of different people. Even if it takes a bit of time, the vast majority of people will warm to you and think you're funny and nice. It's not about being the most attractive. It's about being confident, kind and approachable, which you are.

Things won't always be smooth and you will have a lot to deal with in the next ten years. However, you'll cope, and you'll be proud of yourself. Things definitely go wrong for us at times, but you'll have the right support at the right times. You'll be surprised how hard you can work and how many challenges you'll jump into! Enjoy being a teenager while it lasts. Oh, and don't worry. You will get a dog, (but he'll find you so stop looking)!

Lots of love,

Your 26 year old self.


Tall Slim Sally said...

Dear “Pre-Bereavement” Sally,

It is more than three years since the accident so now let me offer you some words of advice about coping with the nightmare just waiting around the corner.
Nothing to do with Mum and Dad’s fatal accident was your fault. Nothing at all and beating yourself up with a whole series of “what if’s” isn’t sensible: so please don’t do it.
Your form tutor at school wasn’t able to understand girls. Girls without problems were bad enough – orphans like you put him miles outside his comfort zone. Just ignore him a the useless person he was.
The warning bells in your head were right. You should never have gone to live with Nan and Granddad. You put yourself at the mercy of people who didn’t understand the meaning of the words compassion or empathy. Those enigmatic conversations with Mum’s sister were her trying to warn you about Granddad. Listen harder to what she is telling you.
Moving back home in year 13 was a tough call. You were brave enough to do it and to stick it out when things got really tough financially. And yes, your suspicions were dead right - Nan and Granddad were robbing you blind the whole time you were living with them.
Don’t rely on Mum and Dad’s so-called friends for practical advice or emotional support. Yes they did sometimes feel guilty about deserting you but not guilty enough to do anything about it. Develop your own support mechanisms based on people you trust.
Making yourself go to school when all you felt like doing was hiding under the duvet was 100% the right thing to do and you should be so proud of yourself for getting the grades you needed to go to university.
The weight you lost has made you a much better athlete with a body most of your friends would die for. 5ft 10.5in and 8 stone 10lbs is brilliant, not a disaster.
You will make some special friends early on in the first year of your course. All three of them will help you rebuild your life and the debt you owe them is beyond words.

Lucinda Harrington said...

Thanks for your comment, Sally. You should be proud of yourself. If only our younger selves could really read them. It's strange to look back and think how much you've learned.

william Brown said...

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