I saw one of my favourite bloggers, Brighton Girl Problems, write a letter to her younger self and thought it was such a great idea. I’m turning 20 this weekend and have been reminiscing on my teenage years a lot in the past month, and although I found it incredibly difficult at times, I’m really going to miss being a teenager! My younger self was wrapped up in insecurity, stress and stupidity, like so many young girls. I think I was a fairly typical teenager, I had a very normal happy upbringing in a loving family with great friends, but I definitely struggled with a lot of stuff. So here’s the things I wish I knew when I was a teenager…
To my younger self,
Firstly, just so you know, you’re doing fine. I really do remember what it was like to be you, and I know it feels like everything is the end of the world right now but I promise you, it’s going to get so much better.
Secondly, you’re not stupid: you’re just dyslexic. You’re going to learn that far too late but once you do, you’ll soon figure out that although you find a lot of things much harder than your peers, if you keep trying and learning, things will change. We even learn the difference between “you’re” and “your” at some point! So please stop getting so frustrated at yourself. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but you actually end up getting pretty good grades. You know that GCSE teacher that we hate? Just you wait until she finds out the grade you get in her subject…
Please stop telling people that you don’t want to be an actor. Seriously, no one believes you. You are going to find the world of Brighton theatre soon, and you’ve got to believe in yourself. You’re actually not too bad at the whole performing thing, so please don’t give up on it. You’ll meet someone called Mia Bird when you’re 17 and she’s going to do wonders for your self esteem. If Bird believes in you, you’ve got to do it too. (She’s also going to become your boss one day, so be nice!) Keep listening to your brother’s iPod, spend as much time as you want on YouTube and fill your brain with musicals. But for goodness sake, stop being so stubborn and admit that you want go to drama school after a gap year or two. No, you don’t want to be a midwife. Or a teacher. Or a bloody Spanish translator. You want to be an actor.
Please stop worrying about being compared to your big sister, because being like her is one of your best traits. Besides, people actually don’t compare you to her as much as you think they do, because you’re (surprisingly enough) completely different people. You may look similar and both love singing and acting, but you’re actually completely different as performers. Also, she’s going to teach you so much, especially how to be strong in the face of adversity. I know you know this, but she’s the coolest person in the world and by default, that makes you pretty cool too. (PS: one day she’s going to be close personal friends with Ricky Martin. Yes you do know who that is, he wrote “La Vida Loca”. Cool right?!)
I know you’re not going to believe me, but Mum is always right. She also knows absolutely everything. Yes, even the things you think she’d never find out. She knew months ago. You may as well just tell her that you want to go to that house party, because lying to her is going to hurt in the long run. She’s also going to look after you during the worst year of your life and it’s going to break her heart watching you fall to pieces, but she’s going to get you through it and see you through to the other side. You owe a hell of a lot to that woman, so take it easy on her. She’s actually really cool. She’s also totally okay about the tattoos you’re going to get, so don’t be an idiot and just tell her about them. She’s even going to accept your nipple piercing one day. See, I told you she’s cool! But seriously, she’s not been wrong in the 20 years that I’ve known her, so do me a favour and just listen to her for once?!
Time for some tough love: your makeup is terrible. I’m sorry, but it really is. I know you think that you look just like Avril Lavinge, but in reality you’re going to look back on pictures of yourself in years to come and cringe. You desperately need to stop using Dream Matte Mousse. It’s awful. Also, this may come as a shock to you but your eyebrows are actually dark blonde, not dark brown, as you clearly believe them to be. And for the love of god, go easy on the eyeliner. Having eyeliner up to your eyebrows might look cool now, but it’s actually a really terrible look. Oh, but we don’t get any better at putting on false eyelashes. Just get your friends to do it for you to save yourself the aggro!
Boys. They are a massive waste of your time and definitely not worth your tears. You’re going to learn that there is more to life than having a boyfriend and that they are not all they’re cracked up to be. Don’t even bother where boys are concerned, because being single is the best and you’re going to love being on your own. So stop texting that boy right now and get some sleep, because despite what you think… he’s not the one!
Yes, clubbing is just as fun as you think it’s going to be. Go to Bar Broadway as often as you please, because it’s the best bar in the world. But wherever you go out drinking, please be sensible you silly girl!
Hug Dad more often. He absolutely loves hugging you, and although you hate hugging people, it makes him really happy and seeing Dad happy is going to become incredibly important to you. And yes, he is going to keep calling you Flossie, he will continue to come up with even more stupid nicknames and songs for you, and despite your best efforts, people are going to keep telling you that they think he’s cool. But he is still just as embarrassing. Just you wait until you bring your first boyfriend home…
You know people keep telling you that your school years are the best years of your life? I know you doubt them, and you’re absolutely right to do so. The way you feel right now is completely justified because you’re not going to miss school in the slightest when you leave. Your life is going to get so much better after college. Relax. It will be the last day of year 11 before you know it. But just so you know, 4 years on, you’re still going to miss Matron. She’s pretty awesome.
Take pictures of everything. Take pictures whenever you meet up with someone. Take pictures of the rabbit and the tortoise, take pictures with our grandparents, video our nieces and nephew (YES WE DO BECOME AN AUNTIE AND IT’S THE BEST), and take pictures of every experience you have. You’ll thank me later.
Finally: yes, you are definitely going to look better when you get your braces off. Yes, you actually are going to get the piercings you want. No, Mum still doesn’t want a dog. No, do not get that stupid tattoo on your 18th birthday. Yes, wine does taste better when you’re older. No, do not smoke, it’s the stupidest thing you ever do. Yes, you are really weird, but you aren’t going to hate that one day. And no, your boobs are not going to get any bigger. (But I’m still pretty annoyed about that one too.)
Keep your head up, little me. Things are about to get better. We survived being 16, we survived being 18, and we’ve nearly made it into our twenties. That’s right, we’re going to be 20 soon. I’m just as scared as you are.
See you on the other side.
Your older self xxx
(Oh, one more thing… STOP PICKING YOUR SPOTS. Your sister in law is right: You will get acne scars. Like the ones I have now. JUST STOP IT. Promise?)
I really hope you enjoyed this slightly more personal post. I actually found some of this pretty hard to write, but I had a lot of fun pretending to speak to my stressed out, spotty and weird younger self! Let me know what you thought and as always, share it about if you liked it!