Open letter to my sixteen year old self

*(Big hair was all the range in 2011, clearly)*


Hello you, it’s me

In six years time, I’m not sure if you will recognise yourself, and just know that it’s a really good thing. As I write to you now at twenty-two, I can only just remember the gaunt, self-deprecating person you used to be, and I wish this letter could of fallen on your doorstep all those years ago to remind you that everything is temporary, and one day very soon you’ll have found your feet.

Right now, in 2011, you would have just finished your GCSEs, and I cannot stress enough how unimportant that piece of paper will become to you in the years to come. Nobody, no university or employer, has ever once queried why you only got a C in Maths or Graphics, and that A* in English Literature and Media that you stayed up revising for was probably a waste of time because you only got a B in both at A-Level.

I promise you that those all-important exam results are so incredibly insignificant in the long run, and you do get to go and study Creative Writing far away from your little town in Dorset despite not believing in yourself. That’s one thing that never changes; your love of writing. So as you spend your evenings writing your first novel ‘Paper Hearts’ that makes you cringe to re-read now, just know that the intrinsic part of you that makes sense of the world through writing is still there, and she appreciates all the work you’re putting in now.

I have to bring up to elephant in the room: your weight. I’m sorry to say but spoiler alert, your weight and appearance will always be an insecurity of yours. So even though at sixteen you are just coming out the other side of your eating disorder, you will always be far too sensitive and have an unhealthy relationship with your appearance, but you are working on it. Oh and p.s, your boobs never stop growing but you’ll learn to laugh at it and even like them sometimes, and you also discover the plus sized underwear section in M&S is actually pretty jazzy.

I know right now you can’t imagine ever getting over the absence of Jade in your life. And FYI the selfish bitch is still living in Canada even though she promised to come back at eighteen. But eventually you grow more confident in yourself, and you learn to walk, live and breathe without your security blanket linking arms with you every day. She’s still your best friend in six years time, despite all the 4,368 between you. Between the two of you, you know have ten tattoos (six and a half of them are yours, you are in the process of getting one removed because you’re an idiot when you’re eighteen). And even though you don’t see her between the ages of 16 and 19, when you do it’s like no time has passed. She is still the beautiful, goofy and patient person she has always been, and you can still make each other laugh and cry all at the same time.

You make and lose lots of friends over the next six years. I know right now you think that nobody really cares about you, but you’re wrong. You are just being stubborn and choosing to sit in your room alone being unhappy because you’ve got into a Bella Swan state of mind which thankfully you grow out of, despite reading the Twilight Saga at least seven times.

One of the biggest things I want to tell you is to be nice to your parents. You don’t realise yet how incredibly lucky you are to have such laid-back, loving and unwaveringly supportive parents. But one day, you’ll stop being a brat and you’ll have an amazing relationship with your mum and dad. You’ll go and see Johnny Marr and Laura Marling and Elbow with your dad, and your mum will become your best friend, even if she does still drive you bloody mad.

You’ll spend lots of time watching all of your friends get into relationships, and you’ll think there’s something wrong with you because you haven’t found the one yet. But trust me, you are so young and naive when it comes to relationships right now, and you actually go on to meet lots of great people (and some not so great, but you are pretty fierce and determined when you think you’re right about something/someone so there’s no telling you).

Your worst heartbreaks and failures are still to come, but you get tougher and they don’t seem so bad, so keep your chin up. The main word people use to describe you in six years time is sassy, so try and remember that when somebody is trying to belittle you.

I don’t want to tell you that everything you do at sixteen is irrelevant, because of course it’s not. Everything you are doing and feeling now is helping to shape the happy, successful and silly person you are at twenty-two. But what I want to tell you is not to fret the small stuff so much. Who cares if you wore too much fake tan to your prom, and the girls you thought were you friends bitched about you behind your back? Honestly, all of high school politics becomes inconsequential in a few years, and you learn to laugh at yourself.

Be kind to yourself, and know that everything works out in the end. Channel your inner Georgia Nicolson (you still love those books now), and remember your favourite Buddha quote “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”

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