I was reading a magazine in my lunch break at work today and it contained an article about writing a letter to yourself (retrospectively) at important ages or moments in your life. It had various celebrities and sports stars penning letters to their awkward or ugly-duckling selves. It would be nice if you could do this – go back in time and offer words of comfort and support or maybe even give your struggling, apathetic self a kick up the backside that would jump-start their enthusiasm for life. If only! I can think of various times in my life when I just needed someone to tell me it was all going to be ok, or, at least, that sometimes things wouldn’t be ok but that I would be strong enough to get through it.
Fourteen was a tough year. I was chubby and unfashionable, couldn’t do a thing with my hair (wasn’t sure I wanted to), had crazy hormones that made me cry at the drop of a hat or lash out at unsuspecting family members (usually my elder brother – the two of us never fought until the year I turned fourteen and he, seventeen), I was self-conscious and klutzy, socially awkward and prone to day dreaming about my favourite pop stars or movie actors. I hated high school, missed my primary school friends and was tormented by an unrequited love that had been going on for several years.
I look back at photos of myself at that age and cringe. I am embarrassed that that weird-looking, sour-faced and obviously uncomfortable-in-her-own-skin girl was me. I am no beauty queen now, believe you me, but I have “grown” into myself. I don’t think you truly become who you’re going to be until you’re at least 30 – I’m 39 now and still have a long way to go – before that you’re just trying on different personas and attitudes for size, seeing what fits and what works for you. I am still socially awkward and klutzy and still don’t consider myself attractive at all (self-esteem, I’m working on it!) but I’ve made it through life, much more than I ever thought I would. So what would I tell myself, if I could go back in time?
1. You’re right about Milli Vanilli.
2. One day, the popular girls who laughed at you will be fat, married to some jerk from high school and will display terrible spelling & grammar on Facebook posts. You will laugh at them.
3. Your best friend will always love you and be there for you. Through boyfriends, marriages, new jobs and children, she will always think you are awesome – no matter what.
4. You WILL have a boyfriend one day. He won’t be Johnny Depp (sorry) but he will be the next best thing.
5. Jobs will come and go. Keep trying to find the one that makes you happy. That doesn’t necessarily mean the one that pays the most. Or has the cutest boss. Or the best uniform.
6. Always try to see the best in people. 99.99999% of people are actually pretty nice. Try to treat others how you would like to be treated yourself. Karma is alive and well and will be with you through all your days.
7. Your family are awesome. Nuts, yes, annoying at times, certainly from another planet but absolutely awesome.
8. Hug your Mum. Tell her you love her on a daily basis. She loves you more than anything and is always in your corner. You can’t disappoint her.
9. Men are not all terrible and untrustworthy. You can trust many of them and even have them as lifelong friends.
10. Believe in your dreams and dream big. Don’t let life knock them out of you. The teacher in primary school who told you you couldn’t fly was an idiot. Who says that to a 10 year old?
I’d like to go back in time and give myself a hug and maybe a good dose of self-confidence. Mostly I would just tell me that I’m ok. That being different is a good thing and that having a big heart means more than anything. I would also probably hang on to some of those daggy fashions because, boy, I could sell them now and make a fortune!
Give your inner fourteen-year-old a hug today and forgive them for being a bit of a dork. Because even dorks grow up to be adults one day and maybe, just maybe, that dork has turned out to be a pretty cool person 🙂