Dear 15 year old Me,
Firstly, stop TlKiN lYk DiS and declaring yourself to be ‘so random’. Also, flat hair is not a good look. Thank you. I know things are hard now, being a teenager is difficult enough as it is, but add to that bringing up your little sister, and dealing with your Mum’s depression and y’know what? You’re doing surprisingly well. And spoiler alert- It gets better! I promise.
I know you’re in your first real relationship and it consumes your every thought. This is the guy you’ll end up giving yourself to in a few weeks and forever joke that you lost your virginity to a guy missing a front tooth. I know you think this is love, and maybe in its own way it is, but it’s kinda unhealthy & breaking up with him before he proposes to you is a very good decision!
Your “Best Friends” will turn against you in the last few weeks of year 11, your longest relationship to date will come to a heart-breaking end and you will feel like giving up on everything. However, there will be one person, who has been there for you from the start, and even now, at the age of 21 (Dude! We got OLD! We never grew up though, so don’t worry!) she will still be your bestest ever friend. You’ll even live with her at one point, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Those girls aren’t friends, and they aren’t a great loss. They have spent 5 years making you feel useless, treating you like crap and ruining the confidence that you had a child. When you fall out for the last time, they spill your biggest secret onto the internet and your world almost comes crashing down.
As for Lewis, 21 year old us threw up in his car a few weeks ago, and he’s actually one of our best friends. Believe it or not, you get over him.
For a while you feel totally lost. But you go to college and follow your dreams rather than going the academic route that everyone wanted you to. You take on too much with a Btec & A levels but this will be a theme of your life and you’ll realise that being busy is how you prefer it.
You spend a few years desperate to fall in love again and in the process have your heart stomped on on a regular basis, get used to this, it’s another reoccurring theme. At college you’ll have your first lesbian experience, and the amount of time you spent at school making out with your girl-friends on trips will make perfect sense. Don’t worry! Finally, at 21, after a lot of soul-searching we have come to terms with the fact that we like boys and girls. We just have a lot of love to give, and there’s nothing wrong with this, embrace it; you’ll be so much happier!
Around your 18th birthday you fall in love. With one of your friends older brothers. 2 months later you’re living with him. You have a perfect year of being together, and you’re pretty sure it’s forever. In the second year of your relationship things go down hill fast, and you become very unhappy. Finally, and I’m super proud of you for this, you tell him things have to change, and it comes to an end. THIS IS A GOOD THING! I know you won’t believe me, in fact, it’s only very recently that I’ve been able to see it myself, but trust me.
The year following the break up is the worst. You contemplate doing some stupid things and you’re not yourself at all. You don’t eat, or sleep, and all you do is cry. It’s here that you make some stupid decisions and forget to respect yourself. You finally move out and spend a weird few months crashing on sofas and working 2 jobs for about 20 hours a day, yet never having any money. You lose yourself for a very long time, and looking back at that time scares me. But we get out, and we do it all by ourselves.
You vow to never rely on anyone else that much and spend the year before you come to uni building yourself back up.
You end up at Edge Hill, that place with the ducks, and you are very happy! You make friends that make you realise what you’ve been missing for years. You get your heart broken by an attractive Irish musician during the first week and give up on love. For now.
The worst thing that happens in your first year leaves you hating yourself and feeling like you’re worth nothing. You spend a year feeling obliged to do things that you don’t want to do and feeling like it was your fault. One day you’ll realise that maybe it wasn’t and you’ll start to campaign for other women who feel like this.
Y’know what, I wanna tell you not to make all the mistakes that you’re headed towards, 15 year old me, but actually, no, make them. Because without these mistakes, you wouldn’t be where you are right now, and trust me, the life we lead now is worth all the heartache and hardship that we’re going to put ourselves through to get here.
Things work out beautifully in the end. You finally find yourself as a visual artist and realise that dance isn’t for you. You fall in love with charity work and travelling and begin to work out who you are. And you’re not half bad!
You’re still as weird as ever, but your friends like it! You’re still as useless at fashion, but now, people think it’s a ‘style’, you pretend that this is the case. You still look awkward and weird, but you use humour to get friends, and in the end, that’s so much better. You dye your hair all colours of the rainbow with no one to tell you that dyed hair is ‘their thing’.
And you find someone in your second year that aims to fix all the broken things about you. They teach you that ‘home’ isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. And that maybe, you’re worth something. I don’t know where this goes from here, but I have a feeling it’s gonna be an adventure worth waiting for.
So 15 year old me, all the times you feel like giving up, I’m glad you don’t. You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. It might not feel like it right now, but you’ll get through this and all the crap things that happen will make for hilarious stories to tell your new friends.
Lots of love,
21 year old me.
Ps. Cutting your hair off doesn’t win him back, so please don’t do it. It’s been 2 years now and it’s still short and looks stupid.
Originally Published on VibeMedia, May 2013.