Dear 16 Year Old Me…
Where do I begin? How do I even start to tell you all the things that you will experience in the coming years; nothing is as you thought it would be: you didn’t marry the guy of your dreams, you didn’t continue with what you thought your vocation is, your family is about to break, and everything that you think you know… you really don’t.
It’s been ten years since your fabulous sweet sixteenth. You will have felt so rebellious and cool, walking the dangerous streets of The Vale; trying to break into the cemetery and being all-round “bad-ass”. How far you’ve come since then!
Here are some things you’re going to learn over the coming years:
1. You’re stronger than you think
Life is going to happen and drama is going to follow you for a while. There are going to be trying times ahead; parental divorce, the worst kind of heartbreak, loss of friendships, a loss of purpose… And, believe it or not, you overcome every single one of these dilemmas, stronger and better prepared for the one that follows. Don’t expect Life to give you a break – instead, rise up to the challenge. Face that storm! They never last forever. You’re going to get a tattoo on your ribcage when you’re 23 that says “Without struggle, there is no progress”. How true that statement is. Hold onto that idea. Every supposed obstacle that comes your way is just a test of your strength of character and you are amazing enough to conquer them.
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
2. Heartbreak is coming your way… And it’s ok
Man, oh man… You have one hell of a rollercoaster ride when it comes to love. You’re going to experience a lot of it and with people you would least expect! But it’s not going to last (as of yet, at least) and that’s alright. You’re going to hurt and try to run away from it. Don’t! You must feel the pain; process it, learn from it and then let it go. Don’t let it damage you forever because your soul is too beautiful to not shine at its full potential. Let yourself love and be loved! Don’t shy away from it, but when it’s over be thankful for the experiences instead of poisoning yourself with the pain. Heartbreak was your catalyst to lead the amazing life you will have 10 years from now.
The heart was made to be broken.
3. Loving yourself is the hardest thing you’ll learn to do
Sometimes love comes and goes; romances dwindle, friendships take a backseat, family ties break… And all that remains is you. You’re going to have to learn how to enjoy your own company – being alone with your thoughts and not speak in an ugly manner. None of this “why me” “I’m worthless” “I’m fat” bullshit. People always say that if you can’t love yourself, how do you expect to love others. I whole-heartedly disagree with this statement. It’s super easy to love others. However, it’s extremely difficult to truly love yourself, flaws and all. There are going to be times when your mind is your worst enemy. But watch, you’ll get to a point where you enjoy your own company. Don’t fall into the trap of needing to be in a relationship just to feel valued. You value yourself first. Because when nothing is left, can you survive who you are?
Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.
4. Friends are Life’s gift to you
You won’t realise until about your mid-twenties what an absolute necessity it is to have friends that support you without judgement or shame. And you are lucky enough to have them. You’ve always considered yourself to be more comfortable hanging around with the guys but friendships with girls are going to change your life; friends from home and those from abroad. Some friendships won’t last that long but they’ll suit their purpose – you know the saying, for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Be grateful that you have quite a few of those lifetime ones that accept your hippy self!
That’s when I realized what a true friend was. Someone who would always love you—the imperfect you, the confused you, the wrong you—because that is what people are supposed to do.
R. J. L
5. You can always start again
You used to think that you were running away from things, and maybe you were. But pain doesn’t disappear and you can’t hide from yourself. Sometimes, however, you can just begin again. That’s the beauty of life. You get to restart your life every single day when you wake up. You get to change jobs and cities. You get to re-evaluate your priorities and realise that what you thought you wanted doesn’t make you happy, and the best part is that you can start from scratch. The OCD in you completely rejects the idea but have a little faith… Adventure, renewal and sense of self is out there 🙂
You don’t know how much that shit will haunt you until it just does. Bad news is, as far as I can see, there’s no real way to pretend it never happened. Good news is that you can always hit the reset button.
Shameless – tv series
6. You can’t hide from yourself forever
You are who you are. And you’re going to come to the realisation that you don’t like parts of yourself. Stop hiding from it. Stop making excuses for your actions. Stop blaming it on the baggage that you’re carrying around. You can’t hide from your true being. Eventually you’ll catch up to yourself. You can’t hide from your own vulnerability. We put up a mask to show others what we can’t face about ourselves, but it’s in accepting who are (the good and the bad in us) that we truly become ourselves. You’ll realise this. It’ll be difficult to keep up but don’t ever forget that you are more than the parts of yourself that you hide, even from yourself.
Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.
7. Family can’t break; it’s malleable
Family automatically means drama and boy, are you in for some intense life moments to come. Your little family is going to bend out of shape; there’s no other way to put it. For the longest time you’re going to have the weight of the world on your shoulders and dark days are ahead of you and your loved ones. Good news is that nature has a natural remedy for repairing things. It’s this wonderful thing called time. Sometimes bonds break; that’s just how the cookie crumbles, but life wouldn’t be balanced if there wasn’t some yin to the yang – new relationships are going to form and you’re going to notice that your family (albeit a bit mismatched in comparison to the original set pieces) is larger and stronger than ever. Have a little trust, understanding and forgiveness for those you consider your tribe.
I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching–they are your family.
8. Learn to let go
Every single moment is a little stone in this bag that you carry for life. We usually drop the unimportant ones and hold onto the more significant ones. But just like when you hold your arms out at shoulder length for a long time, what seems quite bearable to begin with can weigh you down until you cannot cope with the burden of it and collapse. Drop those stones. You have many more to pick up as life goes on.
Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.
9. Communication Communication Communication
Doesn’t that little saying a ring a bell… Although he never lived up to his expectation of his own motto, it’s been instilled in you to always say how you feel; to talk about what’s going on in your head and heart. People rarely like it; they don’t know what to do with raw emotion. Generally speaking, it can be quite an uncomfortable experience because not everyone is in touch with their feelings. People are going to close their ears to you or run in the opposite direction. Fuck them! You stay honest and open, no matter how people react, because it makes you you. Never be afraid of saying how you feel because you don’t want those icky feels stewing inside of you turning to filth in your heart. Communicate – whether it’s good or bad; both!
Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.
10. Be brave
There is nothing as terrifying as facing your own demons and doubts. Be brave, little soul. You faced them head on and came out the other side far stronger than you could ever imagine. Courage, Dear Heart.
Taking no chances means wasting your dreams…
There are so many adventures and anecdotes, memories and lessons ahead of 16-year-old you, but you’re more than well-equipped to handle every plot twist that comes your way. 10 years from now literally everything that you thought was important really isn’t, everything fades except friends and family. You won’t realise it for many years but you are worth your weight in gold. And don’t worry… you got dis.
Sending you all my love,
Aurelia (aged 26)