Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Dear Young One

Some photos of the younger me

When I am in a writer’s block I often search for exercises in order to get my creativity going. I frequently stumble across the ‘write a letter to your past self’ exercise.
I’d done something like this in high school once and thought it was kind of ridiculous. One: who in their right mind is going to be brutally honest in regards to their recent experiences on a piece of paper that their teacher is going to read and two: what have we possibly learnt other than Trigonometry and the social and economic consequences post World War One?

But then I thought I’d give it a shot, hearing that it was a form of healing, but also a conclusion to what you have learnt. I did it, and I must say that I feel better, knowing that the times in my life I didn’t so much as appreciate or like served its purpose of helping me to grow and learn.

So, here is my letter to the young teenager who was once me.

Dear the Adolescent Me,

I hope that Blair Waldorf phase is done and dusted by now. You didn’t suit her much anyway; you’re far too nice. But I know now where you’re obsession with her derived from.
Most people in your grade who had the same interest in the show would have loved to have been Serena Van Der Woodsen; but not you – you wanted to be the Bitch.
I realize now that Blair was controlling and manipulative; exercising her power over people because she had quite little control over her own life.
Similarly, your own father was never around, quite like Blair’s father who left his family for another man. Not quite the same circumstances but similar ballpoint. And it hurt that your father put effort into seeing his other children and never you, despite your attempts. And you feel like he doesn’t care about you but instead you are just a burden that he is obliged to see every few months or so. It will drive you mad that the people around you will make excuses for him and will never understand. ‘At least he’s around’, they’ll say, if they called that ‘being around’.

You’ll hold on to this anger for a long time. A long time and you’ll bottle it up and express it at the worst of times. But if I can tell you do anything differently, it is to forgive. We all have our reasons and issues and it wasn’t what you wanted and it hurt but that’s okay. It happens. It's okay.

The girls at school are probably being mean to you. Well, not directly mean to you, but about you and rumours that aren’t true will go around and people will judge you on things you never did. Perhaps a punch in the face would be better?
So you’ll withdraw and stay on the outskirts, crushing on boys from afar and sticking to your small social group that you won’t be allowed to see very much out of school due to your strict household.
Nickelodeon is probably still your best friend during this time due to your lack of social life. But overall you consider yourself quite happy for now.

Something will happen and you’ll start getting noticed. The sudden loss of weight perhaps? Which we know was caused by the insecurities lead on from your family who consistently comment on your large behind and the occasional seconds at dinner you will get.
You won’t consume anything more than half your dinner and an iced coffee for the next couple years. But its worth it you think. The stomach cramps. The tiredness. At least you’re pretty, you think.

However, suddenly getting noticed by the people around you and in the year above won’t go down well with many people. You’ll be judged more intensely now, comments about you won’t be rare and even one of your close friends will react by joining in and confessing your secret insecurities.
You’ll find that reading books during your lunch break or sitting in the Art Room is more preferable. At least in your head and in Art any of your ideas, including starting a blog for instance, won’t be laughed at or shut down.
You’ll cry during a lunch break from the boys talking about your blog, laughing and mocking your attempts at fundraising. But you will come up with another name, hide your identity and go through with it. It won’t be much, but keep it up and in a few years you’ll be exceptionally happy with some of the responses.

I wish I could tell you that high school will not define your life. But most of all, I want to say that those who upset you, caused you to cry and withdraw are not all necessarily bad people. They were just as confused as you were, but their different tendencies and their talent at fitting in meant they had more friends, more power, and so while they were confused about themselves, insecure on who they were, and hiding want went on at home, they took it out on the weak. Perhaps they wanted to see the insecurity and confusion on the faces of others in order to distract them from their own.

But school isn’t the main thing I want to talk to you about. School was easy compared to what will await you after.

Don’t ever change for someone else, no matter how much you think you may love them and how much of a distraction they provided you with from everything, including yourself. Don’t let go of everything around you for one other person. But most importantly, don’t lose yourself.
But you will. Oh, how you will.
And it will be a dark time. And sometimes you will see things that aren’t even there. And you will be terrified. And you will blame every problem with your life on everything else. In denial – even delusional.
So, firstly, it will get better. It will take a long time and you’ll give up sometimes but sometimes you’ll also have a lot of hope.
Secondly, every problem and every answer that you will find was within yourself. And the sooner you realize that you can’t blame anything or anyone else, the better you will be.

But on a bright note, young one, you will be happy. In five years from now you will see the world differently; more positively and with more understanding. You’ll finally feel as if you have control over your life and it will be a great feeling.
And you will be with someone amazing. Don’t take him for granted.


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