Recently I’ve been thinking about my life. I think as you get older you tend to reflect more.
So much has happened since that moment I became a teenager. I’d love to go back and tell that girl how it all turns out.
I’ve always been someone who fights the urge to read the last page of the novel first. A time machine isn’t possible so instead I will write this letter to my thirteen-year-old self.
A Letter to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self
Dear Thirteen-Year-Old Me,
Don’t freak out. You make it into your forties and then you write a letter to yourself.
Yes, I know. Getting to 40 is incredibly old. When you get there, I promise it will still feel like you’re young. There will be some wrinkles and saggy bits (sorry about that) but in your mind, you’ll still feel like you’ve got so much more living to do.
On the note of physical changes please take the following advice.
Do not eat your feelings. Comfort eating will do you no favours. Put that cake down right now. You’ll regret it eleventy billion cakes later when the cellulite is clinging to your thighs, you have a double tummy, and your bum enters the room minutes after the front of you.
Use face cream as soon as possible. Be thankful you did. Our skin isn’t too shabby for our age right now. It may be the one thing you’re physically grateful for.
Keep up the exercise routine. Start running now so your poor older body doesn’t bitch and moan about taking up running in her forties. Your knees and legs will thank you for it.
Whatever happens to your body be grateful you have one. It does its best.
It’s Not All for You to Know
I expect you want me to dish the goss about all the juicy things that happen to you. I’ll enlighten you with some things but I don’t want to ruin the pleasure of discovery for you.
There are things that have happened that I cannot wait for you to discover for yourself, so stop asking!
I know you will spend a stupid amount of time sweating it out over things that one day won’t matter. Call me a masochist but you learn a lot from waiting for something.
Okay, one little secret for you. You do get to go out with him and he will be the one you share your first kiss with. I’m too excited for you not to share. Enjoy it. It will be a bit weird but you’ll grin like a fool.
You Are More Than Enough
It’s the 1990s and you’re surrounded by supermodels, older glamorous women, and other girls who seem to be better than you. It is all an illusion.
Everyone has their own struggles. Everyone has their own doubts. Yes, even those girls and women who are immensely popular. Yes, even those girls at school that have boys following them around everywhere.
You are more than enough.
You’re smart. Don’t be ashamed of that. Having intelligence will take you places. The right people will appreciate it even if it feels like those closest to you don’t value it so much.
The puppy fat has gone, now try to believe that. Take a realistic look at your body.
You are no longer the tomboy in dungarees, amazing as she was. You’re in that strange place in between. You will make it through.
You have good friends. Some of them you will still know in the future through computers. Really!
I know it sounds like an exaggerated sci-fi novel but you will rediscover all those people from school you’d probably rather forget at the click of a button. It sounds ridiculous to you right now, considering you don’t even go near computers. Trust me.
Also take my advice and have fun NOT getting reacquainted with some of those idiots. You’ll know who I mean.
Enjoy Being Your Age
Don’t be so desperate to grow up. I know it’s hard because you have an older sister and two older brothers. You want to have the freedom they have.
Don’t wish your life away.
Enjoy where you are now. You will never be this age again and I promise you this isn’t a bad age to be.
Experiment with clothes, make-up, and jewellery. Have fun creating new looks but don’t try to be an adult right now.
In a few years’ time you will find yourself going down a path where you’re trying too hard to gain your freedom. You’ll make dubious choices. You’ll probably still make them even though I’ve warned you.
You will become part of a tribe and culture that will stay in your memory. There will be good times but people will show themselves as wolves. Keep yourself safe.
Learn to Like Yourself
I’m sorry to tell you that as an adult you will struggle with your self-esteem. In fact, you’ll have less self-esteem than you have now.
Enjoy being with your friends. They like you and that’s because you’re a likeable human being.
Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself that you’re a good person. No, you haven’t become a weird hippy. I want you to start accepting yourself now so your future self can be spared a lot of pain.
Sorry, younger me, there will be times when your lack of love for yourself will be painful. I have good news though. You will start to gain some of that liking back. Getting older will be good for you, horrific as it sounds now.
Remember, you are a great person. I should know. I know you better than anyone else.
Trust Me and Just Do This
Tell your mum you love her. Don’t think you can’t because you’re in the sort of family that doesn’t say it to each other.
Trust me. Tell her you love her often and show her you mean it. You may fall out because you’re both stubborn but let that go.
Please, if you don’t do anything else, spend this time and the years to come telling her how much you care.
Have No Regrets
You will do some spectacularly stupid things. You will make some mistakes that will have repercussions. You will wish they’d never happened. One day you will learn not to regret them.
You will become a tough, bad ass woman who will not live with regrets.
You won’t even regret the stupid boyfriends you had. Yes, really. Boys and men will like you. There will be many that you wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire but don’t regret them.
Those shitheads (you can deal with a bit of fruity language) will show you how amazing that one, decent being is. I’ll leave you to figure out what that means.
You often feel different from other people. Your emotions are deep and you feel intensely. This will be a burden and a bonus.
It won’t be your fault if the emotions turn to darkness.
You will have times when you’ll want to close your eyes and not wake up. I promise you, younger one, it will pass. I will not lie and say it’s going to be easy but you will have brighter days too.
Never let anyone make you feel that having an illness is your fault. It happened to you. You did not happen to it.
Enjoy the better days. There will be more than bad ones even though it may not always feel like that.
Enjoy being you. You’re bloody wonderful and it was a privilege to know you.
With much love,
Older Lisa. xxx
Over to You
What advice would you give to your thirteen-year-old self?