A letter to my 15-year-old self: Fee

Hello, Clare here. About a month ago we ran a piece that hit home with a lot of you. It was written by one of you….Fee to be precise, and it was full of sense, written in a style that made you feel as though you knew Fee as a close girly friend, and made us nod our heads in agreement and chuckle out loud. So you can imagine how pleased we were when Fee submitted another piece to us. And if possible, this one is even wittier, and even more full of sense.


After reading this letter, I know for sure that 15-year-old Fee and 15-year-old me would have been firm friends. In fact, I’m also sure that modern-day Fee would also be my best friend if she would just meet me in real life. Fee – you better be coming to Any Other Party, yes? Because I’m pretty sure there are going to be a lot of people who feel the same…

And if any of you are inspired to write a letter to your younger self by this – please feel free to send it in to us. We might even have a go ourselves one of these days…



Dear Fiona of 1998,

Put down that copy of ‘Smash Hits’ and read these words carefully. I have a few things to tell you and believe me, you’ll be shocked. Even more shocked than you were when your mum announced she was pregnant again a couple of years ago. It is indeed unbelievable that people over the age of 30 still ‘do it’.

At this moment in time, you have just finished your GCSEs and are eagerly awaiting starting Sixth Form where you can finally shed your bottle green school uniform (which despite what you think, does not make you look like a pond monster) and even better, have free periods where you can sit in the common room and feel very grown up.

My first piece of advice is to use this free time wisely. Although gossiping with your friends and surreptitiously smooching your boyfriend may seem like the best use of this time, it isn’t. You will realise this at 4am on a particularly panicked January night when you STILL haven’t finished your English coursework.

I know that starting your A Levels seems so monumental and makes you feel like the next few years are mapped out ahead of you – but changes can always be made. Ask yourself what the worst is that will happen if you stray off the path you’re on. The next few years will be the time to take risks, try things on for size and throw caution to the wind because one day you will have a mortgage. Oh yes, you will. And those tend to make flights of fancy trickier – trickier, but not impossible.

Now, time for some bad news. As you go through life, people will let you down. People you love and trust and currently can’t imagine your life without will purposely go out of their way to hurt you. As a result of this, you will have to find your way through difficult days, weeks and even months feeling like you are all alone, with no-one to help you find your way.

In these times, don’t give up. Take time to remember the people who love you. Look a little more carefully and you will see that you have everything you need to pull you through these times in the people who share your last name, your room and your clothes (usually without asking) – your sisters. They’re not as annoying as you think, light fingered tendencies aside.

Now, to address the issue that prays on your mind more than any other. The belief that you are a humungous, oafish brute. I’m not going to lie to you, a good blow dry and more subtle eye shadow wouldn’t go a miss. But one day, you will look back at photos of yourself and feel like crying at the time you wasted comparing yourself to every other girl in the world and wishing you looked like someone, anyone, else.

Your boyfriend may turn out to be a complete toad (sorry to break it you like this but you must surely suspect?) but he is right on one thing – you are beautiful. As you gain experience and meet more people, you will realise that the old cliché is true. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. You will use that as the excuse for several fashion experiments over the years, so start believing it. Which reminds me, those hugely expensive black suede shoes you buy in 2007? You can’t walk in them. They make you look like you’re doing the robot. Not good.

And now, a small insight to take comfort in when you are heartbroken and swearing you’ll never trust a man again. In 2001, you will meet a boy called Tom. Pay attention and remember the moment you meet him for the first time. Remember everything. Make sure you give him a chance – he will eventually stop wearing those maroon corduroy trousers (because you throw them away). And at the risk of giving too much away, ‘Are you joking?’ is not an appropriate response when someone asks you to marry them. Just thought I’d mention it so you can start working on something better.

What else can I tell you?

Double lock your front door. Always get travel insurance. Grow your hair long.

Save for a rainy day. Tell your parents you love them. Send your Nana a postcard every time you go away, even if it’s only a day trip to Brighton.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Laugh. Be brave. Most importantly, be yourself. You’ll be ok.

Love,

Fiona from 2011
(older, wiser but still a bit of a doofus)

p.s. In 2005, Take That will reform. You will have seats in the second row on their comeback tour. And you’ll be old enough to buy your own beer while you’re there. Life doesn’t get much better than that.


Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Life Experience
31 interesting thoughts on this

30 Comments

  1. Fee
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I realise that being the first person to comment on this makes me a bit of a loser but YOU INCLUDED A PICTURE OF TAKE THAT! It made me laugh out loud with glee on the bus! Fantabulous.

    Thanks for having me again xxx

  2. Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Brilliant. So many things i can relate to and i'm already writing my letter to my 15 year old self in my head! So much i want to tell her but then if she was able to hear me and did things differently maybe she wouldn't have been at that 70s disco night in 2005 and met the gorgeous Scottish man in the afro wig and bell bottoms that she now calls husband! Hmmm, maybe i'll just let her take the original path, mistakes and all!

  3. Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Fee, your writing is spot on, it has a bit of a 'Time Travellers Wife' feel about it. How awesome if we could actually jump back and give ourselves advice – although I have a feeling that might mess up the future somehow…

    Back to reality though – what a truly fab post – so much there that resonates ;)

    Have a good day everyone.

    Cx

  4. Becca
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Ummm hello. Were you AT my school? Probably not because you seem nice.

    My school years were spent eating Mars Bars in the toilet and trying to get a boy, any boy, to speak to the 15 and a half stone version of me. Seriously. No joke. I wish I could tell my 17 year old self that being the school joke and tied to chairs in the common room wasn't OK but all the work I did would pay off and that I'd do OK job wise at the end of it. I would say that my mum is always right and that those girls will end up fat themselves and working in the local supermarket (it's horrible to think about petty revenge but whatever, they deserve it….KAR.MA). I'd tell myself that one day I'd be able to fit into something a topshop and scream 'do you have these jeans in a TEN, a TEN I say'.

    I'd tell myself that I could go to university and make friends that I thought I'd never have. The type of friends that are family.

    I'd tell myself that the dick with incredible blue eyes that I met on the first day of university that lives in the room upstairs is actually pretty nice. But don't sit by the phone after he asks for your number. Look outside your window and there is a note in a shoe. He's different this one but you don't know that because he's the first boy that has ever spoken to you. You probably don't realise that seven and a half years later he'll take your breath away.

    Don't ring him at 6am in the morning-he gets really irritable.

    Fee is my new favourite girl crush and I'm so emotional I now can't go to work. Jesus AOW. What are you doing to us??!

    x

  5. Mahj
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Between Fee's post and Becca's comment above, I am a blubbering wreck that is laughing hysterically at sporadic moments!
    Today is going to be the day that I write my 15 year old self a letter.
    Fee – your PS made me laugh out loud!

    xoxo

  6. Louise
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I think my work colleagues are now convinced I'm having some sort of breakdown…first I laugh out loud and then I start blubbing! Excellent piece of writing Fee!

  7. Jean
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I am printing this out and giving it to my 15 year old niece today.

  8. Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Gosh, what would I say to my 15 year old me?

    A pensive post if ever there was one!

  9. Jessie
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I LOVE it, it's amazing Fee. And Becca – gawd isn't being a teenage girl tough! It's only knowing that we come out the other side as such fantastic, clever, together (ish) women that doesn't put me off having children for ever.

    I just want to go back and give 15 year old me an enormous hug – and tie her hands together so that she stops over plucking her eyebrows! xx

  10. Posted August 17, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Oh my god this is genius! And did I miss the first installement because I am sure as hell going to delay housework to go catch up!

    Fee it is brilliant and I can't stop thinking how amaze it would be to actually receive a letter from myself at 27 when I was 15! I would have loved that! I can however try to write myself one from my 15 year self to my 27 year old self!

    You have inspired me to do such a letter, as soon as I have put the mop down I am doing it!!! It is genius!

    p.s. Can you tell me where you lived when you were 15 cos my 15yr old self would like to be your pen pal!!!
    Alex xxx

  11. Jess
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I am lucky enough to be one of the aforementioned sisters – with the previous light fingered tendencies (sorry Fee!) I just want to say how lucky I am to read all these comments about her writing. I would love to tell you she is only this witty in her writing but im afraid, she is even more so in real life!

    The 15 year old you was an incredible person, you are even more incredible now. I am so unbelievably lucky!

    Love you Fee!

    Jessie XXXX

  12. Fee
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Wowzer – thank you so much for all the lovely comments, you really have made my day! I can't tell you how much I ADORE the AOW ladies for giving me this opportunity.

    I couldn't resist a few replies….

    Becca – I hope your schoolmates are all kicking themselves now as you are clearly having the last laugh. Wheras they are no doubt chumps to this day.

    Jean – I hope your niece gleans some wisom from my ramblings!

    Alex – I always wanted a pen pal! And my 15 year old self would no doubt have adorned the envelopes with free stickers from the aforementioned Smash Hits!

    Thank you again – you're all my new favourite people :)

  13. Posted August 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    LOVE this.

    Girls, can we have this as a series? I have a LTM15YS post itching to spill forth from my fingers!

    xxx

  14. Posted August 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I loved this, such a great idea and beautifully written piece. I feel we could all do with a little advice from our older selves, it would have perked us all up no end at age 15.

    I have been thinking about my teenage years recently as we're coming up to our 10 year school reunion. Mixed feelings really, as I expect it will be for most people who go to these kinds of things.

    Becca, your experience sounds truly horrid, I had a lump in my throat reading your comment. Even though that kind of trauma never really goes away, I'm pleased you came out the other side with a fighting spirit. So many people would have been crushed by something like that x

  15. Posted August 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Fee, look how much love everyone has for your letter! This has completely warmed my heart. I want to have a party for our 15-year-old selves, where we are ALL invited, and welcome, and made to feel loved, and get letters from our future 2011 selves and see all our faces as we realise we are not doomed to failure and a lifetime of greasy hair, after all.

    We're big fans of a mini-series here at AOW and you can submit anything you like; we are always, I repeat always, delighted to get submissions of any kind. We forward them on to each other and all do dances and squeals of glee, and then fight over who gets to post them.

    Thebabywife, if you are itching to submit, do it!

  16. Sarah M
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    What a great post. I'd have been your 15yo freind, Fee!

    I bloody hated many of my teenage years. Made some shoddy choices when I felt backed into a corner. There are so many things I could tell my younger self but if I'd have changed any of it, there's no way I'd have met my wonderful, supportive and life changing husband. He's supported me through the huge financial implications of starting up my own business and helping me beat cancer.

    All of the crapness when younger is trounced by the lovely life I have now. My 15 year old self would be proud of me now, as I am of her for getting through the tough times.

    How on earth has writing that just made me cry?! What a muppet – I've not grown out of that!

    Mrs M.

  17. Posted August 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Sarah M…you are not a muppet. Not a muppet at all. You are remarkable.

    Anna K x

  18. Posted August 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE this Fee! Although it is bringing back that horrible sick people-letting-you-down feeling. I think it took me til my mid-twenties to really learn to deal with that.

    There really is so much crap to go through, but so much amazing stuff around the corner. Makes me wonder what our 50 year old selves would write to us now…

    Px

  19. Posted August 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Haha Fee, I would have adorned mine with either stickers from horse and pony, or of Taylor from Hanson. Oh the shame is so cold.

    I have been thinking of advice for my 15yr old self all day long…I may join in the mini series, if nothing else just for the AOW ladies to read and then dance to xx

  20. Jessie
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    OOh Horse & Pony – you know, I was actually in Horse & Pony – they came and did a photo shoot of our mounted games team and the boy who fancied me at the time cut out the pictures of my jodhpur clad bottom and stuck them on his wall! Ha – my 15 seconds of fame!

    Penny – that sick feeling from people letting you down – not shaken that yet – bracing myself for it on my wedding morning. x

  21. Sarah M
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Ahhh, thanks, Anna K. I feel less of one now!

    Jessie – you'll be too excited to think anything other than just what a wonderful day it is. Best day ever!

  22. Fee
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    My 15 year old self thought I would marry Howard from Take That.

    I still sort of hope I do…. sorry Tom.

    Sarah M – I found this incredibly cathartic as I often feel quite sad thinking about myself as a teenager. It took me a long time to find the confidence to speak up for myself and realise that who I really am is the best person to be (I hope I don't sound like Jerry Springer).

    I hope you are SUPER happy now to make up for any teenage badness!

  23. Posted August 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    This is so beautifully written. AOW is definitely my favourite place on t'interweb right now!
    I've no idea what I'd say to my 15 year old self, and I really don't think she'd listen even if I did.
    Perhaps – don't cut your hair, dump him before you go to Uni, be nice to nice people and don't worry about the rest, revise more.

  24. Sarah M
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Fee! SUPER happy here and, touch wood, super healthy too.

  25. Posted August 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    To Fee and to everyone who has put a little bit of themselves out there today-THANK YOU.

    You ladies are all SO fantastic, I have no doubts that your 15 year old selves were pretty fabbo too.

    It's plain crazy that we put ourselves through what we do as teenagers. Though we can always be thankful that we're who we are today, yes?

    Love to each and every one of you x

  26. Liz H
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Hello! Despite reading AOW for months and months this is my first post on your pages, this post got me thinking
    15…its brings back memories…I remember being 'in love' with boy in the class next to mine who was a year older than me and was going out with a girl two years older than him -a sixth former no less. He occupied a lot of my mind!

    There were so many things about my life I wasn't happy about when I was 15. So I started thinking what I would change, but the more thought I gave to it the more I realised that each bit of my life -the wrong A level subjects, then then the wrong degree, the wrong boyfriend – has led me to the point I am now,which is ready to get married in exactly a month today (OMG) to a man I am wonderfully happy with!

  27. Becca
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I've not read this today because I don't want to sit and blub at work (never good). I go from thinking "I need to give my 15 year old self a good talking to" and "My 15 year old self made me me". Does that make sense? I wouldn't be the person I was NOW if it wasn't for my hellish teenage years. I would probably have met theboywhomakesmeorigami but I would have been a different person and we wouldn't have been in lurve like we are now and he wouldn't be making me origami.

    My 15 year old self was in love with Paul Nichols. There was a boy who worked in Tesco that WAS him and I used to embarass myself horribly blushing when anything vaguely female (you know what I mean) went through the tills. He didn't have a bloody clue I was alive. I saw him last time I was home and could have CRIED. He was fat and wearing some kind of shell suit top. Heart breaking.

    P.S. Fee – I went to see Take That first tour and the woman next to me said "eeeyyyyeee Pet, Jason just lurked at you". Quite possibly the best moment OF.MY.LIFE until my friend pointed out he looked across our entire row. Whatever.

  28. Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    haha I have ergo written a piece on my blog (fyi my blog is just utter nonsense most of the time,nothing at all to talk about)based on this and tis a letter to myself at various important ages.
    So Fee I know what you mean now about how cathartic it is. And thank you for inspiring me to do such a thing! You wunderbar you! xx

  29. Posted August 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Becca, I too had an unhealthy Mr Nicholls obsession when I was 15. I will share my ridiculous story if we get the chance at Any Other Party. Oh you lot are the best, I love these peachy pages x

  30. Posted August 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Becca – I am SO jealous re Jason!

One Trackback

  • By A letter from my 15-year-old self. {Penny} on February 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

    [...] this e-mail turns up in our inboxes the day of Fee’s amazeballs ‘Letter to my 15 year old self’ post. The subject line: ‘A Twist on the Theme’. There’s no preamble to the [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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