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…
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.
(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.