The gorgeous Steph’s Bowe’s letter to her twelve-year-old self inspired me to write my own letter. Except I was a pretty sunny, happy, carefree twelve-year-old, so this is list of things I’d say to sixteen-year-old Katie:
- You have coeliac disease. This is why your are constantly tired, crabby and nauseous. And why your face sometimes gets inexplicable red splodges. It’s okay, It’s normal. Lots of people have it. It kind of sucks but you’ll learn to manage it.
- So, um, just stop eating those tomato sauce sandwiches and pretzels, m’kay?
- Your mum and dad love you. Lots. Even though they get narky at you sometimes. They’re mostly narky because you can be a tired, crabby little cow. See above point for reason why.
- That thing that happened that night (you know the one)? Wasn’t your fault. Not even in the slightest. You’re not weak because it happened. You’re strong because you didn’t let it break you.
- Tell all those people who tell you have anorexia to sod off. You are naturally small and you have a nasty disease (see above point). They should not make you question your own motivations and sanity. They should, instead, help you to find out what’s actually wrong with you.
- Your best friends – Rache and Shel and Mel and Chlo and Jules – will still be your best friends in thirteen years’ time. So never think they actually hate you.
- Mrs Newall will, in thirteen years’ time, not remember you spilled Ribena all over her tablecloth the first time you went over there. So don’t beat yourself up about it.
- All those people who tell you Robbie Williams sucks and he won’t have a career in six months? Heh heh heh! But, um, can I tell you a secret? In thirteen years you’ll still love him but you’ll also be heavily into metal and alt country. Seriously! I know! Crazy, huh?
- Reading fantasy books up the front of the bus does not make you a loser. It will be incredibly valuable in your future career.
- Just because you’re from a small town doesn’t mean you can’t achieve big things.
- Boys will see past the fact that you are flat-chested one day (soon) and will notice you have long legs and a cute dimple and pretty eyes. Years later, the boys you thought never noticed you will admit on Facebook that they had major crushes on you. You will find this flattering but will be too in love with your beautiful husband to give it much thought at all.
- That guy that YOU had a crush on back then? He’s not so good-looking any more and he writes REALLY bad poetry. And is a bit of a tool.
- Hug your dog and your cat. They won’t be around forever.
- Stand up to that teacher who said you were too stupid to be a lawyer. Say to her, “Actually, I’m plenty smart enough. I’m smart enough to get three uni degrees, one with honours.” Say to her, “Even if I don’t become a lawyer, I am going to have a super-awesome career. Like, say, being a writer.”
- Tell your little brother you love him and that he’s awesome. As much as you can.
- It will all be okay. You are a good person. Bad stuff might happen to you. Boys will break your heart, but it will mend and be stronger. People will be mean to you, but that’s their problem, not yours. Tomorrow is always another day. Sit in sunbeams. Hug your cat. Kiss your husband on his stubbly cheek. Read a letter your dad wrote you and send your mum a text. Listen to a metal CD. Life is good.
Love, 29 year old Katie.
So that’s it. Be strong, little me!
What would you tell your younger self?