Letters To My Younger Self #1
It's been two years since I was you. Two long, dramatic, crazy, beautiful years. Time does fly, like you hope so desperately it will, but don't wish this time away. I know school is hard and finding friends is hard and you don't recognise yourself when you look in the mirror. But I do. I recognise every little mark on your face, every expression in those different coloured eyes that you're so embarrassed by. Your sixteenth year will be one of the hardest you will ever face.
I know you feel broken right now but over the next year you’ll find pieces of yourself in places you never thought to look. You will decide to start blogging again, to live a life worth writing about. 3 years, 5 name changes and 400 odd followers later, let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing to do so. It isn't always easy, but it is always worth it.
I just want you to remember that you are 16 years old and trying to find a place in a community so much older than you are. Embrace it. Thankfully you will soon come to realise that there are few better subjects than being young and fearless and curious and uncertain and starry-eyed and frustrated and hopeful. When you do, your world will change. You’ll discover that your greatest love in life is the touch of your pen to paper and the freedom you feel when the ink flies across the white canvas. Words will save you. They’ll help you make sense of the world, if only for a little while.
You’ll even find pieces you didn’t know were missing. But above all you’ll find the kind of happiness you could once only dream of. You're a stubborn, determined creature (something I doubt we'll ever grow out of) and that you don't give up on this dream is one of the things I'm most proud of. So don't worry, that dream you've been chasing relentlessly for the past year and a half will finally come true. There's still a long way to go, but you will get there. You will have to spend a year fundraising and at times it will feel like the hardest thing in the world, but believe me, living the dream you've been planning since you were 15 and worked towards for three years will feel amazing. India will embrace you, and while it is hard sometimes, in many ways you feel as though India is welcoming you home. You will settle into this country so much better than anyone could have ever predicted and it will be beautiful. You will grow so much, both while reaching for and after you achieve this goal.
But India is only one of the many things that will change you over the next two years. On the train back from selection, you will meet a boy. It is half six in the morning and he'll give you a tissue for your nosebleed. He is the boy who changes everything. An artistic, beautiful, exciting, adventurous, creative, poetic, thunderstorm of a boy. You fall for him in a matter of days. He is too old for you, and he has bad habits he just can't break. Despite it all you will love him endlessly, and he will love you just as much. As the seasons change, your relationship will take a lot of unexpected turns. You’ll lose yourself in loving him. You’ll fight for him until you run out of air, until you run out of hope but you’ll do it because even on your darkest days, you have a good feeling about this one.
Your need for him will grow inside you like a wild flower, thorny and imperfect, it’s destruction as addictive as its beauty. You will love him desperately, and yet something stops you from saying it aloud. You will hold back. He will ask you for three letters to make him the happiest man alive and you will give him two instead. You regret this for months afterwards, so much you don't tell anyone. For months, his name is a dark secret. You will want to yell to the whole world that once upon a time he was yours. But you won't. You won't because you need to move on from him. You have no claim to his heart anymore and it breaks you apart. But let me tell you this- the tears you lose on the train home from calling it off with him, and the words you whisper in the shower because you couldn't say them to his face, are nothing to be ashamed of. You are newly seventeen and it is more than okay to put your dreams over love, because it is what is right for you.
You’ll hate him most days for what he’s done to you, you’ll give up and you’ll give in and you’ll refuse to accept that the sparks which fly between you meant nothing. He won’t make it easy though. He will write about you in such a beautiful way, a constant reminder of the love you shared with him. He publishes these writings in a book that becomes highly successful and his popularity grows and grows until you can't help but be proud of him. You will reach out to tell him so and he in the end he stays a big part of your life, and you know you can depend on him for support always. Your heartbreak will end; on the day when you realise the friendship you share is much stronger than the love you thought you once had.
Be careful who you talk to about your pain over the next year and the people you confide in. Some of them won't believe you, and they certainly will not understand the impossible decision you will take months to make. They cannot understand the darkest parts of your mind, or maybe they just don’t want to. They cannot imagine how it feels to break it off with boy you have imagined a future with, someone you know you could love forever and as he offers it to you, realise you don't love him as much as you thought you had. They will not support your dreams as much as you have supported theirs and it will nearly break you.
You’ll learn that choosing not to settle but to chase after the dreams which keep you up at night is fearless and inspiring. You’ll learn that some “friends” are only there for the laughs and the Friday nights. They cannot handle the jagged edges. You’ll learn that your mother is a gift. She will hold your hand when you feel like you’re disappearing and you will thank the universe for her presence and her love. Family, you realise, is the most important thing in the world.
The next two years will be two of the hardest you will ever know. So it won’t be easy, this journey you’re about to embark on. There will be days when you sit in your fluffy pyjamas eating pizza and binge watching NCIS, and that’s okay. You’ll learn that you do not need others to be strong. Your strength comes from within.
16 will be a great year for you. Know that. Be fearless. Be unapologetically you. Be strong. Chase your dreams and be as stubborn as you want to be in pursuit of them. Don't let anyone stand in your way. You got this.
your future self.