On my 21st birthday- A letter to my 14 year old self

March 09, 2016

My fourteen-year old self,

I hope you’re enjoying those chocolate selection boxes that you got for the 100% attendance and the five extra merit pages, because believe you me, nobody else will congratulate you for them after school. Having no detentions? Yeah, nobody gives a shit about that either. In a few years, you’ll feel silly for running around doing everything you can to be golden girl. In fact, in a few years you’ll make a New Year's resolution to tell people to fuck off more often, because life’s too short to try and please everybody. Nobody is going to like you for being the best- but who needs their love anyway? (Insert sassy woman emoji) Be the best at what you do because it makes you happy, don’t conform to everybody else’s expectations.

There are some genuinely nice people out there, but you will have to dig deep in the barrel and fish around. At the age of sixteen, you’ll be voted by your peers as Prom Queen and you’ll spend too long a while wondering if you were the punchline of a cruel joke. They were being nice (I believe), alas try not to see the worst in everybody (nor in yourself). People are bastards, of course they are, but not everybody has an ulterior motive- it’ll serve you well to look for the best in people. You’ll tread an unhappy and lonely path otherwise. An extremely important thing to remember- you’ll learn the hard way that instinct usually proves right, so if you meet somebody and at first they seem like a knob-head, it’s probably because they are.

At 14, nobody would describe you as the shy and retiring type. Your love of drama, dancing and all round being in the spotlight makes for a confident little missy. Of course, you’re hardly destined to be the next Beyoncé- your inability to hold a tune and A-level drama is to thank for that- but you will be a lifelong attention seeker- that, I can guarantee. What I’m trying to say is that confidence is something so precious and important, that it’s vital clasp it with both hands. Somebody very close and important to you will tell you soon- and not just on one occasion- that your confidence is intimidating and unfortunately, it will knock you down a peg or two. You didn’t need to take that blow. Illegitimi non carborundum will become your mantra and rightfully so.

Take that confidence and run with it, flee from the stuffy hot air being breathed on you and do anything that you put your mind to. It’s that very confidence that will take you across the globe- from working at McDonald’s to running a bar in the Dordogne at the age of 20, from a paper round to teaching English in a Spanish Primary school. It’s that confidence that will give you the strength to carry on with your studies, even when you don’t get into the university of your dreams. Nobody ever got anywhere from shying away. With that confidence comes strength that will get you through the most trying times, and will allow you to lick your wounds and pick yourself up. Do not be ashamed of your personality, ever.

The biggest nugget of wisdom that you'll learn before the age of twenty is that life may start in Derby, but it shouldn't have to end there. Your concrete plans of following in your inspiring Mum's footsteps of becoming a teacher will soon be thrown out the window. Give it two years, and as a consequence of a short break in a now ex-relationship, you'll flee to France for a summer and life will never be the same again. You'll realise that there is no going back to Porpoise Spit. You'll take a great, juicy bite of adventure and will forever be greedy for more. You will spend Thursday nights drinking €2 wine and vomiting whilst on reception duty the next day, you will stay up to 4 a.m to watch meteor showers in the middle of the Loire and you will kiss and fall in love with beautiful foreigners. Life can be so much more than you could ever imagine right now; stop limiting yourself.

Consequently, you will meet people from all different walks of life. As the naïve young traveler, you'll quickly learn that some people have beauty written all over them, their celestial features screaming perfection but others will help you to understand what makes a good soul; their personalities will shine through their face and you will reassess your idea of beauty. Rather quickly, you'll leave behind your bitchy demeanour and stop judging others- believe me, it'll be one of the best things you'll do. Because of this, you'll go on to make the most incredible connections and relationships. Not all the friends you have now will go on to be your friends for life. School will become the only mutual factor for you and soon that will come to an end. Give it a few years and you'll have friends sprinkled across the globe and despite the distance, they'll become your crutches at any hour you need (the different time zones can be an advantage, trust me.) Whilst some friendships may last the tests of time, others won't but that's okay. Accept that some things are shooting stars, spectacular moments of light in the heavens never to be neither heard of, nor seen again.

On a final note- the person you insist you hate right now will go on to become your best friend in the world. Your big sister, Beth, is looking out for you all the time, even when she’s throwing all of your belongings off the floor and onto your bed. (You are an embarrassingly messy cow, but you won’t sort that for a good few years). She’ll drive you absolutely crazy, and she’s the biggest gob-shite that you’ll meet but you’ll be pining for her raucous cackle and boisterous manner from time to time. It may not seem like it now, but she’ll grow up to be your biggest fan. In fact, your whole family are going to offer you the emotional support that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

The future is going to hit you like a train; soon you’ll be heading of to university and wishing you were being spoon-fed again at school. Invest in a good skin cleansing routine; put that chocolate bar down; learn and preach your politics; watch horror movies in the dark with friends; don't dabble with drugs (your addictive personality won't cope with that); be on your own team; stand up for what you believe; stay up to watch the sunset; complete all those notebooks you buy; Mum is irritatingly always right- and she loves you very much. You're going to have so much fun learning the above lessons and making memories that last a life time. You are so loved, Mayah, remember that and you’ll do just fine. 


Your (almost) 21-year old self.

P.s being drunk is actually really fun- so lower your nose a little. 
1 comment on "On my 21st birthday- A letter to my 14 year old self"
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