Tuesday, September 23, 2014

5 Things I Would Tell My 15-Year-Old Self

This is a rather delayed post. I've wanted to write a 'letter to my former self' for a long time now but keep putting it off. I suppose it's much more difficult to write something so personal, something that brings back a whole load of emotions and memories, than just your everyday photo diary or outfit post. Although I am only 18 I have changed significantly since I was 15 and I guess by writing this, I've been able to reflect on how exactly I've grown, and that maybe I'm proud of who I am today, and the person I've become.

So, long introduction over, I recommend you go make yourself a tea if you haven't already got one, and maybe a biscuit for dipping too, and prepare yourself for a rather long, heartfelt post.

Stop caring
Easier said than done, right? You’re so incredibly self-conscious of yourself, others opinions and how you are seen by the world. Please, please take a step back and realise it doesn’t matter. It would be lying to say teenage girls don’t make nasty comments, but who cares?! I mean, really, doesn’t it show more about them if they’re saying mean things and spreading gossip. After a week, no one cares, everybody has forgotten. You are the only one holding on to that memory which you find so embarrassing yet no one else remembers. You’re doing yourself more damage than good by thinking about all the times you may have said or done something ‘not cool’ – but really you were just being you.

Appreciate mum and dad more
‘How was school Shona?’ ‘Fine’. ‘What did you get up to?’ ‘Nothing much’. Sound familiar? You’re a pro at small talk with the parents. How was your day? Did you do any experiments in chemistry? Did you learn a new tense in Spanish? Did you complete the entire maths task, and get all the answers right? Tell them – they want to know!! They’re tired too, probably even more so. With incredibly stressful work lives the last thing they want is to come home after a long day in the office to a daughter who doesn’t want to speak to them and spends her free time hibernating in her room. In a few years you’ll be moving out and wishing that you spent more time with your parents. Stick your nose up less, and hug them more. It really will brighten mum and dads day if they come home from work to find you downstairs, asking them how their day way. Studies suggest that making others happy, increases your own happiness – I suggest you try it.

Smile more
Far too often you’re blank-faced, conforming sub-consciously to the teenage stereotype that is ‘be moody, act careless and do what everybody else is doing’.  Did you know it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown? Oh how I wish I could just run back and tell you to loosen up, smile and enjoy life. It’s way too short. Just do whatever the hell you want and never forget that your main priority in life is to make yourself happy. That’s all, happiness. People laugh and joke about ‘the meaning of life’ but for me, us, I think that is to be happy. What is life without it?  You always settle for mediocre and you’ll be pleased to know that doesn’t last forever. After years of crappiness you really do come out the other end happier than ever. You smile all the time, non-stop – whether it is to your family (yes, even your brothers!), strangers in the street or yourself in the mirror. I hope it gives you comfort that whilst you’ve still got a few years left of this difficult phase, its worthwhile.

Speak out
It’s almost as if your lips are glued together. You literally keep so much in and don’t tell a soul anything, and I beg you to open up more. It’s draining to bottle everything up; it makes you feel so alone and I promise you it’s incredibly unhealthy to just keep all them thoughts swarming around in your head. You’re really torturing yourself, aren’t you? All this hatred you throw around towards yourself. I’m not saying hold a family meeting and splurge all the ins and outs of your life to mum (although this will happen one day), but if you’re having a bad day, tell someone. It’s like a massive weight has been taken off your shoulders when you are able to breathe and share some of them bottled up thoughts with someone. I promise you not everyone is the highly-judgemental person you believe them to be, and you’ll soon realise that everyone has had to battle through a bad time in their life at some point or another – you’re not the only one.

Be Shona
My favourite ‘ending’ to the story, shall we say (the story being the not-so-nice teenage years), is in a few years, you are you. I mean absolutely 101% unapologetically Shona. You are not ashamed of yourself in the slightest, you are able to recognise a handful of amazing friends and you do not hide a thing from them, or anyone. It’s refreshing, it really is. If I have any regret, it would be that I wish you had peeled off the mask earlier.  If you just learn to love yourself, you’ll realise that all of this self-doubt and criticism comes from within, no one else. You know you hate spending your Saturdays at that dance class and that you don’t feel comfortable chasing boys like all the other girls, and what you really love is Hannah Montana and Mario Kart – and that’s okay. In fact it’s GREAT. When you can’t help but think that everyone around you is acting too old for their age, you’re right. Stay young, stay you. Stay fun, Stay Shona.

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