An Open Letter to 16-Year-Old Me
This has been a post that I’ve put off for about the length of time I’ve had a lifestyle blog. So give or take three years. But I’ve wanted to write an open letter to 16 year old me for a while now.
When I was sixteen, like most people, I moved into Sixth Form. I stayed at the same school and just moved up to Year 12 rather than go to College.
I chose my A Levels – History, English Literature, French and Drama, and I thought my life was going to be great.
My best friend went to College, which was definitely the best place for her to be, but I stayed behind with my large group of ‘friends’.
This is not a purposeful friends-bashing before anyone gets afraid I’m about to go on an angry rant. It’s just some things I would tell myself now if I had the chance. So…
Dear 16 Year Old Ellie,
I wanted to write you this letter to simply put some things to bed, and to advise you on some mistakes and events that have happened in your life.
Brush your hair and learn to use make-up properly
This is a very vain way to start, I know. But I hate photos of myself/you at 16 and it’s a shame as I won’t keep them.
I don’t see the point in keeping pictures that make me uncomfortable. There are a few that are fine, and my life is well documented at this point through our diaries, journals. and social media so we won’t forget what happened – good or bad. But I wish you had tried to take more care of your appearance sometimes.
Spend time with people you actually want to spend time with
You were guilty of becoming a huge introvert during your time at sixth form, the reason being coming up shortly. We lived very near to school so whenever you had a free period you would go home. You didn’t stay at school, like the others and chat and make funny memories. You went home, cooked scrambled egg on toast, and watched TV.
This was a mistake, as you could have been making great friends with new people, rather than sitting at home on your own. And there were a lot of people you wanted to get to know better and you missed your chance.
Don’t ‘date’ a boy just because your friends want you too
This is a tad complicated and very ‘high school’.
Your friends all started going out with boys called James in your first year of Sixth Form. No jokes all of them were dating a James. And they thought you were weird for not wanting to date a boy either.
Hormones, dating, and boys don’t really kick in for us until we’re about 20 years old. We’re late bloomers, or rather we just develop at our own pace.
You were fine being single. It meant you got to watch the TV you wanted, write at weekends in peace and just generally be happy in your own little bubble. Since you had never had a boyfriend before, you didn’t know what amazing things could come out of a relationship. So, you thought everyone was weird for making a fuss.
But when they found a ‘boyfriend’ for you, called James *eye roll*, you just went along with it. Because you didn’t want to be left out at break time.
He was alright, in some respects. A nice enough fella, but you had nothing in common with him. He was older than you and did not attract you in the slightest and he told you – in front of our dad – that the only reason he was dating you was because he wanted to have sex. You were sixteen.
He broke up with you over the phone, if you remember, whilst you were sat in the library, after 4 months of ‘dating’. You were so happy/relieved you did a dance and got told off by the librarian.
You thought that was literally what dating was like. So you didn’t bother trying to find another boyfriend – you didn’t want to repeat it. It was pretty crap. But because of that you may have missed out.
If you don’t like your ‘friends’, they’re not ‘friends’
We were guilty of being part of a huge group of friends who weren’t really our friends at school. We were all friends of friends and hung out together. You were friends with our best friend who was very popular – because she’s awesome – and you were always the introvert who liked writing on her lunch breaks rather than chatting.
So when our best friend left and you were left to socialise on your own, you found that you and your ‘friends’ had nothing in common and it became really uncomfortable.
Particularly when one of your ‘friends’ was actually a bully. And you were her ‘best friend’ which meant ‘main target’. There’s a long story here but I’ll simplify it…you told her you didn’t want to be friends with her anymore and she kicked off massively! She insulted you and your family, harassed you, and then got all of our ‘friends’ to ostracize you for the remaining 15 months of Sixth Form.
It was probably the worst time of your social life and it affected you hugely in terms of socialising and mental health. And the worst part is…after all of this: three years of consistent belittlement, bullying and jealousy of you at school, that girl still thinks she’s a good person.
I just feel sorry for her now.
It will get better
So like I said, Sixth Form was rough. But you did come out of it with 3 high-grade A Levels, motivation to do better than everyone who ever hurt you and to be your own person.
Now after 5 years I’ve got a degree, a good job, successful friendships and have had a fairly decent relationship with a bloke. I’m still not wholly certain what the fuss is about dating but, like I said, late-bloomer. We still like to develop at our own pace. And that’s OKAY!
I’ve also learned how to use make-up and the benefits of brushing my hair. What were you thinking!
Not only that…I have proven we do have an intellectual brain! We actually have a conscience and a no-shit policy which I readily put in force. I don’t want anyone ever abusing me/us mentally in that way again and if there’s a bad person I will tell them so! Regardless of the consequences!
16 year old me…21 year old me old is happy!