A Letter to my Younger Self (16+)

Elise,

Right now you’ve just finished your GCSE’s; your grades are amazing, your parents are so proud of you, you’ve got about two hands full of friends around you and you couldn’t be happier. You get your first ever part-time job and you love it! College or sixth form? BTEC or A-levels? Academic or creative? That’s your next decision and part of you is so excited about going to college – a fresh start somewhere new with people you’ve never met, a chance to come out of the familiar bubble you’ve been stuck in for the past five years but you end up in sixth form because your parents think it’s best. You struggle. From this point on, you’re going to underachieve and fail in ways you couldn’t have imagined, everything is about to change and you’re never going to be the same but it’s okay.

You’re seventeen now and you’re feeling grown. You’ve got more independence, more control of your life and you like it. Your friendship groups are changing but it’s nothing to worry about, you’ve still got loads of friends and you’re thriving socially. You’re about to meet your first love too and you can’t even imagine how beautifully that love story begins. Academically you’re doing your best, you think. But something doesn’t feel right. Why are you doing this? Why have you forced yourself to try and learn things you aren’t all that interested in? Why is everyone else getting better grades than you? But you don’t stop trying – you never stop trying in every aspect of your life. But now it’s getting more complicated; some of your friendships are falling apart, you and your best friend just broke up because she really hurt you. You just failed your first Psychology exam, the one subject you actually wanted to study and you’re starting to question why it’s not working out for you.

It’s the first time you’re starting to question yourself but you continue to go with the flow – you always go with the flow. Fast-forward a little and you’ve gotten through your first year of sixth form. You’re realising that the change between GCSE’s and sixth form is a lot but you’re sure it’s nothing you can’t handle, you still have good friends around you and although you may have lost a few you’ve gained some real diamonds – you just don’t know it yet. But then you turn eighteen and something happens that you’ll probably never share with the world and it changes you, forever. Because of it, you literally scrape a few marks away from failing your a-levels, your place in university hangs in the balance, everything is up in the air and it’s the first time you’ve truly felt lost. You’re so conflicted. You’ve just dealt with this huge thing that nobody knows about and God knows you’re so great at a poker face so you can’t actually explain to anyone why it’s all gone upside down. Somehow the universe is in your favour and you get into uni but all those feelings deep down of knowing that this just isn’t for you resurface but you’re in now so again, you ignore it all and go with the flow.

University was never for you and honestly, neither was sixth form but you had to go through all of that to reach the other side. You needed to develop the confidence to take control of your own life and stop following the system. You struggle through it for so long and it all gets so much harder but it’s your turning point. During this time you meet some great people but you’re not really enjoying it, you’re not taking anything from this experience academically or socially. It’s doing nothing for your soul so you still feel incomplete. You’re thinking about all the things you could be doing, all the things you would be doing if you weren’t stuck in this bubble. You’re so close to the end but then you become unwell. Mentally, there’s a void from what you’ve recently been through and you haven’t healed – you never do but we’ll get back to that. It takes a toll on you and you develop depression. You’re also diagnosed with arthritis shortly after and with everything you’re forced to leave university finally!!!! At the time it feels like the pressure of the entire world is on your shoulders and you feel like a failure but babygirl, you’re so brave. You made the choice to stand up for yourself, you listened to your inner voice and although many doubt you, you’ll prove them wrong.

At sixteen, you could have never imagined you would deal with everything you have done but you are so strong. You’re not strong because you’ve dealt with it, you’re strong because you bounce back. I worry about you sometimes because like I said, you never heal. You just move on because you never have the time to heal or find closure. At sixteen you had no idea about the woman you would grow to be, you were so shy, easily influenced and lacked confidence and individuality. So, let me tell you why this journey was so important.

Everything in the past few years builds the character you are today. The first word that comes to mind is resilient. Nothing and nobody in this world stops you. I can’t say it’s the healthiest thing but you just keep going day after day. You are your own strength and the strength for others too. You knew back then that things weren’t right but you finally listened to yourself and made the right choices. You were brave and took risks and yes there are still unresolved issues, there’s still pain in your heart and so many bad memories but this is the happiest you’ve been in so long. You’re experiencing life, meeting amazing people and it’s feeding your soul! You have the biggest heart and so often put yourself to the side for everyone else and for that reason, I feel like your purpose is to help people, but you always knew that.

The past has been hard, but it has moulded you into a beautiful woman. You accept it because you know it all happened for a reason and the beauty that has come from hurt and pain has been beyond worth it. Babygirl, this is just the beginning for you. That timid little sixteen year old now oozes with confidence, love and happiness. Now your creative juices are constantly flowing and your flourishing. Things that seemed to be out of your reach are getting closer and closer. You’ve always lived in the fantasy world in your mind, you still do but finally reality is starting to match that. I am so proud of you and I cannot wait to catch up in five years from now. Remember to always listen to your heart and trust in yourself. You’ve got this!

elisekirsten xo.

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