What I would tell my 16 year old self


At 16 you are at the beginning of adulthood, finding your identity and trying to work out what you want to do with your life.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster of excitement, nerves, fear and uncertainty.  It’s the best year of your life, completing your GCSE’s, looking forward to prom and having the LONGEST summer ever before embarking on your next chapter. 

Throughout school, I matured very quickly, both physically and mentally and always felt as though I was ahead of my peers on the scale of maturity.  At 16 I remember thinking I was so grown up and knew everything there was to know about everything. Despite this, I was shy, reserved and lacked confidence.  I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life which scared the hell outta me and put so much pressure on myself to have everything figured out. 

This pressure continued through to my early adulthood and only now, 6 years on,  at the humble age of 22 is the pressure finally starting to ease off.  What I’m basically trying to say is that if you are 16 years old, reading this post and totally relating to everything I’ve said above, please know that things get better.  Trust me! It sounds so cliché to say but just like a fine wine, things do get better with age.  I couldn’t tell you why, I don’t honestly know, it’s like the things that you used to worry about gradually float away with age.  Now I know what you are probably thinking - ‘easy for her to say’ - right?  I used to agree with you until I grew up and realised that everyone who used to say it to me were so right.

Anyway, I’m rambling now so let’s get into the nitty gritty of this post.  I have compiled a list of ‘things I would tell my 16 year old self’.  I hope that you find this list relatable, encouraging and that it inspires you to just enjoy yourself. You’re only 16 once!

Stop caring about what everybody else thinks
I mention this one first for a reason as I believe it is the most important.  When you are constantly worrying about what everybody else thinks, you forget to be you.  This will do you no favours when trying to determine who you are and what you were put on this earth to do (i.e. your identity). 

Unfortunately, it is something we all as humans do worry about – it’s normal.  But what isn’t normal is allowing the thoughts and opinions of other’s tarnish your view of yourself.  You are one of a kind and nobody should make you feel otherwise!  What matters is how we choose to let it affect us, I try to always remind myself that the ‘people who matter won’t care and the people who care won’t matter’ and the saying is so true.  There will only ever be one you and that is a very precious gift so be you, bold, brassy and sassy and live your life to the fullest.  If you don’t, you’ll look back in years to come and regret it.

Stop comparing yourself
As I mentioned earlier, I matured very fast and with this came stretchmarks – in particular on my boobs, stomach and thighs.   I remember the first time I noticed the dreaded little silvery pink lines on my body and I honestly thought my life was over.  I would compare my body to that of my friends and to celebrities in magazines and because my body was so different to theirs, I convinced myself that I had something wrong with me.  I could never wear a bikini again and what guy would fancy anybody who has stretchmarks?!  Wrong. Oh so laughably wrong!  The only time anybody has mentioned anything about my stretch marks is when my mum’s ex partners’ son (age 10) asked me if I had been scratched by a tiger which was pretty hilarious.  I now wear these tiger stripes with pride!

Following on from my previous message, there is only one you so embrace you! Flaws and all you are enough and you don’t need to compare yourself to nobody gurl!

Take a break from social media
Instagram – the playground for comparison!  None of it is real.  Well technically it is but what people choose to post on there are super imposed, glossy, photoshopped versions of their life.  We live in a society that likes to show off this façade of a perfect life where the sun shines everyday, nobody works (or ‘work’ is speaking to a camera in your bedroom and uploading the video onto Youtube) but yet have money to afford to travel the world and buy the latest Louis Vuitton handbag or Range Rover Evoke and post all the pictures on Instagram to prove it to their thousands of followers. 

Thankfully, when I was 16 I was just about transitioning from Bebo to Facebook and the closest thing to Snapchat was Blackberry Messenger so I haven’t felt the enormous image centred pressure that I know the majority of young people face today.  But I do know that taking a break from social media and learning to use it purely as a tool for inspiration rather than comparison can’t do you any harm.

You don’t need hundreds of friends
Just a few good ones! As you get older you lose contact with people who you thought you’d be friends with forever and you gain new ones through different experiences.  As long as you have at least one good friend who you know has your back no matter what, you are good. 

Everything will work itself out, trust the process
I would tell myself this because I spent many sleepless nights worrying and feeling overwhelmed trying to figure out my life plan.  Take some pressure off yourself, trust yourself and the decisions you make.  At 16, I never imagined my future in London. living with my boyfriend and working for a legal publishing company in the heart of the City but here I am!

Be nice to your parents – they only want the best for you!
I had my fair share of Kevin moments as a teen.  Its actually quite embarrassing when I look back now with all my knowledge and wisdom and I realise that my parents really did only want the best for me.  Give them a break and be nice to them!

Get more involved
As a shy, chubby teenager the thought of getting involved on Sports Day or getting involved in anything other than applying my make up in the toilets with my girlfriends was enough to make me want to run for the hills.  I wish now that I had got involved with more as it definitely helps your confidence, self-esteem and will help to start building your CV.  Put yourself out there and say yes to things that are way out of your comfort zone.  The more you start to do this when your young, the easier you will it when you are older as your confidence will have grown and things that used to scare you, no longer will.

HAVE FUN!

I can't stress this enough. Stop thinking the world is against you.  Yes, you missed the bus this morning but you didn’t need to have that meltdown, another one is coming in 5 minutes! Chill.  Enjoy your younger years as you have many more difficult years ahead of you! 

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