Dear 16 year old me,

I would have thought that by the time I was 55 that I would have it all sussed by now, but it seems not to be the case. I still don’t really have a clue what I’m doing, so I’m writing to you to say a few things about stuff I’ve picked up along the way, that I’m still learning, and what I wished I’d known waaay back there in 1977.

  1. You are a survivor. Good on you for your strength and your silliness.
  2. You are a beautiful creative soul; a trusting pure soul who looks only for the best in others and delights when she finds it. You are a prize and those around you should be worthy of that. Be careful because there will be some who are not. They will take your trust and abuse it. Do not hesitate to say goodbye to these people. They do not understand your essence. Wish them well and then turn and continue on your own path.
  3. You are strong. You have come through so much and you will go through so much, and yet despite it all you will always prevail.
  4. Did I say that you are beautiful? Just saying it again for good measure. Not enough people have told you this. In fact the person you needed to hear it from the most said quite opposite, horrible things. She was scared and angry and she took it out on you. What she did was wrong and she betrayed her position every time she abused it. So, you must learn to know this truth, and you must breathe it in and keep that thought, glowing rose pink enveloping your heart.
  5. You don’t have to be a good girl all the time. Just because up til now not being compliant has meant nasty repercussions in the form of emotional and physical abuse it won’t always be like this. Protect your essence and don’t let it be wiped away. Some of your sweetest memories will be from the times you didn’t do what you were told – look forward to them!
  6. You always have choices – even if at times it doesn’t seem like you do. This is where I wish I could reach back in time to take you, my dearest 16 year old bewildered, displaced and sad self, and show you that you do have options and choices, and tell you that you do not have to believe or comply with all that you are told.
  7. You have a good heart and a strong moral compass. Trust it more, listen to it more and trust yourself.
  8. Give yourself a break. You have been through more in your 16 years than many people have in a lifetime. Don’t feel sad at your feelings of separation from others who have not experienced all those things. Instead accept it. Your wisdom and maturity have been accelerated by all those events and those who have been through the same as you will recognise their fellow traveler and you will keep a sweet and rarefied company with them.
  9. You have insight. You realised early on that no matter what the cataclysm or disaster, that life goes on and the world keeps turning. There is no shame in moving on from a dark situation that could not be mended – or even in choosing not to mend a bad situation – remember that thing about choices? As much as you may want to you cannot step off the world. However you can deal with it the best way you know how, and that is usually to dance, to sing and to laugh and laugh and laugh.
  10. Never listen to people – often men – who will tell you that it is unladylike to swear. Fuck them! Remember that guy one night who, because you used your sharp wit in conversation, warned you that your “mouth would get you into trouble one day”? Well ignore him and his ilk. Never dim your light in any respect just to accommodate dull-witted trolls. They do not understand the beauty of banter, the gloriousness of the craic, the exquisiteness of the well placed curse or the basic principle of equal human rights. The men in your life, if they love you, will not censure you for swearing or tell you to be silent because you are singing or laughing. If anyone in your life does this, tell them to fuck off!

You are good, you are beautiful, you are strong and you are true.

With love,

From me (you) xxxx

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