To my 16-year-old self.
Firstly, things DO get better. Stop panicking. You leave all those secondary school bullies behind you, you pass all your Art classes, and your family is proud of you at the end of it. All the stress and heartache, acrylic paint on your bedroom floor, constant graphite fingers, and sleepless nights are all worth it. Go us! You also tell Frances Grant to stick it, which was pretty damn cool. Remember, always, that her opinion is just that, one negative opinion out of thousands of positive ones. On a more serious note, try not to let the boys who enter your life define your happiness and decide your self-worth. Especially that one particular boy. You know who I’m talking about… that tall, dark, heart-shatteringly handsome, eyes like the ocean, and a smile that could melt the Polar icecaps boy. As perfect as he was, or is, he will hurt you in ways that… you didn’t think were comprehendable. He’s your first true love. But he also breaks your heart more times than I can remember. You spend a lot of time ignoring the fact that you’re in love with him, and you pursue relationships that just don’t work as a way of dealing with his rejection, and, quite honestly, it sucks. You will come to learn that, in his own way, he does love you back, but due to his own demons, he will never show it or say it out loud. Sometimes, people who care for each other are just not meant to be together, and that’s okay. It will hurt, it hurts still, but you’ll learn to live your life without him. You’ll begin to accept it, and you’ll always keep him in a little heart-shaped box, locked away in the back of your mind, in your heart, and on your bookshelf.
We go our separate ways with Katie, Nicole, Emilia, and Aislin after college. I don’t really have a solid explanation as to why… it was just, life. But you wish them all well and still talk occasionally. You won’t be a barmaid forever, and you get out of that dead end job, with the dead end people, and you find a profession in childcare that completes you. You learn to LOVE Photography again, and Indie Music.. and Coffee! You learn to drive a car! You stop overthinking everything, because it made you really miserable. Smile, because you have a really beautiful smile. And learn to trust the RIGHT people. Read at least one Charlotte, Anne, or Emily Bronte novel every year; start with Wuthering Heights. Fun fact, we learn we’re distantly related to them through a third cousin when we’re becoming obsessed with our Family Tree! Being an adult is hard, and a lot of the time I feel like I’m just winging it because it’s terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I don’t have the perfect words of wisdom, but I can sure as heck try.
Just simply be happy. And learn to feel beautiful in your own skin, no matter what dress size you are, what color your hair is, what shade of lipstick you put on, or how big your bum is. Follow your heart, always. Even when it hurts. And stay away from the blonde guys because they’re trouble!
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