I was scrolling through Facebook a few days ago and came across an apparently therapeutic method of counselling toward self-acceptance. It was recommended (and I can’t remember who by) to write letters to your past and future self, to encourage engagement with past and future emotions. Apparently, it helps to move towards self-acceptance in the present and create an understanding of emotions, lessening guilt, regret, anger and pressure that may be built up inside. And boy oh boy! What have I got to lose!? Obviously, this can be done within the comfort of a diary or your laptop and doesn’t have to be published online. But, I’ve decided to make mine public in hope that someone out there may relate. I feel like this is going to be fun for both the writer and reader! I’ll also include some pictures for a giggle!
I did ask a few of my SnapChat friends what they would tell their fifteen-year-old self and I received a LOT of replies that have led to beautiful conversations. If you would like to take part in my SnapChat engagements, add Jademccannx. See ya there!
Dear fifteen-year-old self,
I am writing this letter to you today in hope that I may get some things of my chest. I feel as though I need some forgiveness for just how hard I’ve been on you in the past, and continue to be right up to this present day. In order to forgive myself, I feel as though I need to address each issue individually and talk through all of the ‘little’, HUGE things that I have held you responsible for. Let’s begin.
The first and most important thing that I would like to point out to you is your beauty. Naturally, you are so radiant. Inside and out. Unfortunately, you’re a sensitive soul and allow people to dim your radiance. But let me remind you, aesthetically and through personality, you are beautiful. The picture above is a selfie you took before you boarded a plane to New York with your distant cousins. You spend the entire holiday in a complete daze and fell in utter love with the city. You deserved that holiday and you deserved that happiness. You deserved that peace of mind, you deserved those beautiful memories. You are not ugly. You do not look ‘butch’. You look absolutely stunning and your cornrows are hella cool. And anybody that tells you otherwise are simply jealous. And I know how hard that is to believe. All our life, our mama and papa tell us that ‘people are mean when they feel threatened’. But if you have been told something repeatedly and if you are treated a certain way by certain people for a long period of time, you begin to believe it. But you should rise above it. You should be stronger. You should believe in yourself that little bit more. You hold so many keys to success and you don’t even know it yet. You, are, beautiful. Inside and out.
At the age of fourteen, you put yourself out there with your own organically written music productions. You released an E.P and gigged in some really amazing places. You met wonderful people and grew in so many ways, ways that don’t seem imaginable for such a young girl. You uploaded videos to YouTube of your songs, your covers, your thoughts. And then at fifteen, you let bullies take all of that away from you. You began to believe that you were bad at singing. You began to feel like the loser they framed you as. You found it harder and harder to fit in. Anxiety developed to larger scales. You blamed yourself for bothering to put yourself out there in the first place. You blamed the victim for the perpetrators actions. You took a step back from your dreams for four years. For four years you were filled with fear and shame. You developed paranoia, you allowed people to speak down to you and leave you out. You found comfort in loneliness and alcohol.
Dear fifteen-year-old self, fuck them. They ARE jealous. They are jealous because they are not as brave as you. They are jealous because you are adventurous, you are honest, you are inspiring, you are interesting- and all they can do is watch because they are everything that you are not.
Dear fifteen-year-old self, do not be so mean to yourself. Do not let people take the most precious thing about you and destroy it. Do not blame yourself. Do not hate yourself. Do not stop your tracks in the hands of bullies. You are allowed to feel sad. You will find that in your life, there will be worse situations than girls making a video mimicking you. You will find that there are more petty and horrible people and things out in the world. You will find that not everything is worth fretting over. You will find that no matter WHAT you do, be it spectacular or mediocre, there will be someone waiting to drag you back, hold you down. So just do you and be the beautiful person you are. If you had not have stopped, you would be so much further right now. You may even have reached your goals. Somewhere in an alternate universe, you are standing on a stage playing in front of thousands with a huge smile on your face and a heart full of bravery.
Dear fifteen-year-old self, do not let them stop you from being who you are, from getting what you deserve.
Dear fifteen-year-old self, please stay as wise as you possibly can to peer-pressures. There are people that will pose in photographs with you, holding cigerrettes and alcohol, pretending to be your best friend- but they couldn’t care less if you succeed in life or not. Real friends are the kind that push you to go to training and pratice, come to see you fight and play music, stay on your back about focus and goals. Music was not your only asset. You were an incredible fighter with huge potential. And although to this day you’re still fit and practice, there is no doubt that you would have exceeded all expectations within that ring. Instead, you chose to spend time with people that had not your best interest at heart. People that held the key to escapism. People that provided alcohol, drugs and cigarettes illegally. You chose to pose for profile pictures instead of news paper articles. At this time, you want to fit in. You want to feel a part of something. You want to make friends. But those people are not your friends and your self-worth is more important. Funnily enough, you learned this the hard way. You really should listen to your parents more. Fitness is a wonderful thing and although your ‘friends’ may tell you so, it is not for losers. Drinking and drugging is not for the cool kids. You will see this unravel later in life. For now, have faith in your decisions and passions. Let people be who they are and focus on your strong points, your talents, your goals. Don’t let them take things from you.
Dear fifteen-year-old self, although there are people that pose in pictures and are not your true ‘friends’, there are also people that are the purest of pure. Unfortunately, being caught up in all that is society, you can’t really tell the difference. My advice would be to hold your family close. The word family suggests that they will never leave, that you will always be this close. Unfortunately, that is not the case. You will grow up and find that every single person you know, at one stage, decides to focus on themselves. Every single person that you cherish will move on, find partners, find new friends, new hobbies, new jobs and new happiness. And that is perfectly alright. They deserve that and more. But cherish them while you can. Because although you may believe that they are forever, they aren’t. Hold the good times close to your heart and create as many as you can while you have the chance. Some people really are worth your time and really do love you. I know that it’s difficult to tell the difference between everyone’s intentions right now. But if you’re going to do one thing for me, hold your family as close as you possibly can. Say thank you. Hug for longer. Kiss harder. Laugh harder. Be there more. Don’t get angry when they borrow your clothes. Don’t argue over petty things. Let them be who they are and love them, pride and all. This is important.
Dear fifteen-year-old self, I understand that Gaffer has been your pet since you were six years old. I understand that he may annoy you when he growls and trips you up, I understand that he’s getting old and bothers you are the best of times. But can you please understand that he will not be alive forever? At times, he may feel like an extra limb. At times, he may feel like the annoying sibling. But through all of these times, remember to capture photographs in your precious little mind. Photographs of your favourite walks, your funniest times, your hyper shenanigans. He will pass in 2015. You will be hard on yourself for not being more mindful throughout your teenage years. You will remember those times that you were crying over boys and mean girls and he sat at the end of your bed like a guardian angel. You will remember how he licked a cut when you fell as a child. You will remember how he hated the bath. You will remember how you were that little bit distracted and could have cherished him more. Dear fifteen-year-old self, kiss him goodbye for me.
Dear fifteen-year-old self, you do not need to grow up as fast as you may think. You do not need to have the most fashionable hair style, you do not need to wear heeled-boots and huge handbags, your mom’s clothes and you most definitely do not need makeup and hair-dye in abundance. Dad nags you. He pleads with you to be natural. I know that you truly believe it’s because he doesn’t want boys to like you. But fifteen-year-old self, he just wants you to be the best you that you can be. He wants you to live as innocently and pure as you possibly can, for as long as you possibly can. Because once you cross the line of adulthood, there is not one chance that you can go backwards. Accept that you’re young, embrace it. Be a beautiful fifteen-year-old. Stop trying to be twenty-odd. That day will come. And when it does, you’ll be willing to sell your soul to go back in time. Live in the moment. Accept your age. Accept yourself as you are. Be fifteen. Boys can wait. Boys aren’t all they crack out to be anyway! Someday you will meet the most amazing man, that will never lead you to question yourself, that will love you and honestly adore you. Until then, fuck them. Let them line up. Let them want you. Let them have someone else to use, to call names, to mentally abuse, to claim and move on from. You really don’t need it that kind of negativity in your life.
Dear fifteen-year-old self, sex can wait. Sex doesn’t matter. Stop reading magazines that are directed at grown women. Stop letting yourself be encouraged by public forums that do not concern a fifteen-year-old girl. Read KISS, or Mizz. Fuck Cosmopolitan. Fuck Soap Operas. All of these factors may seem small, but they build and develop into a huge influence of expectations for young women. It’s just not realistic. And unfortunately, you’re caught up in that. But dear fifteen-year-old self, be smarter than that. Be smarter than them. Be yourself.
Dear fifteen-year-old self, you have a lot to learn. Alcohol and cigerettes aren’t cool. Makeup isn’t compulsory. Fashion isn’t a ‘follow or die’. You’re not fat. You’re not ugly. You’re not a loser. You’re just different, beautifully!
Boys can wait. Sex can wait. You are talented in more ways than one. You can sing. You can model. You are athletic. You are clever. You don’t need negative people. You don’t have to be your own worst critic. You don’t have to spend your days comfortably alone. You shouldn’t let bullies control your success. You shouldn’t allow other people’s opinions to have such a high impact toward your future. You should listen to your family more. You should take more photographs in your mind. You should lighten up a bit. You should walk away from people that are upsetting you, block them out. You should move on more. You should let go more. You should care a lot less. And for God’s sake, love yourself. Learn now. It will make the future a hell of a lot easier if you develop the foundation of self-acceptance right now. Trust me, I’d know.
The list is endless. I could write for years about your true worth, your potential and your lessons that you’ve yet to learn. But how would I be where I am if you weren’t who you were? What’s meant to be won’t pass you. Just don’t lose who you are.
What would you tell your fifteen-year-old self?
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