A Letter To My 16 Year Old Self

Hey 16 year old Laura,

These seven years have gone by pretty quickly, which is really bloody scary because in another seven years I’ll be 30! You are probably reading this after just finishing high school, you are either about to start college or you already have. Don’t worry, everything works out just fine. Things don’t exactly go to plan, but thats life isn’t it? One things for sure – you are still weird. No doubt about it. Oh, and you still love the Spice Girls.

Right now I know what you are thinking, it’s a scary world out there and you are afraid. You are afraid that you’ll be a failure, you are unsure of what the future holds, and it’s okay to feel like that, but don’t get too hung up on it because things always work out in the end. You get through college and you get into Leeds University to study Fashion Design. It isn’t an easy ride, so be prepared for the tears and the breakdowns at 4am crying into faux fur fabric samples, but you pull through. Even despite a very rocky start (and middle) you manage to get yourself a 2:1. You think you can draw now, you wait and see what you end up achieving. You are so proud of your work right now but you’ll get even better and you’ll get a job designing. Yep – all those people that say to you ‘ugh every girl wants to do something like design,’ ‘studying fashion design won’t get you a job.’ You can tell them, like you probably already are, that you are more than capable and it is possible.

Your hair is gross. Sorry Laurs but its true. Get that red out of your hair as soon as you can. You will in fact dye your hair every colour under the sun. Thats right… red, blonde, ginger, pink, purple, silver and even blue! You’ll also cut your hair quite short multiple times, you’ll ask for a ‘Vanessa Hudgens’ but end up with a ‘Professor Snape’ and you’ll confess this to your friends when you are absolutely legless after lying to yourself and everyone else about your ‘gorj’ new trim. You’ll also have to lob it all off because you BLEACHED IT YOURSELF. Come on m8, don’t do this to yourself, I know you are skint but no need to do that.

You will put weight on, and you will learn to love yourself too. You were never meant to be a skinny minnie, it just doesn’t suit you. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be fat, but you’ll be much more comfortable with your body with a bit more booty (and boobie for that matter).

Low rise jeans are not a good look, and neither are leggings, jeggings, low rise belts, chavvy hoop earrings, that fringe or your eyebrows. You also need to stop using Rimmel sun shimmer instant tan, you aren’t fooling anyone and you look like a streaky mess whilst also looking as if you’ve rolled about in glitter. Dream Matte Mousse foundation will no longer be an essential part of your beauty routine, that cakey mess will vacate your beauty draw and you will find your two new soul sistas: highlight and contour.

You know that band Oasis right? Well you are about to form an unhealthy obsession. I’m not lying. Your ‘bio’ on Facebook right now most likely reads ‘I love Lady GaGa and Beyonce and my cat Dylan.’ You still love your cat, I mean who doesn’t love Dyls? You do also love Beyonce, but not half as much as Oasis. You’ll fall in love with Noel Gallagher, his beautiful lyrics and his hilarious words and you’ll never look back in anger (sorry not sorry). Oasis will get you through uni and I’m not being a drama queen here, its true.

You will fall in love… the kind of love they show in the movies. It exists and its amazing. Full on head over heels… the kind of love where even the thought of this person makes you smile from ear to ear without even realising it. You will wonder how you ever came to be so soppy and you will finally be able to feel what true, raw happiness feels like in just one moment where the world seems to stand still and nothing else matters. Your heart will want to burst out of your chest, and this won’t just happen every now and again, or only at the beginning, this will happen all of the time. Sometimes you’ll wonder how on earth you came to be so lucky. The hurt and heartache you will experience before this person enters your life will all be worth it – please remember this.

Don’t ever put people first who would never think of putting you first. Life is too short to give yourself to people that don’t have the time of day for your feelings. If they are stupid enough to hurt you, or put your feelings to the side, they are not worth your time. Think about yourself and what you deserve. You deserve the world and you should surround yourself with people that want to give you the world, not take it away from you. Lets also not forget the fabulous people around you who want to support you and lift you up…hold onto them and give them the world too.

There will be times over the next few years where you will realise that it is okay to put yourself first (finally Laura!) and you will cut people out of your life that you might not necessarily want to, people that you either love or care very much for. It will be hard to let go of some people but you will be much happier in the end and thats okay. Some people who are a big part of your life at the moment will no longer be a part of it when you get to where I am now; some people will just drift away and there will definitely be some big fall outs along the way.

But… and this is a big but, you will gain so many amazing people. Friends for life. College will introduce you to a lot of beautiful people, and uni even more so. You will finish university with an unbelievably supportive and loving group of friends. These friends will be just as weird as you are… hard to believe but very true. University will be so important to you, you’ll learn a lot and not just how to design clothes and all the intellect and random knowledge behind it you didn’t know you had to learn, you’ll learn valuable life skills like how cheese goes with everything, and lets face it, you already know that mayo goes with everything. You’ll learn that everyone is the same as you, you will feel like you can be yourself finally, and you will become a lil bit more street wise and gain a tiny bit of common sense (although don’t get carried away… I said a little bit). But most important thing you will take from university is your memories, and the friendships you form making them. You won’t ever remember a life without the friends you make at uni and you won’t ever want to let them go, and even though you’ll all end up living in different areas of the UK, you’ll always be there for each other.

Some people you wont lose through drifting apart, or fall outs, your dear Grandma will pass away during the summer after your first year of university. It will be your first experience of someone close to you leaving you to join the angels, and it will feel like the end of the world. You don’t realise it at the time but it will actually take you so long to get over it. In fact I still think about her now like she is still alive, I actually have a massive lump in my throat and my eyes are filled up just writing this. Make sure that the few years you have left with her are spent appreciating how amazing she is, because you’ll miss her so much when she is gone. Always know that she is watching over you, and make sure that you look after your Grandad.

It is always so important to remember to love the people around you. Tell your loved ones you love them, make sure they know that you appreciate them. Show strangers love and kindness too, I know that you are already doing this very well, but do it even more… you’ll appreciate it when you are feeling down and somebody you don’t know completely changes the dynamics of your day by doing something that maybe only feels like something small to them.

One last thing.. Keep being you, you are great at it.

Laura, 23 x