Saturday, 3 September 2016

'Dear Beth...' || A Letter To My 15 Year Old Self


Dear Beth,

We're 20 now,  and I'm glad to report that we've made it. We've survived against the odds, against your wishes. We're still here. And whilst I'm currently unemployed, battling numerous mental demons, and still struggling to get from day to day, I've learnt so much in the past five years. Valuable life lessons, some utter nonsense, and a lot about who we are. And I'm pleased to report that we're still friends with the 'Sofraternity', despite all being scattered across the country. 

Despite that, there's a lot I know now I wish I'd known when I was 15, and had the whole world spread out in front of me. Things I bitterly regret quitting, things I don't bitterly regret doing. So here's ten things I would love to go back and tell my 15 year old self. I don't regret the decisions I've made, but if any of these help someone else through the tough teenage years then by Jove I've done what I set out to do. 

1. Don't be afraid to let the world know your true personality. I know you're afraid people won't like you, but they will. And the truly valuable people in life will appreciate you for who you are.

2. Don't quit. Don't ever quit. Don't quit dance. Don't quit uni. Don't quit Starbucks. It's going to be hard. You're going to hate yourself a lot as you find yourself. But there are things you are good at, don't quit them. Talk to your family, lean on your friends, make it through.

3. Do quit. Quit that BTEC, quit talking to the therapists who just tell you to get a job, quit pretending to be something you're not.

4. Watch what you eat. Sure, binging on a ton of crap might feel good for five minutes, but you'll end up regretting it. Treat yourself like you'd treat someone else. Respect your body. (But don't restrict. That's just stupid)

5. You're not fat. Stand in front of that mirror, take a long hard look at your body. Admire all those imperfections that make you, you. Look at how dance has toned you, despite your big boned frame. Yes, next to most other dancers you're bigger. But you're not all built the same.

6. Revise. For gods sake, take your teachers advice and revise. You might hate it, you might have better things to be doing, but just revise. Get those results. You have the rest of your adult life to start doing the things you want to.

7. Treasure the friends you have. Don't stop talking to them because you think they hate you. They don't. None of them could ever hold a grudge.

8. Appreciate your family. Go on family days out, spend evenings in front of the TV with them, visit Dad as often as you can. They're a good bunch. Take their advice. But not all of it.

9. Keep dancing. Stay at Katherine Mitchell's, take as many classes as you can, commit yourself to it. You have a talent, a passion,  and the world will reward you for it.

10. Don't be afraid to make stupid mistakes. It's how we learn who we are, what we want to do, our place in society. Mistakes are good, don't shy away from them or be afraid to admit them.

What advice would you give your younger self?


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