I’ve seen posts like this before, even books and I’ve always wanted to do one. I was undecided on whether A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self would be an interesting post for me but considering I have a young sister who I try to share any wisdom that I gain with and who I think about constantly as she weaves her way through her own life and inspires me, considering the girls who are and were like me, considering the things I’ve learned and am proud of, and most of all, because I originally posted this piece for Personal Piece Sunday (on www.hannahjoybooks.com) it’s only fitting!


Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Me,

I’ve suddenly realised that if there’s anyone who people would listen to when they were sixteen, it would be their older and wiser selves, right? After all, who else knows our path like we do?
First thing’s first (I’m the realest? You won’t get that.) Anyway, get your priorities in order and realise the value of your education. You don’t realise it now because you’re at a crossroads and what’s in front of you isn’t very clear.
I can’t say there are many accomplishments to brag about now but I can tell you that your path is cut out, you have a dream to realise and when you do realise it you will want to be equipped. Trust me on this, I am having to backtrack now to get ahead and that sucks.

You’re currently in the middle of the hardest years of your life yet. You’re not like every other sixteen-year-old because you’ve already endured things some people never have to face in this lifetime. Learn from it and give yourself the room to grow. It gets better but you have to decide to make it better. Don’t wait for anyone to give you direction or to tell you what to do, it’s not going to happen, just take the next step and trust in yourself.
Accept yourself as you are and learn to work with yourself instead of against yourself. It is one of the best things you’ll ever do, so why not start now?
You’re going to learn so much about other people and their influence on you. You’re going to learn that some people will pose as family, friends and as people who care but their sole intention is to see you fall. Be ruthless in getting rid of them, life is too short for toxic bindings. I think you know who some of these people are. It’s not just in movies, these people exist and they are closer than you think. It’s okay to ignore bad advice and discard relationships that are toxic and destructive. Not everything that every person says matters, stay compassionate and keep your belief in humanity but don’t trust so much. Now is the time to think of yourself and learn to stand on your own.

Learn now to accept your body and become comfortable in your own skin. God, if only Lena Dunham was around back then, you would have learned earlier. I know that accepting yourself is a hard thing with Dad’s discouragement in your ear. Forget him, you’ll realise how screwed up his perception of things is later when you’ve ruined your body with diets and only made “things” worse, so don’t worry about those paper-thin girls he wants you to be like. Realise your own definition of “pretty” and “beautiful” which has more to do with the mind and you are not an empty vessel.

You are allergic to alcohol, so don’t even try.
I’m kidding. That’s a thing but what I’m saying is that it doesn’t do anything for you. It’s not going to solve any of your problems. There’ll be an opportunity, soon, to go down a path that seems “cool” or “fun” but it’s a miserable and destructive one.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do whatever you have to do, you’ve been through enough, don’t continue to punish yourself. Learn to value your life, don’t jeopardise it. You love bucket lists and hobbies, stay in and learn about those instead. Start blogging, you enjoy it!
If you just try to get to know who you truly are now- you’ll learn to love her. You really will.

There are some people who are worth infinite amounts in gold and the sooner you learn to appreciate them and nurture the relationships you have with them, the sooner you’ll begin to thrive and find happiness.
Hint- Mum and your little sister- They are irreplaceable, they’ll become your best friends and number one supporters. No one will stick by you like they do, they are the epitome of what family really is and are all you’ll ever need to take with you through life.
Sure, your little sister is annoying and a snitch at the moment but she’s starting high school soon. Remember when you were in her position? Be there for her and become her friend. She’s going to be one of the best people you’ll know and her friendship is going to be a lifelong one.
I know you love cuddling and hanging out with your new nephew. He’s probably most important to you right now because he gives you hope and happiness that you desperately need but learn to be someone he can look up to and be proud of. There’s no doubt that the little love ball will make you incredibly proud and he isn’t going anywhere, in fact there’s going to be a few more of them. They’re going to make you question your desire to ever have children of your own but they’re going to love you hard and bring a lot of happiness into the world.

Draw inspiration from every portal available and remember that you are your biggest supporter and enemy. Learn about Maya Angelou, she will inspire you and become one of your heroes. Begin the search within, don’t be afraid to question everything including the beliefs you’re hesitant about. Within is the only place you’ll find some of the most amazing and life-changing life lessons.

Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire” (Patti Smith)

Get going.
Future (older & wiser) You.

Originally posted on www.hannahjoybooks.com

What piece of advice would you give your Sixteen-Year-Old self?

Published by Hannah Joy