Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A letter to my 16 year old self ...

In response to Josie's Writing Workshop over at Sleep is for the Weak

I thought it more appropriate to put this one on my 'serious' blog rather than Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy?

A letter to my 16 year old self

Dear Laura

You are very laid back, easy going and you like to laugh. Laughing soothes the pain, makes it all go away. Your mother died seven years ago and you are still bitter.

Bright but rebellious; this year you’ll leave school with crap GCSE results because you arsed about. You would rather be a rebellious clown than take anything seriously. You’ll go to college and re-sit some of your GCSE’s.

You’ll start working in a newsagents in the evenings and weekends whilst at college and have a relationship with a colleague, he is much older than you but acts much younger. His favourite pastimes are smoking dope and sleeping. Still, he can be charming and you have a laugh sometimes. To be fair most of the time you spend with him he is high or asleep. But at the moment that is preferential to going home.

Home is difficult. Your relationship with your stepmother is fairly hideous and you’re angry. You shield your Dad from your real feelings because you remember how he cried alone sometimes when your mum died and you don’t ever want him to feel like that again. You will spend most of your time at friend’s houses with their families where you are accepted without being made to feel unwelcome.

What I need you to know right now is that it’s OK to be angry and bitter about your Mum dying. In fact you should take yourself off for some counselling. Talk to someone, release it all, let it all out … don’t pretend it’s not there and don’t hide behind a smile and a joke. Cry like a baby for hours if you want to. You’ll feel much better. Really, do it now, not when you’re thirty.

Tell your Dad how you're feeling, you'll feel better, he'll probably feel better and it won't reach boiling point when you are 21 on a family Christmas holiday when you screech like a banshee at your stepmother about everything that's happened between you over the past ten years. That one will take a while to get over, about a year, before everyone is speaking again but it will be a turning point for you. Once you've got it off your chest life feels different somehow, you are able to move on.

Over the next 5 years you will have relationships with some absolute arseholes. You will learn something from each of them. You won’t listen to anyone when they tell you that you're making mistakes, you need to learn for yourself. When you meet Andy you will know instantly that he is the one.

When you are 31 you will have regrets but you will also have all you ever wanted; two beautiful children and a great husband.

You’ll excel at giving birth and breastfeeding. It’s a shame these activities are not in the Olympics. These are the only things you feel you have done right and put your all into.

Sleep lots now. When your children arrive they will keep you awake for years. That huge family you wanted … it’s not going to happen. The children’s sleeping habits will drive your husband to distraction and he will tell you ‘no more’. You will be bereft for a while and have moments where all you can think about is having more children, but it will pass.

You’ll rediscover writing. Writing will be your best therapy yet. You'll enjoy it and lose yourself in it. You'll finally have something that can't be taken away from you.

You won't listen to any of this (above) because you know better. Just remember this, you can't fill your mum shaped hole with alcohol, relationships, money, self-destruction or friendships. Only when you stop trying to fill the hole will you find some peace.

Love Me x (aged 31 and a half)


  1. Hugs. Thats all I can say. Oh and your 16 year old you sounds like she wouldn't of listened to the now you, because she needs to experience everything her own way. :)

  2. Really well written. It must have been very therapeutic for you. I would not dare write to my 16 year old self. Good for you!

  3. My 16 year old self wouldn't have listened to me either =/


    I hope you are in a much better place now.

  4. I am sat in tears, I lost my dad 9 years ago and the pain is always worse at this time of year. I could not nad would not write to my 16 year old self.... She had a lot of growing up to do and wouldnt listen to anyone or anything.

  5. You've made my eyes leak again!
    I can't imagine not having my Mam now at 32, let alone having to go through the horrid teenage years without her.
    It sounds like a nightmare few years were had, but hey at least you know that the 16 year old Laura turned out well :) x

  6. You are a superstar, that's all I want to say really. xx

  7. A very moving piece of writing x

  8. Oh Laura :(

    I remember looking at this blog a while back and being moved by what I read here, but that was before I really knew you and now, reading about the pain you have carried for so long makes me hurt for you.

    Wrapping up that 16-year old you with a whole lot of love and healing hugs. And the 31 and half year old you too.

  9. So glad that you discovered writing - this is wonderfully written, it will be lovely for your children to read when they're older.

  10. Oh this is beautiful. :) I wish I could really send a letter to myself, at specific times in my life. Say, um, 18, 23 and 26. Would have saved myself a lot of grief.

  11. That is such a bittersweet letter to your younger self. I wish I could give 16 year old you a hug, it sounds like you had a really rough time but came through it stronger. (hug)

  12. Life is testing sometimes, but it makes us stronger. A lovely letter.

    CJ xx

  13. Your post made me cry. I can totally relate to "You’ll excel at giving birth and breastfeeding. It’s a shame these activities are not in the Olympics. These are the only things you feel you have done right and put your all into.".

    bless you

  14. My mum died when I was 16. I relate to what you say completely. Keep on keeping on! xx