I recently found a memory stick full of thousands of photos all from years and years ago. As I was looking through the ones as a child I could notice how carefree and amazed I was at everything, Happiness radiated from me. However, as I scrolled through to my teens, at around 14-16 my entire era seemed to change. I became conscious with photos being taken, pulling at my shirt, covering myself. I became sad. A person completely lost, shown through photographs.
Over the past few years I feel I have become a whole different person, new ideas, new goals, new love. After looking at these photos I decided to do something that I hope could help someone, what I would tell to 15 year old me.
1. Wear what you love, even those damn shoes.
For a long time I would wear whatever I liked, okay trainers with pink sparkly diamonds and green jeans weren’t the height of fashion, but who cares! I was happy and loved it. However, the pressure of school became massive. Every girl/boy judging every outfit. You became unpopular for not having designer clothes and I didn’t. This didn’t even matter, I was judged for what I loved. I was never popular at school, in fact I was like that sit at the front and ignore everyone kinda girl. This made me an easy target I guess. One time I remember spending the entire day in the school toilets crying my eyes out because I had bought some new shoes that some girls laughed at.
I wish I had stood there and told those girls to get a grip of themselves. I LOVE WHAT I WEAR AND I CAN WEAR WHAT I PLEASE. Girls and boys in school can be horrible, but in all honesty go take a look at them. They’re afraid to be themselves. They’re all carbon copies of each other, same hair, same clothes, same bag. They’re too afraid to act as themselves and that is truly sad. Popularity may last in school, but my god it means shit all once you leave I can promise that. Be yourself, express how you feel, do not be afraid. You rock those glittery trainers and army 3/4 shorts, you got it.
2. Don’t be so hard on yourself
Teenage years are years of discovering and finding yourself. This sometimes can be difficult when locked away in a school building for 9 hours a day. You are tested with exams, papers and numbers constantly so how can you not judge yourself on that? You see everyone else around you with great grades but why can’t I get that?
Grades, exams and school are not everything. You can get top grades the whole time and that doesn’t mean anything more than another. Every person is different in what they achieve and sometimes schools don’t celebrate that. Even if right now school/exams are not going right for you, that’s alright. There are so many opportunities and chances out there to do what you love without the grades. Don’t judge yourself based on numbers, you are a person not a number.
3. Love is something that finds you, not something you find.
If I could tell younger me anything, it’d be for christ sake chill out about not having a boyfriend. Boys are immature at such a young age, they want nothing more than to play around. Stop searching and looking, stop trying to force love. You do not need to lower your standards all because you feel left out. My darling, you are worth so much more than you realise and please don’t cry over something you cannot change. Sometimes people don’t deserve you and one day someone will. Your first love may not be your last, and that’s absolutely fine. Heal, love yourself and take time to believe in yourself. Go live and stop worrying about bloody boys. Take baby steps, because love will find you when it is ready too. When it does it is the most incredible thing you will ever feel.
4. Stop listening to sad songs it ain’t gonna help
Listening to 6 hours of “how to save a life” and “welcome to my life” isn’t going to help you out.
Mid teens are a horrible time, no horrific. My life was changing in front of me, I was loosing family I love and friends in the blink of an eye. I didn’t fit in with the academic standards, I felt so lost and out of place. I most definitely didn’t help myself.
At times it can feel like your life is falling apart but it is not. The world can be a horrible place, but life will never do anything you cannot handle. No matter what, hold on, keep going. From even the darkest places light shines and let me tell you it is incredible on the other side. Mental health takes time to heal, time to over come. I am a huge believer in the fact it is the thoughts about an event that we fear not the event itself. Over time you will learn to become braver, stronger and willed. Do not give up. Life doesn’t always feel like it does I promise.
5. Be you, do you.
No matter what happens, what challenges you face, be you. Never be afraid to act how you feel. Never be afraid to take a new path. Never be afraid to go ahead and punch that girl in science (I’m kidding, sorta). Stop worrying about what others say, in all honesty if they talk let them. It only shows they have nothing else more interesting to speak.
Teenage years are beautiful. You become you, an adult, a person with love and compassion. These years will be difficult but keep your head straight. Enjoy being young, love everyone and yourself. But most importantly keep going, don’t give up because I promise you, the other side is beautiful.