Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Umbrella Collective: Dear Alice....



We've gone slightly serious again with this week's Umbrella Collective post. AmyRhiannonLaura and I have decided to write letters to our sixteen year old selves. There's a book about this actually, where a load of celebrities have done the same thing, but regardless, it seems like a good idea to me.

I've struggle a bit with this actually. You'll see as/ if you read this. Regardless, here goes... with a picture of sixteen year old me, on my last day of school before GCSEs. I'm not convinced I look that different now- I get ID'd enough to suggest that I still look 16- but alas, I fear the past seven years have indeed aged me.

Apologies for the black and white, we all thought it was cool in 2006...
Dear Alice,

                Goodness me. Sixteen.  I don’t even know where to begin, really- I’m struggling to remember what has and hasn’t happened at this point. But we’ll see how we go. Forgive me if we cover something you’ve already experienced- remember, in seven years’ time, old age will have started to set in and you’ll be exceptionally forgetful. I have so much advice I want to give you. So many things I wish someone had told me, but I suppose not knowing everything at sixteen is all part of it. You have a lot of time left to learn things, you know.

I’m not going to lie- you have some really tough times ahead of you. I know that at sixteen you’ve already started to realise that things can be awful, but I’m not going to lie to you- life isn’t easy. And to be honest, we don’t want it to be. You will realise that an easy life does not a well-rounded person make, and however much you wish you were the person with the perfect life where everything is easy, at 23 you’ll realise that this actually isn’t always the best thing. Those people fall hardest and take the longest to get back up when bad things happen. These rubbish times will make you who you are at 23- which is a good, strong, well rounded person (even if I do say so myself).

You will love, and you will be loved back. Right now, all you’ve experienced is the heartache of unrequited love, and it doesn’t feel as though anyone will ever like you. Trust me- they will. Oh there will still be the guys who choose your friend over you (yes, this happens a lot), but they won’t be the ones who you’ll remember at 30 (not that we’re there yet, but…). Don’t ever stop loving heart-first though. It may be painful sometimes, but following your heart will be so worthwhile at 18 and 21, when the guys who love you as much as you deserve will enable you to see some pretty incredible places. And they’ll leave, as everyone you love does, but that’s ok. It does not mean you are not worthwhile.

When things don’t go to plan when uni rolls around in two years’ time, do not panic. This is the biggest piece of advice I can give you. No, you won’t get into Exeter. You will end up going to your insurance and things will go really very pear-shaped there. But it will be ok. Dropping out of uni is not the worst thing in the world, and you will learn that a lot of people do it- in your case, it wasn’t worth the enormous risk you were to yourself at this point. And then you will end up in Cardiff, and you will find the most incredible people who will be friends for life. Remember- everything happens for a reason. I know you’re there rolling your eyes at this, but it’s true. And as much as it might seem that this isn’t the case sometimes, just remember that at some point, you’ll look back and go “you know, if that hadn’t happened, then I wouldn’t be here right now”. And don't panic about not travelling- for goodness sake, it really isn't that important. You've been to some amazing places, and you have the rest of your life to see the world. It isn't going anywhere.

Some smaller pieces of advice: Brush your teeth. Learn sooner that drinking doesn’t agree with you. Don’t quit the piano. Eat plenty of fruit and veg. Take up running. Don’t stress about your weight. Don’t try to be an adult too quickly. Wear sunscreen. Take opportunities. And think so carefully about which A-Levels and degree to do- if you think about this more carefully now, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle when you’re my age. 

At the end of the day, at 23 you do not have your shit together. Nothing is remotely how you expected it to be when you were sixteen. But that’s OK. Because I’ll let you in on a secret- at 23, none of us have it all worked out. We’re all scared children, pretending to be adults, paying taxes and going to work, and wondering how the hell we make this adulthood thing stop. I don’t know how things are going to turn out, but I do know that in the end, everything is going to be fine. Keep your chin up, and your heart in it, love life, and things will be ok.

And don’t drink too much at the kung fu Christmas party in 2008- they’ll never let you live it down.

Love,
You


14 comments:

  1. Aww this is such a nice letter! If only we could send this sort of thing. Bloody time travel, science needs to get moving! x

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    1. Thanks lovely- I know, but I would have been bloody terrified if I'd actually read this at 16 haha!! xx

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  2. I think the most important piece of advice you need to give yourself there is the last two lines you wrote... squeeze them together and remove the comma and that's all you really need to tell your teenage self miss Alice. xx

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    1. Meg, you are so right. To be honest, that is the one thing I wish I'd learned to do when I was 16- love myself. We're getting there now though, it would seem :) xx

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  3. I love this. I'd love to go back and punch myself in the face. Hard. You seem like you had it together somewhat even then!

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    1. Oh I'm sure I didn't- and I don't now!! I think a little slap would have been good for me too. I definitely thought I was too cool- I wasn't.... xx

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  4. I love this post! If only someone was there that told us these things when we really were 16! I love that you included Baz Luhrmann's song in this too :)
    xx

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    1. Couldn't miss out Baz Luhrmann- he gives the best advice!!! I know, I so wish someone had told me these things- but then I suppose the not knowing is also pretty good... xx

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  5. I love this post! Such a sweet idea...
    <3 Kiersten

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    1. Thank you lovely- writing it was really interesting! xx

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  6. A lovely post Alice - 16 seems so long ago! I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason but also love the advice to eat more fruit and veg! hehe
    Hannah x

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    1. Thanks Hannah :) It does, you're so right!! Hahah I love fruit and veg now, but seem to remember at 16 that I didn't enjoy them so much- I spent years missing out!xx

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