Have you ever wondered what you would say to your younger self if you could go back a few years and have a chat? I often look back at old pictures and catch myself thinking ‘If only I knew then, what I know now.’ I was a fairly destructive teenager with an almighty attitude and a misguided perception of life. I would love to grab 15 year old Terri by the shoulders, shake some sense in to her and give her a serious talking to. If I could go back I would like to prepare her and make that little lost girl feel not so alone in the big bad world. It can be a pretty scary place for a 15 year old girl growing up in Dagenham with no idea what to expect or where she is heading. This is what I wish I could say:
I want to give you some advice, don’t roll your eyes like that! It’s for your own good. You wouldn’t even recognise me now, 11 years has passed and my hairs a lot darker. Whatever you do don’t colour it, you will spend the rest of your life trying to get your natural colour back! Don’t laugh, I know you want red hair but it is a pain the ass to reverse and trust me when I say you will never get those gorgeous golden tones back.
You are about to go through some of the most difficult times of your life, often you will feel lost and like no one understands you. It’s okay because believe it or not, most 15 year old girls will be going through something similar. You are not alone and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over the local park will not give you clarity on where you want to be, unless you want to spend your life with your head down a toilet pan that is? Don’t laugh young lady that WILL happen, quite a lot. You think you can handle it now but just wait until you turn 20. It wont seem like such a good idea then because hangovers are not a myth and sometimes they last for two days. #Soz
Now everyone has always said you are a bright spark, a clever clogs and it’s true, you will end up being fairly successful in your jobs. Don’t bunk off. I know everyone else does it and you think its ‘cool’ now but it really isn’t and you will regret it when you are older and have to pay for further education because that is expensive!! Enjoy school/college while it is free. Mum isn’t joking when she says they are the best years of your life you know. You are so eager to grow up and earn money but it’s not as glamorous & fun as ‘Sex & the city’ makes it out to be. Stop being in such a hurry to grow up, childhood is priceless and you will never get those years back.
On the subject of Mum, give her a break kiddo, she loves you more then anything in the world right now and only wants to see you succeed. You won’t believe me at this stage but she will end up being your best and most loyal friend. Yes, she does ground you, a few times actually, you will deserve it every time so just take it on the chin and learn from your mistakes. Quit bugging her so she lets you back out again. You think she doesn’t care right now because you are not allowed out past 9-10pm and some of your friends are allowed, but this is because she cares and Dagenham is not the kind of place for 15 year old girls to be hanging around in the dark. You laugh now, but when Mum says ‘you wonit even see half the people you went to school with’ and you shout back ‘Yes I will me and Shelley are going to get a flat together I will always be friends with my school mates’ she is right! You won’t see most of them ever again. You will keep in contact with one or two and yes Shelley is still in your life don’t panic. Those ‘cool’ people will not be around. Don’t worry though you will meet an amazing band of girls who will always be in your life and they encourage you to make something of yourself.
At the moment you think you are always right and no one understands what you are going through (hard life trying to be the best MSN’er & manage school at the same time right?) I know kiddo, get some sleep, you wont even remember your password in a few years. You have some issues coming up that you will struggle to cope with for a long time. I know you feel like part of you is missing and you think that meeting your real dad will fill that hole. It won’t he is still a jerk, you will meet him and you will be in too much of a shock to ask him what you really want to ask, so prepare yourself and write down your questions in advance otherwise you will regret it when he disappears again. You always work best when you take a moment to think about what you want to say instead of blurting it all out.
The mirror is not your enemy and you are struggling with the idea that you are fat, you will end up making yourself quite ill next year and Mum WILL ban scales from the house if you keep weighing yourself and throwing up every time you eat. Stop it you are gorgeous and those girls you want to be like, I will let you in on a little secret that made me realise life is to short, there is this amazing app called Photoshop. Which you will actually really like. It is used to edit pictures and make normal girls appear tiny and flawless. See yourself and the world through your own eyes and stop letting silly things get to you. You are beautiful and you will be liked. oh, having said that, we need a word about the orange foundation that you think makes you look tanned, in a few years you will cringe at the sight of pictures of your orange days. Buy a lighter shade kid before it is to late and make sure you wash your face every night (baby wipes do not count.) Go for a natural look and don’t cake it on, it will only make you zitty erghhh.
In a few months something will make you feel like the only way out is to take your own life. I really wish you wouldn’t do it because you will regret the scars it will leave you with forever and you will not succeed on your mission. You will however hurt a lot of people in the process who did not realise how badly you needed to talk, let them in babe, they only want to help & eventually you will come to terms with your issues but only if you ask for help. Start writing a diary at this point I think you will find it therapeutic to write things down. Mum also has a surprise that will make you feel complete and change the way you feel forever. In 9 months you will find out what I am talking about and you will buck your idea’s up and be a great role model. So just chill out okay?
You will experience some pretty hard losses in your late teens/early twenties. It’s okay to cry, what ever you do don’t bottle it up kid. Remember that how ever you feel at any given time, is only temporary and you will get through it. Give your mum a hug too, she doesn’t let on but we all need one sometimes.
You will think you have fallen in love 1000 times in the next few years, and sadly you will be heartbroken/hurt twice. At the age of 24 you will decide that getting a kitten is easier. It’s not he is a little terror, but once you stop looking you do eventually bump into Mr Right (or Mr Scott as the case may seem) and he will teach you a lot of things you didn’t know about yourself. He is not a myth so stop wasting your time with all these ‘Bad boys’ and focus on finding yourself right now.
I know you hate being alone. You hate shopping by yourself or walking anywhere by yourself and you’re bound to feel that way. All you want is for everyone to like you & want to spend time with you. One day you will realise that you can’t let fear win. You will actually learn to love shopping on your own, it will become one of your favourite past times, who knew huh? You will learn to manage your thoughts and be less afraid of being alone. Not everyone will like you kid, that’s a fact of life, it’s okay, because those who are important to you, love you.
I know you feel like what I am saying is silly and you don’t need my advice, in fact you really have no idea what I am waffling on about, but you will soon, when you reach my age you will suddenly see life in a different light. It’s a beautiful thing. It won’t be so bad kid, you have a great life ahead of you.
So a few more words of advice before I get going.
1)Always trust your gut, a woman’s Intuition is a very powerful tool.
2)Don’t go to bed on an argument.
3)Learn to forgive & forget because the bitterness will only weigh YOU down.
4)Remember that you can always go home to Mum, no matter what, she will always make room for you.
5)If you stop putting so much pressure on yourself you will enjoy things so much more.
6)Get on Youtube and learn how to apply makeup properly. There’s all kinds of tutorials out there!
7)Stick to factor 30 suncream – don’t ask, just do!
8)Never let anyone dull your sparkle.
On that note, I have a fantastic job and better get my ass into gear before I am late, you on the other hand missy, put that fag out and get your butt back to school!
Oh & Say Hi to little Shelley for me!
♥ Your future self x