letter to my 15 year old self
A is for art. Just because you’re better at writing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment and learn painting and sculpture.
B is for bastards. The world is mostly populated with these. Some of them are quite charming and attractive – beware.
Speaking of which, B is also for boys. Pretty much all the ones you secretly like like you back, so don’t be afraid to talk to them.
C is censoring yourself to please others. Don’t do it. It’s bad for your writing and you’ll inevitably disappoint those people somehow anyway.
D is for depression. Be prepared to conquer this over and over again for the rest of your life. And make the most out of the times when you’re alright.
E is for emancipation. You’ll achieve it sooner than you think and after it happens the world will be your oyster. You’ll also swallow it whole and get food poisoning from it.
F is father. Nothing changes in that department; your relationship will always be the same. The sooner you learn to give yourself what you think you need from him, the better.
G is for girlfriends. You need to get more of them. They’re very good value.
H is for hair. Don’t perm yours a second time, at least not until the first perm has completely grown out.
I is for independence. You can have too much of this. It’s ok to depend on people and ask for things sometimes.
J is for jeans. You will grow out of every pair you buy for the next ten years. So enjoy being a twig with boobs while you can, but don’t get too used to it.
K is for kindness. Practice this more on yourself and then on others: in that order.
L is for love. Be brave in love. Be brave enough to leave if someone abuses you. But when it’s real, be brave enough not to run away from it.
M is for mistakes. You’re a quick learner and you never make the same one twice when it really matters – so don’t worry about them.
N is for nature. Spend more time in it. Have a relationship with it.
O is for obsessive behaviour. You sometimes need to force yourself to do normal healthy things like sit in a different spot at the cafe or have friends come to stay at your house even though these things make you uncomfortable. Start practicing now to avoid becoming obsessive later on.
P is for party. Throw one now or you’ll never throw one in your life.
P is also for poetry and prose. Nobody reads poems so practice writing prose. But keep writing poems, too.
Q is for quiet. It’s ok to prefer it to parties.
R is for relatives. Make some serious effort to get to know yours, even if it means traveling a very long way. They won’t all be around forever.
S is for suicide. It’s not a great idea. Not just because if you die it’ll upset everyone who loves you and inevitably almost none of them will understand why you did it – also because if you survive, it’ll have some terrible long term implications for your health.
S is also for scientists. They almost all think they’re smarter than you. In reality, you have the interest and capacity to learn about physics and biology but most of them could never write a good poem.
T is for tact. A little goes a long way. Especially when dealing with people you love. Don’t assume to know the answers to everyone’s problems, or that you’re the right person to say everything you happen to think of.
U is for university. Take a literature major as well as a writing one. It’ll save you a lot of stress, time and energy later.
V is for valium-like medications. They can be very handy in small doses. Try not to keep a big supply in the house though – and hiding them from yourself won’t work for long.
W is for working out. Get in the habit of doing it. You’ll need a brilliant sports bra but it’ll be a worthwhile investment.
W is also for wife. You won’t be one. Not for a very long time, if ever. I think warning of you this now will give you considerable comfort.
X is for Xerox machines. Don’t worry; you’ll never need to learn how to use one.
Y is for yelling. Don’t worry; you’ll never need to learn how to do it.
Z is for zero. There will be times – many times – when you feel like you are one. Really, you’re about a seven. Whenever you feel like a zero, think of the number seven.