A few years ago mum gave me a copy of Dear Me, a collection of letters written by 75 celebrities and personalities to their younger selves.
Among the authors are James Belushi, Kathleen Turner, James Franco, Jodi Picoult, Alan Cumming, Danni Minogue and Hugh Jackman and it started me thinking about what I would say to my 16-year-old self.
Back then (18 years ago, cripes!), my family had just moved to the north side of Brisbane and I had swapped from a co-ed school on Brisbane’s south side to the all girls school, All Hallows’ in the heart of the city. Most of my clothes came from City Beach, I had a casual job at Blockbuster Video and no idea what to do when I finished school.
I’m fairly certain my biggest worry was whether I’d ever get another boyfriend (some things never change).
How’s life on the north side of Brisbane? Have you made any friends yet? Just kidding, I know you have. I also know you’ve dyed your hair a sweet shade of copper because I’m like the creepy fortune-telling machine from Big.
I feel like I should (or could) impart all kinds of wisdom on you, but I don’t want to spoil too much of what’s to come so instead I’m going to keep this to the really ‘important’ facts of life.
For starters, you are allergic to mushrooms; knowing this now will save you a lot of stomach pain in the future. And stop trying to eat when you’re wearing ridiculously tight jeans, just buy a size up and be comfortable.
Speaking of clothes—and I know how opposed you’ll be to this idea —stripes and dresses are going to play a big part in your future style. Seriously. The time will come when you don’t own a pair of board shorts so enjoy them now.
And one day you’ll wear bikinis on the beach. In public.
On that front, do not try to wax your own bikini line. This will only result in you spending hours sitting on the floor of the bathroom trying to carefully peel the wax off without screaming or alerting anyone else in the house to what you’re doing. This is a lesson you can do without.
When you decide to sun bake in a g-string (are you sensing a theme yet?) put sunscreen on your bum or you won’t be able to sit down for days.
Your OP may not be what you hoped due to your amazing ability to daydream the days away, a habit that will serve you well in the future, but the good news is you’ll still end up where you should be. And Dad will deal with it, especially after a University employee points out how smart you actually are (just keep reminding him).
Biology and algebra will never play a part in your real life.
Vodka will make you think you can dance and you should always believe it. Dance whenever and wherever you like.
Don’t worry about the English teacher you have next year; you’ll get your revenge once you finish school and it will be so, so sweet.
You are not now, nor will you ever be, as fat as you think you are.
One day you’ll date a guy on TV that you once had a crush on, but it’s not Scott Speedman. Or Ryan Phillippe.
Mr Big does not exist (this will make more sense when you start watching Sex and the City).
Embrace family holidays; they won’t happen as often as they do now once you finish school but when they do soak up all that craziness.
I know you’re in love with Prince William, but Prince Harry is the one to watch. Trust me.
To steal some advice from Oprah (yes, she is still around), ‘No’ is a full sentence. Apply it to dates, jobs and basically anything you don’t actually want to do. I suggest you use it every time someone asks you to their semi formal.
Find your tribe and love them hard (starting with those three you live with as they will always have your back).
There will be times throughout your life when you feel like a huge impostor who doesn’t know what she’s doing but trust me, you’ve got this.
And finally, when you choose your formal partner (he looks like a Backstreet Boy) and he starts acting weird, ditch him and take the guy your parents have as a back up. It might change everything.
PS. Wear your retainer or you’ll regret it in another 16 years!
If you were to send a letter to your 16-year-old self, what would you write?