A lot of traffic coming to the blog right now is for a post about where to buy plus-size clothes for teenagers. Teenage girls, predominately, with a couple of stores thrown in that would work for the guys too. The search terms got me thinking about my teenage self and what I would say to her as an adult; if she’d listen to me. Not just about body image and hanging in there through what was to come, but about growing up. About ‘making it’ and the harmful effect that distant goal had. I’d want to talk to her about finding her way, about happiness and opening up.

It’s been over 20 years now since I finished high school, so the memories fade. They dull a little at the edges and the concerns I know I had. It’s easier to see those thoughts as silly or something that I would get the better of. But I’d want her to know that they’re valid and she was right not to trust them. I’d want her to know that being different, and always a little outside of the group, isn’t something to be ashamed of. To be different, even when she struggles against it, is a gift. I’d love for her to see that sooner before she started to pull back and hide.

 

A letter to my teenage self - Suger Coat It

A letter to my teenage self - Suger Coat It

 

I’d want my teenage self to know that following the good feelings isn’t as selfish as others told her it was. That being teenager is literally the best time to try stuff on for size and see what fits. Read the books alone in your room or lay in the sunshine surrounded by water. Climb that hill, ride that bike and test your limits. Please do it now, don’t be scared of what others will think of you, try to put that aside. Now is a perfect time; I try to remind myself of that very same thing. Stretch and grow, listen to your body and shut out the opinions of others. Stop covering your mouth when you laugh.

I’d wish for her to know that the faith she has in herself isn’t misplaced. Yes, she’s already old for her time, but over time that will feel less like a gap to be closed. But, please girl, stop believing that you have to be serious, ticking those boxes, to be a good daughter and a success in this life. It’s not true. Yes, drive and dogged determination brought you some amazing experiences and things in life; a husband, first business and home. But it’s not the only way to get those things. And I hope you will learn to find patience; to stop forcing yourself and those around you forward.

 

A letter to my teenage self - Suger Coat It

 

And finally, there is one last thing to say to you, my teenage self. And I would be grateful if you could listen carefully to me now, friend. Time will pass, the years will go by as fast as anyone ever told you they would. But there’s plenty of space for you to live your life in the moments and days to come. You have space to grow and change, to fail and start again. Time hasn’t run out on me yet. So, trust yourself when that little voice says it needs more time, to go slow or to look before you leap. But don’t wait too long either. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Your family have always had your back. A small group of friends too. Trust them, but mostly, trust yourself.

 

That’s what I’d tell my teenage self, what would YOU tell yours if you got the chance?

%d bloggers like this: