Sweet Sixteen Saturdays: Letters To Your Younger Self
Lis Ferla’s entry in our nostalgic series from the ladies behind TYCI.
I really like your new haircut.
It was only when I sat down to write to you that I figured out that I am twice your age, so I figure you’re wondering whether it all came together? Well, I did in fact become a journalist, although not in quite the way that you would expect – and the law degree, as confused as you feel about it now, was the right decision. I work for a big firm, but I still get to write about bands so basically I’m a music journalist who can afford to buy a house. I have a husband, and two cats. I never changed my mind about kids.
It would be a stretch to say that all of your dreams will come true, at least in the way you expected them to. But give it a couple of years kid, you’ll figure out that it’s the same for everybody.
I want to tell you that it gets better, that although your ways may be a little strange there are so, so many people like you out there you’ll never be lonely. I know that you’re already starting to figure that one out, but your 17th birthday is going to be the happiest you have ever been at school. Next year is going to be monumental in so many ways: starting university, yes; but also your first job and meeting the two people that even now you’ll still call your best friends (there will be another two, but they’ll come later). You’ll get that other ‘first’ out of the way, too, along with your first heartbreak. You’ll also start your first blog: oh, don’t give me that face, here in the 21st century it is very much a thing and it will lead to almost every opportunity you will ever have.
You’ll also receive your first diagnosis of clinical depression but hey, them’s the breaks. If you read back some of your old diaries you won’t be massively surprised.
Lisa-Marie – you’ll go through a lot of names, but you’ll grow out of Elizabeth quickly so I’m not going to rise to it – I want to tell you that it takes some people a lifetime to become properly comfortable with the person that they are, so the fact that you will manage it in 16 years is going to rank among your greatest achievements (incidentally, you get one last brilliant set of exam results and then it all becomes considerably harder to measure). There won’t be a “lightbulb moment”, exactly; more a gradual acceptance. Until then you will do some things that you are not proud of, frequently involving the opposite sex, because of how hard it is for you to accept that people actually like you, but eventually it will stop feeling like a hammer blow every time you find out that somebody doesn’t.
You won’t get everything that you ever wanted, but you will get some pretty cool shit. This will eventually include an all-expenses paid trip to T in the Park and two pages in the Sunday Herald in which to write about it. So don’t waste too much time comparing yourself to others, because you’re doing alright.
And please, don’t ever lose the enthusiasm that you worry makes you seem a little bit dorky. Turns out you can make
a lot of some money writing about the things that make you happy.
Lis (aged 32), Bridgeton, Glasgow.