Dear sixteen year old self,
Right now you feel lost and confused. You're questioning your life but that's okay. I want to tell you that it's okay to feel scared and unsure about the future. It's also okay to change your mind and say no. Especially, when you don't agree or don't want to do something.
There will be moments when you’ll feel pressure from your friends, family or a guy that you're head over heels for. You will want to make everyone happy but honestly… the only person you have to please is yourself and actually, anything you do won't have any special significance. People won't care what you do as long as you're happy. I know this because I'm 27 now, it's taken over ten years to realize that. So here comes the advice that I have learned so far and want to share with you.
Around your early twenties you will find yourself spiralling. You will feel sad, lonely and jealous. Everyone around you seems to be progressing in their lives (but actually everyone is also figuring out their way). The fear inside consumes and imprisons you leaving you to fester on your negative thoughts. When you finally feel like you've hit rock bottom to the point where your existence has no meaning; a single spark will alight inside you that will tear through your body which pushes you to quit your job and leave your boyfriend to undergo an unforgettable adventure.
Within six months, you will move halfway across the world to teach and travel. Unfortunately during your travels you will experience heartbreak. This type of heartbreak is one that would shatter anyone to pieces but for you…You just stand for a moment. You stand in the silence until your spark ignites once again giving you the strength to take bigger leaps. You unleash your creative beast allowing yourself to be angry, sad, weak, tired and lonely. You draw and draw and draw until you start to fill the hole in your heart. As you begin to heal, your mind and heart opens again realising that love comes in many shapes and forms. I have found a new love. I want to become an illustrator which is crazy, right!? (as you read this you’re probably laughing to yourself and thinking “sure! coming from the most uncreative person ever“). However, only after you've pushed through the fear, expectations and self hate, you will radiate. You will fly so high that you will discover another side of you that you or anyone didn't even know that existed.
Through your many experiences you will understand love, loss, and pain. These attributes are not something to hide away from. They will build you up and make you into a special human. People will tell you that you're too kind and sometimes they'll take advantage of your kindness. Nonetheless, you will meet some incredible people who will fill your life with so much love. Most of these are your students who have come from all walks of life. They will inspire you to thrive in your job and pursue your creative passions.
Your friends and family who you consider temporary will become everything and more, especially your foster mum. She will always support your decisions, good or bad. She will give you the strength to fight when you fall and most importantly always be present when you need her. Your friends from high school, to university and throughout will be your beacons. Whenever you need help your friends will always be there.
Before you reach any successes there will be many challenges and failures. You have to keep trying and trying again because life isn't easy. I'll repeat that one more time - life isn't easy. People will tell you what you should do in life but no one will tell you how to do life because **NEWS FLASH** nobody knows.
Fun fact: happiness cannot be compared to anyone else’s. No one’s happiness is better or worse than yours because YOU are YOU and YOU decide what YOU want to do. Currently, my happiness consists of living in a tiny apartment, working six days a week and drawing illustrations everyday. And you know what, I'm more than okay with that! Every day when I wake up I feel inspired and excited to live another.
Finally, I know sometimes you struggle to let go. I have to tell you that your past doesn't define you, it's a part of you. Occasionally, past memories will make a surprise appearance which will make you question yourself or the people close to you but ignore that negative voice. You can do and achieve anything you want. It will be so, so difficult but with each milestone; your heart will be filled with so much self love and that love will be shared with everyone around you.
Be kind to yourself and be kind to everyone around you.
P.S. Don’t forget - You are here, you are real and you matter.
Image credit: Original illustration by Diana.
Last modified on Friday, 22 February 2019 11:08