So, yesterday I was shown this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4jgUcxMezM, which is basically people with melanoma talking to their sixteen year old selves. So now, without too much further ado, here is a letter from my 18 year old self to my 16 year old self.
Before we start, I just want to say I have no idea how this is going to turn out. It might be funny, it might be hard, it might be downright painful. But I'm going to write it, and you're welcome to read it.
Dear 16 year old me,
You are more beautiful than you know. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. I say this though I know that in two years time you still won't believe me. But I believe that one day you will look in the mirror and see yourself the way other people see you.
Keep reading, and keep writing. Don't throw your writing out, and try not to let it turn into a crumpled mess at the bottom of your schoolbag. You're going to want that later.
Go easy on yourself. You're in for a rough couple of years. People are going to hurt you and the last thing you need to do is hurt yourself. And I know better than anyone that old habits die hard. But you can and will overcome this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I know that right now, you don't like yourself very much. You think you're a bad person and wonder how anyone could ever love you. But you need to know that you are loved more than you could ever believe, and that doing bad things sometimes does not mean you are a bad person. It means that, like everyone else, you are a good person that makes mistakes.
Believe in yourself. You have the ability. Don't miss the chance to show it. Apply yourself.
Take every opportunity you are offered.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes strength to acknowledge that you are struggling and to accept help when it is offered.
There are so many people that care about you and want to support you. Let them. You'll make it so much easier on yourself. Going it alone is no fun at all. Value the people who stand by you.
The darkness you feel, that isn't you. Let it go. Ask for help. Your deepest fear is that by losing the darkness you will lose yourself, but I promise you, you won't. You're much stronger than you think.
When I look back over the last two years, the memories that stand out most are the painful ones. So, you're gonna have to be strong for a while. But you can get through this.
Here comes the part that's hardest to write. Treasure those people that matter to you. Tell them how much they mean to you. Say the things you're saving for later. Don't wait until tomorrow, because one day tomorrow will be too late. Tell your friends you love them. Thank your teachers.
Appreciate your home, and the people there. You don't know what you've got until it's gone but the more you find joy in things, the more happy memories you create. Create joyous memories there.
Go easy on your father. He loves you more than you will ever know. Hug him and tell him you love him. Do the dishes. CLEAN YOUR ROOM. Tell him how much you appreciate everything he does for you. Cook him dinner. Tell him you're proud to call him your Dad while you still have the chance.
Go home for his birthday. Just trust me on this one. You'll regret it if you don't.
And be nicer to the cat.
Don't take chemistry in year 13. Focus more in calculus. Enjoy yourself. Study during study periods.
Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.
There are tough times ahead for you, but you're strong, and you're brave, and you're going to be fine. Things will turn out alright. You're doing well. I'm proud of you, and I'd like to think you'd be proud of me too.
Stay strong buddy,
Jessica Howatson, aged 18.