If I had ten minutes with 19 year old me, my goodness I may well have been extremely hungover, but I would have so much to say …
I carried with me, like many of us when we were those mistake loving older teens, discontent feelings and dissatisfaction for who I was, predominantly on the ‘outside’. That last year of being a whimsical and almost carefree teenager was one of the best years I have had to date because of starting the pandora’s box that is UNI; but it was tainted with the shadow of self-doubt plodding alongside me about those little things that at the time, were simply huge. With a few years under my belt now, I’d have a good word with myself and here are just a few aspects I would begin with…
Why is it sometimes we only realise whilst wading through hindsight?
1- ‘Love what you see in that reflection of yours…’
I would just grab those shoulders of mine and shake them loose. I look back at snaps from those mainly messy days and nights of being 19 and only now recognise how I should have loved those legs because back then they didn’t chafe in the heat once I had walked 10 yards (Amsterdam was a struggle back in summer 2016 for this exact dilemma). I would stop myself from patting down my tummy in the pale pink midi dress and changing to a black baggy playsuit instead through fierce fury because I didn’t look like the gym goddess on Instagram that was most likely holding herself in a v painful position to look that stunning. No-one likes to tilt their pelvis back for that long. I would say ‘Oh for goodness sake get ya mid-drift out hon’ for every time I wanted to wear the lacy Topshop crop top I adored but whenever wearing it, felt just that little too conscious to rock it. I wasted so much time disliking who I saw in the reflection of any mirror, window or puddle and I could kick myself for it now (would probably miss, I haven’t got the best self-defence skills). I was just fab as I was.
And only now do I have my eyes open to that. On the flip side, I do consider the frustration that hindsight can hold and now when looking into that dusty mirror, through any reluctance, I aim to recognise and appreciate the aspects of myself I love. You know, it is ok to do that. You are allowed to bloody love yourself! The sooner you can start doing that, the sooner you can really appreciate you FOR you.
2- ‘Please don’t replay how you said hello for the 100th time, you said it just fine …’
I can’t begin to count the numerous occasions I analysed how I said HELLO to friends, acquaintances and strangers (like when you were purchasing a mocha from Costa, not total randomers) throughout being in my later teens. It became slightly routine to do so. It was self-doubt founding the rumination of if I said hello in a too nicer way, or with a far too blunt delivery. Should I have said it with a lower tone or should I have said it at all? I became so aggravated by each session of over-analysis post greeting anyone and what I would say to myself for this is; don’t worry. Everyone is so incredibly pre-occupied with their own eventful lives that they actually couldn’t give two sh*ts about HOW you said ‘hey’ to them, it is just really nice of you that you did. I’d also say that the extreme analysis was ok to experience, and it is universal to so many young people to pull apart their social interactions and scrutinise every second. That is common and it doesn’t make you stick out like a sore thumb by any means!
Oddly enough, now as a more seasoned 22-year old, I do still have moments that whip me off guard where I begin to rapidly ponder over why I said ‘heya’ with such a rasp that I sounded like a voice double for Phil Mitchell. However, most of the time I don’t worry at all. I like how I say hello, and I love the fact I say it to almost everyone and anyone. It has taken me time to adjust my thinking with this. But trust me, it can be done.
3- ‘Just enjoy the moment … ‘
Funny isn’t it? How many things our parents and loved ones say to us? And how much of that as young wild ones we decide to brush off. One thing my Mama has always exclaimed to me is to ‘live in the moment’ which was a serious struggle whilst in this erratic stage of my life. I always wanted to know what was next? I have made it here but what is going to happen after? I always desired more of the moment or to move on. It is almost like living in fast forward (around 2 X) and having to reach that point where you look up at the sky, take a deep breath and realise that ‘being in that moment’, whatever it is, is simply beaut and THAT is the right way to go about things.
Why this is so poignant to me is because there are a real handful of memories that I feel if I had of been in the moment for, I would be able to cherish even more now- 3 years on. And with time, the frustrating thing is as we all know, you can’t get the bloody thing back. But you can make the most of every second to come (where possible of course, it isn’t always doable), and now I have cracked open the early (EARLY!!) twenties, I frequently nudge myself to enjoy the cappuccino I’m sipping away at, or to enjoy watching TOWIE on the sofa with Mum, or to really take hold of those moments where you just can’t stop laughing. It doesn’t have to be a big sparkly moment to be present in it- it can be the smallest of occasions such as the walk to work, or your Friday night takeaway ritual. Just grab those seconds and take all you can from them. I didn’t do that then, but I will MOST certainly do that now and from here on…
One of my most treasured quotes by the icon that is Helen Mirren…
‘If I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to use the words ‘F*ck off’ much more frequently!’
And with that,
Thanks for reading!
PHOTOS: Whilst at Applaud Coffee, Ipswich:
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