You won’t feel the need to invite them to your wedding

Dear Barry
I’m writing to you from 20 years in the future, the day after NASA announced the discovery of a new planet that looks likely to be able to sustain some form of life. It’s in the goldilocks galaxy and has a surface temperature of 22C, is twice the size of earth and has a sun about 25% cooler than ours.As a 16 year old, you are prone to exaggeration and your need for approval will see you concoct some wonderfully naive lies. Fortunately for you, you are telling them to people who will have little impact on your life within the next few months and it’s something you will grow out of very soon.

The weird thing is, the first statement about the new planet is true. And in 2011, we’re using the word amazeballs a lot to refence stuff like this. Start saying it now, you’ll be seen as a trendsetter.

There’s really no point in being able to communicate with your 16 year old self unless you at least attempt a few interventions or words of encouragement, so here they are. Sorry if it sounds preachy.

First off, you are a bummer. I know you are already fairly liberal and carefree about this stuff, but I do also know that at 16 you are pretty terrified of what your future is going to be like. You don’t have to worry too much. Society is about to shift in a few years. It will be gradual and there will always be bigots and homophobes around you. The good news is; you won’t feel the need to invite them to your wedding. To your husband. Who is half Swedish and half Kiwi. Picture that in your head. Now picture the opposite. That’s what he looks like.

It takes a while to get there and I’m not going to lecture you about all the frogs you will need to fuck before you find him, but you should know right now, that what you are doing with that skater is not love. It’s barely even sex. He’s actually just wanking inside you and he will never ever treat you well in public. Ditch him and move on. There are a lot of great people to meet that aren’t ashamed of who they are and they will all contribute to you becoming a fairly well adjusted, compassionate and giving person.

Spend more time with your sisters. They will always love you and make you a better version of yourself.
Enjoy having hair and a flat stomach.
Smoke less grass.

Professionally, I don’t know what to tell you. You’ll study acting and be very good at auditions. You’ll get a lot of work but will rarely be booked again. It’s really not your forte and actually, deep down you already know that you are not cut out for the monotony of doing the same thing day after day. The reality is, you’ll have some wonderful experiences and end up working with people that you currently idolise. You are a much better producer than artist but don’t give up on being creative. Sometimes you’ll surprise yourself.

Try not to get caught up in the glamour of it all. It will make you drop your guard and you’ll end up in some fairly dangerous situations that will haunt you to this day.

Oh, and when you are faced with the choice of doing a play with Richard Demarco or a wee part in a film called Mrs Brown, choose the film.

Now that’s over, I know this is what my 16 year old self really wants to know…

At 53, Madonna is still pretty cool although she did steal some black children and become Jewish for a while. The media persecute her for not being daring enough now or being too old or too female or both. She’s had some work done and sometimes looks like Zelda from the Terrahawkes, though mostly she’s still pretty good at what she does.

And finally, and most importantly of all. You are loved for who you are and YOU WILL ESCAPE LIVINGSTON.


Barry Church-Woods


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