Forget the one you slapped

Dear Kerry,

It’s a couple of days until you reach your 37th birthday and I thought I would write a letter to your 16 year old self and impart my worldly wisdom and advice that I have gained through the years.First off the hair. Don’t fight the curls girl, well at least until they invent straighteners. Too many years have been wasted on trying to deal with the frizz. Invest in some good mousse and let it dry naturally. Seriously you are so insecure at this time about your body. Lets face it you are an apple shape. No use trying to deny it and crop tops don’t make you look cool they make you look fat!!. That muffin top is only going to get bigger over the years, so try to eat less rubbish i.e. the crisps and please discover vegetables.  Celebrate your 16 year old curves, believe me not every man appreciates an emancipated stick insect.  Oh and do me a favour and give up the smoking. It makes you smell bad and trying to walk up cardiac hill on a school run when your in your 30’s with a rug-rat strapped to you hip will be so much easier. In fact get much more exercise and learn to enjoy it.

You’re currently evaluating what to do when you leave school. Become a nurse don’t bother trying to pretend to be a scientist. You have only chosen science because its what you think you are good at. You will spend the next 6 years wasting time at college and university, eventually qualifying but with no prospect of a job, since most companies only want on the job training and lab experience. So why waste your time accruing student loans and debt, when you could be working and building towards a rewarding career. In fact when you hit your late 20’s you manage to get what you always have wanted anyway and you get to make a genuine difference to people lives in the process. On that note have no illusions that midwifery is just about delivering babies..!! Perhaps you should have stuck to the 12 year old Kerry idea of vocation. You know the idea where you wanted to become a nun.

Be careful whom you share information with. I know at the moment you are probably going through what will seem as one of the most difficult periods of your life.  But what is the point of disclosing when you are not going to get much help; end up regretting it and being identified as a victim for the rest of your life.

On that note can you really trust someone who appears to utilise your experience as a way of gaining credibility. Simply, in a nutshell, do you really think that someone who lets you spend hours in their office missing schoolwork and who can’t even wash their own coffee cup should be left in charge of a 16 year old’s emotional wellbeing?

In the next couple of years you are going to end up in a sticky situation at college it will be this information that will be used against you. You will doubt yourself as to whether you are being over sensitive to the situation.  Listen to your intuition and never underestimate body language. If it feels wrong, it doesn’t make it right!! I know that you will lose a few friends in the process and some people won’t be very receptive. I, however, will admire your courage to stand up and stick to your principles.

Keep in touch with those friends that matter. At 23 years old you will wake up and open a tabloid paper to discover a childhood friend has committed suicide. You will be heartbroken that you couldn’t support him through turbulent times. You will also feel bad that you had to find out in this way and regret never having chance to say your goodbyes properly. Friends will come and go over the years however you will still be friends with the usual suspects. Cherish those friendships and never underestimate those bonds, as they will provide you with the threads that support your journey through life.

On love, seriously forget the one you slapped in the dinner hall at school. He doesn’t even want to be with you and only went out with you because his brother was dating your sister. Believe me crying to Roxette’s “Must have been Love” is not attractive and will only make you cringe when you hear it in your 30’s. Even your daughter and niece will giggle hysterically and not because of the wine but because of those letters. Be patient and wait at least another 7 years and then you will experience the magic!!

Be kinder to your family. Your sister will make you an aunt this year and although you feel it is not the right time, be supportive in her decision to become a mum. Don’t be so jealous of her also. You may see your brother as an inconvenience at this point in your life, appreciate him, as he will teach you so many things over the years including how to rock it out with the best!!.  Stop arguing with Dad, as you will find he will be your stalwart in the next 20 years. Tell mum how much you love her everyday, don’t go sulk in your room and share your day with the diary, Share with her. You will spend the next 18 years wishing you could share your wedding and births of your children with her.

Finally don’t be so hard on yourself.  You will learn to find your voice. People including myself spend a lifetime wishing they had said and done things in the past. Regrets should be for those who are not truly experiencing the present.

Kerry x


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