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Ellen’s Box – 11 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was Thirteen

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Facebook has its perks and drawbacks, but something I’m always very grateful for is the amount of content shared on my newsfeed. This week, along with a whole heap of misogynistic crap, I found a letter written by Caitlin Moran (a top babe) to her soon-to-be thirteen-year-old daughter. I think it’s a few years old but it’s so lovely and so sweet and pretty much everything you need to hear at any age, and it made me revisit my own thirteen year-old self. I won’t lie to you, I blocked out a lot of those years due to being extremely uncool/unfunny/unattractive (things I’ve just about managed to grow out of…I think), but if I could give a younger me some life advice – in less than 600 words – it would probably go something like this:

  1. Hello you, it’s me. You look sad. Try not to do this too much please. The first thing I should tell you, as an older and wiser version of yourself, is that things could always be much worse. You will learn this everyday and you must remind yourself of it as often as you can. Anything that feels like the worst thing ever will probably teach you some sort of really valuable life lesson, and with any luck you’ll go from I CAN’T LIVE to I WAS SUCH A LOSER ABOUT THAT HOW EMBARRASSING GOD.
  2. You will be ok. You might even be brilliant, but only if you tell yourself that you can be. That’s my second piece of advice: be nice to yourself. Be nice to everyone. Tell everyone that they are important, because it is true. Honesty and kindness will make you happy, and will make the world happy – and it’s your duty as a human to spread happiness and to not be a dick.
  3. However, nobody is perfect, and you will definitely have your dick moments, as will everyone else, some more frequently than others. So thirdly, make good choices about whether such behaviour is someone having a bad day/week/month, or whether that person just isn’t for you. It’s ok if they’re not. There are plenty of people who will be.
  4. You can’t please everyone. Stop trying. Throw yourself into things that you enjoy, that make you laugh and teach you stuff. On that note, work hard at school, because you’re lucky to have an education, and a good one, so appreciate it. You’re also lucky to even be here in the first place, so be nice to your mum and dad, even when they’re annoying.
  5. Your sister is the best person you will ever meet.
  6. Boys are never a valid excuse for anything, especially not when you are thirteen. Be patient and be yourself and love will find you, in whatever form that may be. It will work itself into everything else you are doing, and it will always be there, even if you can’t see it.
  7. Be unapologetic and hold your own. Don’t be a dick though.
  8. READING NEVER STOPS BEING COOL.
  9. NEITHER DOES EATING.
  10. Try not to let yourself be hardened by life. I’m saying life, but I think at this point I mean men. The structure of society – for both you and me – makes it difficult to be a woman sometimes. This will change, though, and you can contribute to that change. Again, there are always people worse off than you – change things for them first.

One Comment

  1. Habiba says:

    Really loved this!

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