A Letter To My 14 Year Old Self

I've never been particularly confident about myself or my appearance, and throughout school I often felt like I didn't really fit in. I only had a small group of friends, but that was fine for me, as I preferred having a few close friends instead of many acquaintances. I was also a very nervous teenager. I struggled to order my own food in a restaurant, and I hated going up to the till in a shop for the fear of being judged. But I've changed a lot over the last four years, and I wish I could tell my fourteen year self just how happy she would be a few years down the line.

When I turned fourteen, I started taking a particular medication that made me pile on a lot of weight. I went on a family holiday to Majorca, and it wasn't until I got home and saw the pictures that had been taken that I realised how much weight I'd put on. I was quite a slim child growing up, so my weight gain was extremely noticeable. I was so embarrassed. This completely shattered my confidence. From then on, any time I went on holiday I would be worrying that people were looking at me and judging me, and I refused to have my photo taken.

This carried on into my school life. I was always worried that people thought I was fat or ugly, and because of this I really struggled to socialise. I remember sitting in classrooms praying that the teacher wouldn't ask me to do anything, as I hated the attention being on me. I stayed pretty quiet unless I was with my group of friends, and I never did anything out of my comfort zone. I also struggled massively when it came to boys. I physically could not talk to them. I was so worried about being judged, that I wouldn't even order coffee in Starbucks if it was a male behind the counter. That sounds ridiculous to me now.

I would say that my home life also suffered. I had a lot of built up anger and emotions that I frequently took out on my parents. I also have a little brother who was only 3 at the time. He always needed a lot of attention, and I often felt a lot of jealously towards him. Being 14, there were times when I needed my parents attention too, but because my brother was so young, I didn't really get it as often as I probably needed. This caused a lot of resentment on my part. Looking back, I regret this a lot. I've always been extremely close to my parents, but between the ages of 13 and 15, my relationship with them involved a lot of arguing and shouting. 

My worries about my weight and appearance are still something that I struggle with today. I've lost over a stone since then, but even after having weekly sessions with a dietician and a psychologist, I still have days, or even weeks, where I look in the mirror and feel horrendous. But I now know that if the only bad thing someone can say about me is that I'm fat or ugly, then I must be a pretty decent person on the inside. That's all that really matters in the long run. 

There are so many things that I would like to tell my 14 year old self if I could: You are so special and loved. You are smart and caring and everyone around you loves you exactly that way that you are. Things do get better, and in a few years time, you'll be so much happier than you are right now. Stop liking that boy who has no interest in you, he turns into a bit of idiot and you'll wonder what you ever saw in him. You'll have a huge argument with your best friend, but don't worry, you make up a few months later. Just don't be stupid on social media. You'll lose someone extremely close to you, and you'll be sad for a while. But you'll get through it and you'll be stronger than ever. You'll go to university and study something that you love and you'll be closer than ever with your family. You also fall head over heels in love with a boy that loves you exactly the way that you are.

My life is definitely not perfect, but I'm in a good place right now and I'm happy. I still have days when I feel down or self conscious, but compared to how I was at 14, I'm so much happier. I'm excited to see what the future has in store for me, but it's also nice to look back and be thankful for everything that has made me who I am today. 

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