I don't know if you guys have been watching The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet, but you should! Amanda (who just happens to be John Taylor from Duran Duran's ex-wife and mother of his oldest daughter, Atlanta) basically just sits in the living rooms of famous women and interviews them. It's very personal and honest and women I never really liked, I have a better understanding of (even if I still don't like them, i.e. Gwyneth Paltrow). But, at the end of the interview, she asks a couple of rapid fire questions (one of which being what is your favorite sexual position...and trust me, some people give away too much information, i.e. Jane Fonda saying that doggie doesn't work for her anymore because of her knee replacement!). The question that always intrigues me most is "what would you tell your 14 year-old self?".
I've pondered this question a bit, but not nearly as seriously as I did today when Darren Hayes (one of the loves of my life), posted a letter on his Facebook page to his 15 year-old self in celebration of his 40th Birthday, and in typical Darren fashion, it's bloody brilliant!
So, I've decided to write myself a letter...I actually haven't thought about the wording of this, so what's about to happen is freestyle and pretty unpredictable, so there is no telling how it's gonna turn out!
Dear 14 year-old Keebs
(and yes, as 41 year-old woman, people still refer to you by your nickname),
I know I shouldn't give you clues about the future, but I'm going to anyway...just in case the altering time theory is true, I'd love a little (or even a lot) of alteration, or at least be able to learn sooner about myself so that I can spare myself numerous years of struggle!
First off, I know it's easy to say and harder to put into practice, but please stop thinking that you are alone in the world. I know you feel like the world is against you and the very thought of it is eating away at you, but it's because people don't understand you (and most never will). The condition you have hasn't really got a name yet, but don't worry, you're not crazy (and neither is the rest of the world), there is a medical reason why you are the way you are and you will learn to deal with it, better than most people actually, once you start trusting yourself.
I promise that you will learn that the opinion of others is completely irrelevant in the overall scheme of your existence, and trying so hard to gain acceptance is what is doing your head in! You're not meant to be part of society, at least not the society you currently find yourself trapped in. The struggles you face with dealing with your weirdness, aren't really struggles at all...embrace the weird! It will be your making! But do keep learning how to control your ticks in public, that will be an invaluable trait when you are older and keeps you slightly ahead of the others with your condition (yes, I told you you're not crazy, there are others like you, believe it or not!).
Which brings up another point...stop treating Am so badly! She'll be the only person you can count on in your future! It was never her fault that Mother and Gary stopped looking at you the same way...Mother can't see past pleasing the men in her life and your step-dad only cares about the bloodline, blame the sources, not the catalyst of the change in their treatment of you. Yes, I know you ceased to exist the day she arrived and you've been acting out ever since, but look at it more as you can finally start living in your head, which you so desperately need to do for your sanity instead of throwing tantrums to get the attention drawn away from her. You're head is a wonderful magical place and you're going to be spending a lot of time in it!
Your tantrums never work, by the way (or BTW as we say now), and I wish I could say that you eventually stop them, but I can't...you still have your moments. You will eventually learn that Am will always be prettier, smarter, and just plain cooler than you. If you have moments where you still feel jealous as hell about it, that's OK because she has made a life for herself worthy of being jealous over, and I don't THINK she holds it against you!
You've got a tremendous sense of reading people...frickin use it! Stop trying to please certain friends (and you know the ones I mean) because it's useless and they are long gone to you now...one will be gone sooner than you think and you'll realize what a waste of space she was!
The boy who you think you have a crush on (OK, I know, you totally LOVE him), well, to put it bluntly, get over the rat! He never holds down a job and eventually becomes a preacher with fifteen or so kids (or so the rumor mill goes), and he really was never good enough for you anyway (even if you think you're the one not good enough for him)! The other boy you kind of have a crush on (and you know who I mean, the ones you're so-called friends make fun of you for talking to) IS worth your time and becomes a really decent bloke...eventually! Tell your "friends" to hang and like who you wanna like!
Besides, in a couple more years, you're gonna become friends with someone you never thought you would, and you will still be friends to this day (if only through email occasionally, but she still holds a special place in your heart and when you look back on your high school life, her friendship is the only good memory you have). The others will no longer even be on your radar!
And speaking of preachers, it's time to put your foot down and refuse to go to church if you don't want to. Mother forcing you is just making you hate the church altogether, so get out now and start exploring other options (which you will do later in life, but not when you're in a good place spiritually, so it's useless). You can be spiritual without being religious, they are two completely separate demons (so to speak). Read about all the religions and make your own mind up, don't listen to what they are forcing down your throat...there are options out there and the years you spend without your spirituality are some of your darkest!
But moving on, what a very different life you've had compared to what you are expecting. You're not a rich recluse living on your own private island or in the English Countryside, you're a poor recluse stuck not 20 miles from the town you hate so much. The energy you wasted hating your surroundings only ended up hurting you in the end by keeping you trapped in the very place you so despise. I know you feel like you don't belong where you are, and you're right, you never did, but you are there, so focus on getting out instead of dwelling on the fact that you're there! Study harder, focus more on school, realize what you love and focus on that! And go to college away...one of your biggest makes is going to A State.
Yes, I know you spend countless hours drawing and you think that's all your good at (and for), but ask yourself, "does it make you happy?". You already know the answer...no it doesn't. Keep it as a hobby, but don't try to use it to gain the tiny bit of admiration and attention you might get from it. It won't last and it ruins any future you had in it. Your father will not care one iota when you switch majors to Art, in fact, he'll ridicule you for it, even though it was his idea. He's just jealous because he didn't get to finish his architecture degree.
Which leads me on to the next point, the hardest one I'm gonna try make because I know you won't listen...don't try so hard to impress your father, because he won't be there when you need him (and realize he never has been and kick his ass off that pedestal you have him on). And all those promises he's making you, ignore them because he will never come through. He's got his own life and his own family which you ceased to be a part of the second they came into being. I know you think that your step-mom is your friend and you worship the ground she walks on, but look closer at her, you'll see the truth, and the same with your other sisters...you only exist to them when you are in their face and your step-mom will always make sure that her kids come first over you, even if you were there first.
You will spend your entire life pining for your daddy, even after you realize that he's lost to you, and I wish I could make that particular hurt go away, but I can't because I still feel it today as acutely as you do then. It's been five years since I've spoken to him, and not a day goes by that he doesn't pop into my head at least a million times. I haven't yet found the off switch for him in my brain, but one day I will, and maybe if you start looking now, I might be able to find it when I get to 42!
In a couple of years you are gonna start a job at a lab that, even though you leave for a while, you will end up working at, probably for the rest of your life! Know that the people you can't stand will become really good friends and the people you really like will be the most hurtful to you. Again, open your eyes...it's written all over their faces!
Oh, and I really shouldn't tell you this, but someone will briefly come to work there that is really hyper because she drinks coffee like a fish and smokes like a chimney, but she will have kids that you will babysit, albeit again briefly...hug one of them a little bit tighter because she will die a very violent death in a school shooting when she's in middle school.
You are beautiful (no matter how big or small you get), you are funny (even if your sense of humor is a bit dark), and you've got an amazing mind (when you choose to use it), no matter what people are gonna tell you (and I know what they say, particularly your step-dad), but don't worry, eventually people will believe how badly he treated you because when you are no longer around, he turns it on them. You won't be able to help the fact that you feel vindicated, but embrace it, it will give you a nice chuckle now and again!
Oh, and stop carving on your wrists with your fingernails in class! People don't care that you're suicidal and we both know you'll never go through with it! Trust me, the problems you have in your twenties and early thirties are far worse than anything you are going through now and the scars of all that carving have practically faded away now. Don't take that bottle of pills you are thinking about taking, because all you're going to do is sleep through the weekend, pee the bed, and wake up bright and early Monday morning just in time to get ready for school! No one noticed you didn't come out of your room for two days anyway!
One other thing, when you are in your late teens, you will start going to a psychic and she will warn you against getting involved with a certain man (even though she'll tell you that you won't listen)...bloody listen to her! You don't need to marry him just for the sake of being married! He will ruin a big chunk of your life and even to this day he will still stalk you! She tells you exactly when he's due to come into your life and you'll only have two weeks from your first visit to her to find another job (because you work with him)...DO IT!! Get away as far and as fast as you can!!
That's about it! I know you won't listen to a thing I've told you, and you might even just do the opposite out of spite, but hey, if you do, then we won't disrupt the universe because things will be exactly the same for me! Just know that even though you think no one loves you...remember that I do and, trust me, I'm enough to get you through a hell of a lot!! To thine own self be true!
PS, when the time comes to do your senior paper...don't let your teacher talk you out of Persuasion and into Wuthering Heights...you'll end up hating it! And definitely have her double check your grammar before you turn it in! She will gladly help you and it will be why you don't get an A++ on content and a D- on your bad grammar. Believe it or not, even at 41 you still regret doing your senior paper on Wuthering Heights!
Well, that's it! I'm not gonna read over this because I may feel too inclined to change things and disrupt the purity of it, but I do issue a challenge for all my fellow bloggers to do the same...write a letter to your 14 year-old self and see what happens!
Oh, and soapbox dismount for today!