Without clear boundaries or guidelines, I was asked to write a letter to my thirteen year old self. I tried to remember what I was like back then which wasn’t easy (sixteen years have passed). I wondered what advice would I have wanted, what did I really want to know and what dreams did I have. Maybe it’s for the best that my thirteen year old self can’t actually read this…I don’t think he would have wanted to hear it all.
I realised as I wrote the letter that I have a lot of anger, loathing and hatred towards the person I was and, in a sense, towards the person I’ve become. It’s an interesting exercise to write this letter, so here it is.
“Simon (aged 13),
Stop being scared of everything and everyone. Don’t pretend to be happy all the time when you’re hurting inside and while people are walking all over you. The bullying won’t stop until you deal with it – and once you deal with it you need to stop cowering in the shadows afraid that people are going to hurt you.
I wish you would learn to open up and speak to people. Hold your head high and feel confident about yourself and who you are – it’s then that people will begin to appreciate you and acknowledge your strengths rather than focusing on the weaknesses.
Somewhere in your private mind and in the privacy of your own space you have always managed to relax and be yourself. Let people in…but choose carefully. You are easily hurt and still fragile. Remember that the fragments of a broken heart leave lasting, unforgettable scars and a worried, secretive mind causes a chaotic fear that you will spend the rest of your life trying to break free from.
You know what your passion is so stop keeping it from people. I know you feel like you’d be a bigger target for ridicule but believe me, the stage is the safest place to be. You have a power on stage…controlled skill. Enjoy it and shock people with your enjoyment in what you want to do. I read a song you wrote in which you said “never let your love hide”; don’t just write the words…write the book and rewrite the rules.
You’re not ugly! You’re not a gargoyle! You’re not evil! You’ve done nothing wrong! Sometimes the most creative people are outside of the group, never quite in any circle – it’s a better place to be. You can be individual and observe. I know you won’t listen to the words…but maybe one day you’ll understand what I mean.
Hair is growing in those places where it’s meant to…so don’t worry about it. You can shave it all off when you’re older! Spots are normal and it’s natural…look closely at your peers – they all have them. I know how much you hate being short – you’ll grow. I know how much you despise wearing spectacles – you can switch them for contact lenses in a few years.
I imagine that some of these words will have gone right over your head…maybe you’re not ready to hear them yet. Maybe you never will be. I’ll leave you with one short sentence of advice: be happy, be free, be yourself and be proud.
My heart is guiding you on,
Simon (aged 28)”
I think you should all now go and write to your thirteen year old selves and see what you learn about yourself and remember yourself in a true light (no matter how painful).