Thursday, March 1, 2012

If I knew me at seventeen

I was thinking about what I would want to tell my seventeen-year-old self. After some thought, this is what I came up with.  I would tell myself:

About ten years from now, you are going to feel the same.

You will still be insecure, still get the odd pimple or two (which you still won't leave alone even though you know you should).

You will still not know a thing about styling your own hair, and still be wanting a bag of Skittles for breakfast.

You will still be intimidated by outgoing, confident girls. You won't know what style of clothing suits you. You still won't have a clue how to carry a tune or dance.

You will still be feeling not pretty enough, not smart enough, not skinny enough, and not as talented as those around you.

BUT I would tell myself that I have learned that  ten years from now you will know pimples come and go and no one notices them on your face as much as you do.

You will know your hair doesn't need to be perfectly styled everyday. With young children and a busy life, simply having clean hair is enough.

You will know that wanting a bag of Skittles for breakfast and actually EATING a bag if Skittles for breakfast are two very different things. And when you do, at least go for the snack bag, not the family size.

You will learn to get to know those women who intimidate you and that you have nothing to lose by being friendly. Some will become great friends, and you will realize what intimidated you was simply qualities you admired and wished you had.

Your sense of style won't change a whole lot. You will stick with what you are comfortable with, but still have a few "weird" items. Those shimmery, purple Docs with still be there, but thankfully the jeans with all the safety pins up the side will not.

You will learn that even if you can't sing or dance, your children will love you for your effort. But don't mistake their enthusiasm for indications of improvement, or you WILL get a wake up call and asked;

"Please no more singing Mummy, it enough now."

You will know pretty is different for everyone. That looks change and that good, lasting, loyal friends don't stick with you for your appearance. They stick with you because you are comfortable with each other, with the bond you have formed. You know your appearance may attract a man, but after about five minutes your personality, intellect, and sense of humour is what will keep any man worth loving.

If you don't feel smart enough, you can change that. As much as school feels like a burden that will never end, you will eventually miss that constant learning and progression and seek other ways to continue your education.

No matter what size or weight you are, you will still feel the same. Your thighs will always seem a bit chunky and your stomach never flat enough, but you will know it's how you are supposed to be, and you will remind yourself you are not just a skeleton, nor should you look like one.

You will know that you have talents you don't recognize as talents as they have always been there. You will know that when you feel like you are not as talented as those around you, rather than feeling envious of them, you should make a goal to develop those skills you admire in others. Any skill you really want can be learned. It may come more naturally to some, but you will learn that if it's worth it to you, you will put in the hard work.

You will be surrounded by wonderful people who love you and who carry you through the day to day hurdles of life. They will be your sunshine.

You will still feel the same as you did at seventeen, but you will know better.

And that is good enough.


  1. This would have been very handy some time ago when my three girls were growing up. You are wise beyond your years Jo. Maybe something to do with living with constant pain and enduring it well has given you time to ponder and reflect and be inspired. This was beautiful.

  2. You are such a wise sage Joanne and always have been. You never cease to amaze me. NB When you get into your 50's, two new friends accompany the pimples...wrinkles and grey hair but fortunately we are blessed with poor eye sight so we don't see them as much! Love you so much! Mumxx