As I happen to be in Johannesburg for South African Women’s Day I thought I’d post something in keeping with the day. So I’m posting today to raise awareness of a campaign a friend of mine has set up to combat depression amongst teenagers. Her idea is to invite no-longer teenagers to offer a bit of advice to their younger selves, so that teenagers of today can read through some of the issues the seemingly confident adults around them experienced at their age, and feel a little bit less alone.
This is not an exclusively women’s related problem but I think it’s appropriate for the day as I am a woman and I was a young female once upon a time. But I’d invite anyone who wants to take part to do so, you’ll find no gender discrimination here!
If like me you think this is a great idea and would like to get involved you can add your own advice to the Tumblr page http://selfesteemat15.tumblr.com/, where the words of advice to many a younger self are swelling the archives on a daily basis, or you could create your own blog entry and link to the twitter feed #SelfEsteemAt15. If you want to see what other people are posting follow @SelfEsteemAt15.
If you’d like to share your words of wisdom or a link to your entry here too, I’d love to know what 15 year old you and 15 year old me might have had in common.
Below is the advice I quickly scribbled out to younger me.
Dear 15 year old me
I will give you a quick piece of advice because I am currently taking a quick break from a job I am passionate about. So it is possible to make a difference in the world and to ‘be the change you want to see’, even if you currently have no clue what to do with yourself. I can’t remember who said that but even at 15 you had the internet so you can google it.
There are two pieces of advice I would like to give to you. Firstly, be true to what you know is right. Sometimes we all get led astray and it’s easier to join in with the crowd mocking others than to be the one who is mocked but you know this is wrong so if you aren’t yet brave enough to defend those lone rangers at least don’t add to their misery and maybe throw them a little bit of kindness now and again. It will help them and it will help you more than you can realise.
Secondly, don’t be afraid of failure. Yes you have always been pretty good with the smarts and I know you embarrass easily and are currently afraid to try new things, unless everyone else is already on board, but don’t be afraid to take risks. Sometimes they will work out amazingly well and you’ll wonder why you were so worried in the first place, sometimes you’ll fail a couple of times before you get it right and sometimes you’ll just fail. But there is nothing wrong with that.
Finally, I know that sometimes you will reach points when everything seems so terrible and you want to curl up into a ball and disappear, but trust me, these hurts and pains you experience they will heal and you will be a stronger person and know yourself better because of it. So don’t be so hard on yourself and when everything really seems so terrible then just trust me and just keep putting one foot in front of the other because these times will pass.
Oh and very quickly, as for what you look like, give yourself a break and stop comparing yourself to others, you are you and that’s damn awesome.
Love 30 year old me xxx
p.s. life doesn’t get boring as you grow up, I’m excited to meet 45 and 60 year old me, I think we are going to be great 😉