Letter to my 16 year old self...

Dear Me,

You're 16, bet you didn't expect to find this in your pile of biurthday cards - oh, wait... you don't know what this is do you? Well, I'm you at 32 and your... well, me at 16. And yeah, you don't actually find this anywhere, never mind a pile of birthday cards - I think I'd remember a letter from the future. This is more about me now and nostalgia for you then.

I wrote this as I was reading a collection of similar letters to 16 year old selves, realised my 32nd birthday was coming up and thought, "hey, why not?"

As I wrote the firstdrft of this I was watching the season finale of The Flash, so look away now if you don't like spoilers... hey, are "spoilers" even a thing back there? I know "Hello Sweetie" isn't but spoilers are... well... spoilers...

So, The Flash is being given the chance to go back in time and prevent his mother's death and father's imprisonment. The chance is being offered by the very villain who caused those events in the first place. In so doing, he will be destroying the family he essentially grew up in, who adopted him, and so much of the driving force making him Barry Allen. It's a suicide mission. It's also fairly standard "Let's Kill Hitler"/"Grandfather Paradox" wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff (hey, that's a spoiler too...)

Anyway, adopted father tells Barry to do it! To change history. To change who he is. Bio-, imprisoned, father tells him not to be a bloody idiot and the way he is is great and shouldn't be changed.

And I'm with Bio- imprisoned father. This is not a change this letter. You need what you're going to go through (and it's not bad, it's just... not what you expect) to turn you into me - sadly no chrysalises or faeries are involved. But anyway, I like the me of today for the most part so tough shit. The things I don't like, I'm not sure I can tell you how to change them...

So what's coming? A lot of good stuff that takes time for you to work out.

That Queer Youth group you're part of (or will be part of?) yeah, you're not a fan of the name now but it'll grow on you. Eventually you'll identify as queer for political reasons to avoid the boxes of LGB/LGBT. And then everything gets kinda complex and queer and you wonder how else you could define - certainly not just "gay".

In 20 months or so you'll be telling Mum that you're gay as a distraction from that late piece of further maths data collection coursework. Yeah she knows. Ter asking about girlfriend as an afterthought to boyfriend should surely have given it away. Anyway, she's gonna ask a question about whether you're trans. The answer you give is completely correct. Except where it isn't. Don't stress it. That's my role.

Enjoy uni! Campus away from home works wonders for you. It morphs you in ways you don't expect and I'm not going to spoil. It's where I come from. Mostly.

You know I said "no spoilers"... ha! I lied. And I'm going to show myself a liar again as I now try and give pointers to change.

  1. Yes, you have the dexterity of a drunken bumblebee, but you can improve your fitness and stamina. Not the way the PE teachers try and do it. Look into the Couch to 5K programme. Imagine you're being chased by zombies while you do it. Yeah, it'll be strange at first but in a few years you won't be alone... but that's a spoiler
  2. Vegetables are not evil. Yeah, you're only going to discover this at your own pace but, hey, I can try like many others have tried.
  3. You're right about curry though.
  4. And alcohol.
  5. Robin Hobb's books - not as generic and dull as the covers and numbers suggest.
  6. Learning to learn is hard. But you need to learn it.
  7. "Further Maths" has 2 Rs. Count 'em. And do that bloody Data Collection coursework - much better reasons to come out exist!
  8. Look after your teeth. No really. No, more than that.

You're no better with money, your handwriting is still appalling and you're not who you expected. But you'll like me. I hope. I know I do.

anyway, you've gotta go. This is your first birthday in term time and they've gone a put a bloody exam on it - a geography multiple choice, but still (You get an A* by the way, it's fine) - so go do it! Then have a great day. In the meantime, I'll be busy preparing myself for the bundle of presents the government's going to give me in the Queen's Speech...

Alex
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