Thank you to Chloe Elliott for suggesting that I write this letter – it was very cathartic for me, and I hope it gives something to you, dear reader, just as it did to me.
Dear 13-year-old Lottie,
This letter is all for you! First of all, you’re an absolute BABE. Seriously, you’re a pretty good egg.
I’ve got a few home truths for you in this letter, and trust me – you’re going to want to hear them. You see, things aren’t as they seem for you right now and the stuff you think that everyone goes through, isn’t what everyone goes through. You’ll realise this later on and it’ll be a bit tough to deal with, but it’ll set you free in a way that you never knew it could.
Let’s get some of the more frivolous stuff out of the way first, shall we?
- Those people that you’re stressing about being friends with, won’t be your friends still when you’re older. In fact, you’re going to meet a whole tribe of people right when you need them during a really tough time and they will see you all the way through your 20’s with love, laughter and life!
- The boys are chasing you and soaking you with water because you have big tits. No, it’s not okay.
- You absolutely don’t have to have a boyfriend. I know everyone else does, but you’re going to waste your time being with someone that you have no attraction to, and that’s just silly. Use that energy on your English classes – it’s not geeky to like a subject babe, it’s your love of English that will end up leading to one of the best things in your life when you’re older.
- The reason why he said you were a shit kisser isn’t because you’re a shit kisser – it’s because his mates bullied him and told him not to go out with you because you weren’t popular and that was his excuse to get away from you. He’ll massively regret it years later. That slap you gave him in the middle of the playground is something you’ll reflect on and wish you could have done differently (namely, using a heavier object).
Now, on to the juicer stuff. You’re gonna have to stick with me girl, because this letter is gonna get tough.
Your parents are going to get divorced. You don’t know it yet, but it’s going to be the best possible thing that has ever happened. Don’t blame yourself for what happens next though. Your actions start a chain reaction that will end with you and your Mum’s freedom. It won’t be a walk in the park though, but you’ll learn what it is to be happy when you watch your Mum meet the love of her life and how happy he makes her. You’re also going to learn a lot about domestic abuse. I want you to remember though – your dad is taking it out on you because you remind him of what he lost. I’m so proud of you for sticking up for yourself. It’s not OK what he says to you and he really did raise his hand to hit you in the car. You didn’t make that up, even when he tries to tell you that you did. He’ll realise that he can’t convince you otherwise and he’ll apologise to you – but don’t think he’s sorry, because he isn’t. It’ll infuriate you that people love him so much when you know the truth about what he’s like, but your revenge will come in the form of you bossing your life and achieving your dreams.
Now Lottie, we need to talk a little about your love life too. OK, you know that feeling that you have about your current best pal, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez and the girl at ice skating? The one that you’re ignoring and putting to the back of your head because you read an article in Mizz that “all girls go through this during puberty”? Yeah, that won’t go away. In fact, when you do eventually kiss a girl, you’re going to want to do it again and again and again. I know it feels weird because you feel like you literally don’t know anyone that could be gay but – and here’s a secret – that one girl who bullies people for being gay? Yep, she’s gay. That boy your best pal is going out with? Also gay. Oh also you?
Yeah, you’re ultra, mega gay!
At first, you’ll come out as bisexual because you’re still not comfortable with closing the hetero door, but that’s ok too. And when you do eventually figure it all out, it’ll get a little more tough for you. Your Mum will be absolutely fine about the whole thing (in fact, she’ll know before you do!) but your Dad – well, he won’t be happy. When you tell him, it’ll be during an argument, and you’ll both say things you don’t mean. But, you’ll live through it, you’ll learn more about yourself and you’ll also learn that it’s alright to remove someone from your life even if their a member of your family. Spoiler alert: you’ll do so much better without him. And trust me, it really does get better.
Your first girlfriend will teach you a lot about yourself. You’ll learn what turns you on and what it really feels like to have a romantic connection with someone. But, she won’t be what you expected. You’re gonna get your first taste of heartbreak and it’s going to absolutely suuuuuuck. But, trust in the process – she was never really yours to have anyway. All of this is leading you to the love of your life and when you get to her? Oh man… it’s going to be like lightning in your veins, day in, day out! I’m not going to spoil the future for you too much but, dude trust me, it’s pretty great.
Oh, but I do need to give you a heads up on something in this letter. That one geeky redhead girl you end up chasing and living with is going to make your head spin, in all the wrong ways. You’re going to get a crash course on what it’s like to experience a violent, volatile relationship.
When this happens, I want you to remember a few things:
- You are absolutely worth more than what you’re getting.
- Poor mental health is not an excuse for physical and mental abuse. You need to get out as soon as you can.
- You are beautiful, even if she doesn’t make you feel that way. Someone’s about to come along and make you feel like you’re everything.
- You absolutely do not have to do anything that you don’t want to do. If you’re uncomfortable, say no. You don’t owe her your body.
- You did the right thing stepping in when you did. You also did the right thing leaving when you did. You’re going to feel guilty as hell, but it’s the best idea you’ve had so far.
This letter is almost done, but before you go, I just want you to know one more thing. Who you are is totally enough. You’re so funny, you’re really smart and my GOD you’re beautiful! I know you’re bigger than all of your friends, and I know your Dad thinks that you can’t wear jeans because you don’t fit into the fancypants designer ones that he wants to buy you (also, money does not equal love, just FYI), but all of that is just SO great. Your curves are amazing, your body is going to let you do some incredible stuff. Oh my god girl, you’re going to inspire so many people!
Keep your head up high please – it’s going to get pretty rough, but when it’s good, it’s really, really good. Everything that you’re going to experience is going to make you stronger, better and you’re going to be able to deal with more than you give yourself credit for. Remember to talk more. Eat when you want to eat. Laugh when you want to laugh.
Oh, and I’m still totally proud of you for sneaking that boy from year 11 round to your house when your dad was out for a cheeky snog, you absolute fucking legend, haha! (sorry mum!)