A letter to my 16-year-old self

After reading Chynna’s series of letters to herselfGeorgie’s recent letter to her 18-year-old self and laughing at all tweets from the hashtag #WhatIWouldTellMy15YearOldMe this morning, I was inspired to write a letter to 16-year-old Pauline. 16-year-old me would’ve finished GCSEs and going onto A Levels at this point (I think) and would be in the midst of a toxic relationship. Oh boy… ?

Dear Pauline,

I love ya to bits but…

You’re too young to know what the hell you’re doing.

Where did you think getting in a serious relationship at your age would get you? I’m going to cut you a bit of slack, though (for now), I understand that this was the FIRST TIME a boy noticed you and you love Disney films and think those guys who notice you are prince charming themselves (nope). He’s two years older than you too so he must know what he’s doing and what he’s saying must be cold hard facts (WRONG) The next time he upsets you by saying you’re not “good enough” for him and that you need to look a certain way for him otherwise he won’t love you anymore, please stop crying and remember that if someone has requirements for them to love you then that isn’t love.

And frankly, he’s just a waste of space and time.

Unsurprisingly soon enough, he won’t be in your life anymore when you find out he’s been cheating on you. I wish he left even sooner because 2 years of damage is hard to heal. Yes, you will freak out, have a meltdown but then your heart will heal eventually especially with the help of your friends and family.

Friends. You have lots. But being in that relationship caused you to invest all your energy, time and love into that asshole who didn’t deserve it. You’re much smarter at 20, you’d be glad to hear but in your next relationship you do exactly the same. Well done P. GG. Great work, woo. 

But you’ve learned now for good hopefully. Step back, spend your efforts on other people other than your boyfriend at the time. Like your friends.

I know that you’ve been trying to “become skinny” to impress him by eating a cupcake for lunch, starving yourself and running with no fuel. Stop.

  1. You’re destroying your body
  2. Running after eating 1 cupcake will cause you to faint. As it did that one time, ugh WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN TO YOUR BODY?!
  4. You’re hot when you’re strong and not looking like an extremely thin, weak runway model. You will realise this in 4 years when #gains are a thing.

If you’re  thinking of dying your hair today and plastering your face with layers of makeup, don’t. You’re beautiful naturally, your dark features will break some hearts. 💔

At this point, I know you’re confused on what you want to do with your life with school hammering on about how well you need to do at school to be successful in life and it’s a little overwhelming. I’m thankful that you have kept your options open – thanks, smartie pants, it’s serving future you well at the moment.

I’m so glad you took Computing as one of your GCSE subjects. I know you were scared because it was dominated by boys and you didn’t feel “good enough” alongside them. But you killed it! Don’t ever let the fear of it “only being for boys” get in the way of what you want to do! You’d be happy to know that you keep pushing these boundaries even though right now it sounds totally uncomfortable, it’s the most empowering thing 4 years later!

And I know you hate your name and you’re going around telling everyone you meet how much you hate it but you shouldn’t because these emojis spell your name out perfectly 🐾💪 Cool, right?

You’re still a pain in the ass, stubborn as hell, and disrupt everyone’s peace with HSM soundtracks but I love you! Even though I say I wish I could change all the stupid things you did, I’m glad I can’t (thanking science/engineering/tech/lack of magic for now) because these experiences will really shape you in the next 4 years.

Keep putting your 110% into things, you’ll achieve a lot more than you think. Know you’re awesome, know your WORTH and don’t let people whether that is that jealous girl in your Science class, teachers or stupid boys make you think otherwise!

Also stop playing SL to stay on top of the leaderboards because that game dies (and your K/D is better on Halo anyway) and get on with your maths homework (I wish you could actually read this because if there’s one thing I would let you change is your attempt to take further maths as an A-Level. Don’t. It will make you cry a lot more than any boy stomping on your heart.)


P.S. You still don’t have a bunny at 20, you should really ask more aggressively. 

21 responses to “A letter to my 16-year-old self”

  1. Love this. You’ve grown so much and I’m so proud of you. Glad i’ve seen you come out the other side a better person x

  2. Sounds like a lot of boy problems, which is something we all experience at some point that sucks, but makes us smarter / stronger in the long run.

    Was really nice reading this, may even come up with my own version for my blog! I’ve definitely changed a lottttttttttt since I was 16, even since I was 18 and starting uni, and I’m sure I’ll even look back at 21 now in a few years and realise I’ve changed a lot since then.

    Well done on going through with Computing even though you were skeptical, stepping out of your comfort zone always leads to the best results. 🙂

    1. By all means go ahead, I’d love to read it. I really enjoyed reading Chynna’s and Georgie’s too!

  3. Beautiful! I don’t know what I’d tell my 16 year old self, but it would probably be this: Don’t worry about love, finish school and realize that your parent problems are not on your shoulders anymore and though life is tough, it will get better. You just have to realize and take it. Also, you’d find true love when you are older because you need time to grow up and learn.

    1. Thanks for the comment Michelle, that’s one thing I wish I kept telling myself too: stay positive, it’ll be okay. ?

  4. Ahhhh, man. Boys seem to have a huge effect on a lot of us back when we were younger. It’s weird how we give them so much power to where we feel like we have to do things to please them and sacrifice our own happiness and identity ~_~ Uh, nope. I never really did much of that when I was young, and I still refuse to change myself just to get a guy. Nope, nope, nope. That goes against my own principles of being who I am. XD

    Btw, kudos to your 16-year-old self for taking that computing course. I’m glad the fact that it was dominated by boys didn’t stop you from taking it. Nothing is just for boys and just for girls! Society love to separate things based on genders, and it needs to stop!

    All in all, I loved reading this letter to your younger self 🙂 It’s clear you’ve come a long way in four years! Keep on doing the best you can, girl, and always be full of life and confidence! ^^

    1. I know, I can’t believe how much I cared about what they thought. It actually makes me laugh thinking about the time I invested in worrying and caring over their stupid comments!

      Yes definitely!! ?? That’s why I love CF:G – I love seeing how female students can see that they can also rock in the tech industry!

  5. This is exactly what I should’ve told my 16 year old self too. 🙁 To never go into a serious relationship with the first boy who gives you attention, smh!

    I’m sorry you had to go through 2 years of that.
    Our first exes seem like they’re the same person, unfortunately.
    You live and learn. It’s an experience, I tell myself. I’m glad you’re out of that relationship.
    Stay strong! x

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment, Meaghan! I totally agree – I’m so glad I’m out of the mindset that if a guy shows attention to me that we automatically have to get together. It doesn’t really work that way, 16-year-old self!

  6. Haha I loved this part to bits:

    your dark features will break some hearts

    There are many happy moments to have been shared with sixteen-year-old Pauline, as well as some pretty upsetting ones and big fat warning signs. Sixteen is such a tender age, I’m not surprised that you found so much to tell yourself about that you’ve now re-learned and completely turned over. 🙂 You’ve definitely grown up a lot since you were sixteen (it’s funny how much time flies too, eh).

    Boys (men) are really a problem for us young ladies sometimes. ? I laugh now, but I can’t deny it. As young ladies we get so caught up in our appearance and trying to impress other people, constantly being influenced by the media instead of doing what is right for us and just loving ourselves for who we are. I’m glad you’ve grown into that person now. Sixteen-year-old me would also be laughing at the fact that #gains are a thing. I’d probably have to put up with a food fight with my immature self. ?

    If I was an emoji I’d probably just be that new squid emoji though, just like, don’t mess with me brah ?

  7. This is so perfect.<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  8. Absolutely love this! I’m sorry that you had to experience that with your boyfriend, and I definitely could have used this advice at sixteen as well! You’ve inspired me to do one of these posts in the future as well.

  9. I would tell my 16-year-old self about the same thing when it comes to relationships. Sometimes, I wonder if it was worth going through them because I found myself as a ~tougher~ person now than before. Most young boys are silly. You gotta find yourself a mature one who’s goal in life is to be successful with his other half ;). Anything being for a specific gender is silly. If a guy wants to be a nurse or a girl wants to be a computer scientist and will be bossing at it, so be it! Hearing about the progress you made fitness wise is pretty awesome. Keep it up~

    Look at you now, kicking butt and being the best that you can be ;).

  10. I love that I inspired you to do this! Why is it that boys ruled our lives when we were young? Ah well, we live and learn. 2NE1 were the best back in the day – I swear we bonded because of them XD

    Was great to read this! I really wish there was a way our younger selves could read these letters. Would love to see their reaction.

  11. Oh 2NE1. I was sad to hear that they’re breaking up, haha.

    I loved your letter! I think this is a great way to reflect on yourself and how much you’ve changed over the years. And also to remember all those insecurities and worries you had and to realize that you no longer feel those same insecurities and worries years later.

    Also – I loved the postscript you added! xD

  12. This was such a lovely post to read! Boy troubles are the worst, especially in our teens. What you had to go through with that guy sounds terrible, we should never be told we’re not good enough if we don’t meet some unreasonable standard or condition. It seems like you’ve learnt and grown from the experience since then which is the important thing 🙂 I had a few friends in school who wanted to lose weight so would hardly eat and I tried to tell them that it wasn’t a healthy way to do things. Thankfully they seem to understand now that they should be keeping a balanced diet. And well done for pursuing a subject that’s ‘for boys.’ Our gender shouldn’t limit what we study and I’m glad you went for it and now you’re pushing the boundaries and having a blast. Thanks for sharing, Pauline!

  13. Nice, I don’t know what I would say to my younger self. Maybe warn myself about my future health, lol. I feel like I care more about my looks now than I did then but I honestly don’t remember. I feel like my surgeries killed off all those memories.

  14. I really enjoyed reading this and getting to know more about you! It looks like you’ve come a long way from where you were at 16. I find that lots of boys are idiots at that age and I’m glad you were eventually able to break free from your ex. My mother once said that sometimes, the more we try to please other people, the less we please ourselves.

    When I was 16, I was convinced that I was going to get my first kiss and that I would finally have a lasting relationship with someone. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case but it’s ok. I started to appreciate myself more at that age.

    Keep being awesome!

  15. Haha, this is cute! And looks like you’ve grown a lot!

  16. Aww, I liked reading this and seeing the positive message you would tell your younger self! Sorry to hear about the rough relationship you had with your ex. Someone who thinks their significant other isn’t “good enough” doesn’t deserve to be in a relationship. My parents didn’t allow me to date until college, and back then, I was annoyed and thought it was unfair. Looking back, I’m glad they did that. (Though, that didn’t stop me from getting into boys anyway and having my heart broken.)

    That’s awesome that you took Computing when you were younger! The tech field might be male-dominated, but women are definitely good at it! I was pretty stubborn when I was younger and did stupid things, but like you said, the experiences shape us down the road 🙂

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