Letter to my 16 year old self
43 Meadow View,
Dear 16 year old self,
Ok, this is going to be a shocker, but Elton John is gay. Yes he is. I don’t care if he marries a woman. He’s gay.
Oh and BTW (that means ‘by the way’ BTW) I know you’re worried because that Rangers supporting, douchebag at school keeps yelling how you’re a lesbian. And you’re bothered because though you don’t think you are, he’s so persistent he might be right. It’s Ok. You don’t like boys or really anyone that way yet. Spoiler alert, your sexuality isn’t decided by anyone else. Especially by what people shout at you. Make a mental note, Lynn, what people shout at you is generally not the truth. The reason people shout is because they really have nothing smart or inspiring to say.
Although, while we’re on the subject, bullying someone for being a lesbian, makes as much sense as bullying someone for having feet, or curly hair, or a dimple when they smile.
There’s nothing weird, shameful or unnatural about homosexuality. The love of another person is the most wonderful gift in life, and the itinerary of their frontal pant area really has very little to do with that.
Right now, it feels like you’ll be living in this little town and going to school forever. You won’t. In 3 years time, you’ll be living and working in New York.
New York won’t be easy. You’ll witness drug addiction way too close, and what you see will put you off drugs forever. That is a good thing. People use all sorts of stuff to make them feel they’re doing life properly. Don’t bother with any of that. Dabble in whatever you fancy, by all means, but don’t get too caught up in any of that posturing. The point of life is experience, why would you want to dumb that down?
Stand your ground. That sweet little funny guy you like, but don’t want to sleep with, don’t. His feelings will be hurt and you will feel bad, but instinct is an ally. That sweet little guy has something called “AIDS”, a horrible new disease that, very soon, will seem unstoppable. In 5 years time your smart, funny friend will be dead.
Life is not fair. Don’t expect it to be. And while you’re still breathing, don’t complain that it’s not. But like I said before, instinct is your ally. Stop trying to ignore it.
Your heart will break a couple of times and (though you each time you won’t believe it) it really does work out for the best: These relationships are merely practice runs. You will meet ‘the one’ by chance.
You will know and so will he. And suddenly all those others will seem pointless.
You will lose your Mum and Dad and it will be excruciating and, even though you won’t want to, you will keep breathing. You will tell yourself, they’re not really gone, and they’re just cruising round the Bahamas and don’t have phone contact. But sometimes you will remember.
You will marry ‘the one’ and have two, quite perfect, sons who drive you crazy, but who keep you breathing when you remember about the Bahamas. You will worry about the world you bring them into. And honestly, that’s understandable.
There will be time that the world will feel like it might have broken itself. There will be too much hate, and too much crazy and the most repugnant examples of humanity will appear to be in charge of everything at the very time when the earth needs help most.
Remind yourself, 16 year old Lynn, that no matter how powerful these individuals paint themselves, no human is immortal, and the fate of the world really lies in the hopes and beliefs of those who are the same age you are now.
Be respectful of the young, Lynn. Remind yourself often that age is not a qualification, or a burden, but a luxury. The young will face trials specific to their own generation, Don’t assume you always know the answer because you were their age once.
Oh, one more thing.
There’s this amazing invention – even more impressive than a video recorder – called a computer. And something called “the internet”. These two things will change the world (and when I say that, I really mean it). You know how you used to wonder what people in history must have felt like when electricity was invented. You’ll find out.
Anyway, back to Elton (I know, I can’t believe I’m using him as a metaphor either).
He’s not only gay, he’s happy. But to be that he’s had to weather a lot of storms. Some people love him, and some people don’t, and he is OK with that, because he is happy in his skin.
Be as honest with yourself as you can bear to be, 16 year old self, and you’ll be your own best friend.
Lie, and you will always be your own worst enemy.
And remember to be kind to people you meet along the way because, even when you don’t agree, they’re trying to find a way to navigate their best life too. Integrity is its own reward and stupid is as stupid does, and the right of the individual to be able to make mistakes and learn from them is vital.
Lastly, the big event of the year (aside from your 16th birthday) is that Prince Charles is going to marry Lady Diana Spencer. They’re going to have a much bigger party, but you’re going to have a much better time.
Fiftysomethingyearold -Lynn Xox
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