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A Letter to my sixteen-year-old self.

Dear Me, You’ve had a rough couple of years I know. You feel angry, cheated out of a happy childhood like the ones you see in the movies. It’s ok. It will “make” you as a person… one day. Not anytime soon though.

You absolutely HATE High school, and sadly you’ve already had to drop science (because lets be honest you sucked at it and would have ended up setting your teachers head on fire eventually). You’re not too sad about that right now, because who in Gods name WANTS to learn the periodic table … on purpose?! But, your dreams of being a doctor are out the window… again no worries. No one can afford to send you to University anyways :) Besides… you would have ended up elbow deep in pancreas at a dodgy government hospital anyways…!

You are not yourself. You pretend to be the person you think people want you to be. If you would listen to me, I would tell you you’re awesome, and you have a lot to give. But you won’t listen and you will carry on through High school acting like someone who makes me cringe just a little when I look back now.

Don’t panic. You pass. Clever little cookie you :)

You will work for your dad, IT. You will study, do your MCSE, lecture, and you will hate it all. Your relationship with your father will become strictly one of boss and employee, and you will fight a lot. You will eventually want to poke your own eye out if you are called to one more URGENT call about “My pc not working!!” only to find that it’s off at the wall, and realise that you can go no further doing this… so you will leave. Your fathers and your relationship will be good again. Like it’s meant to be.

See what happens when you don’t focus in Science!

When you are 19, you will get a call in the early hours of the morning. Now hold on to yourself, because this is going to hurt. Your friend, compadre, partner in crime since you were 7 or 8. The boy you grew up with, your best friend, the one who made you a cup of jelly (before it sets) to drink because he didn’t have any cool drink (You cried, you thought it was going to set in your stomach and you would die). The one who told you, we were “just quickly going to take our bikes and go to the SPCA” and then ended up taking you on a 2 hour journey on the highway, on your BMX!! The one who used to chase your bus down in high school with flashing lights and hooting like a crazy person until you got OFF the bus so he could take you home. David. The friend you hadn’t seen in about 2 years… You will be told that David had shot himself. He didn’t make it.

My darling Tash. This is one of those defining moments in your life. You will NEVER get over this. I know this because as I write this, I am holding a sob in my throat and I am 33. You will always have a regret that you didn’t do SOMETHING. But you didn’t know. Keep reminding yourself. You will always miss him. You will always cry when you talk about him.

You will have 5 significant relationships with men. Unfortunately right now, you’re in your early 20’s and have the EQ of a slug, so you don’t know this yet but it will be these men who will help make you who you are, but most of them, in an incredibly painful way.

The first you will want for the specific reason that you cannot have him. He does not belong to you. It will be exciting, heartbreaking and in the end, you will walk away because you don’t really have a choice. The lesson you learn here is to not touch what was never yours to begin with, no matter how involved he may be with you. Be proud of your choices and realise you daft cow that you can destroy people with what you do. It will hurt, but don’t worry, because the next one is soon to come.

The second, you want because he was beautiful and because he seems to love you more than life. That’s it. That’s where his charm ends. But you stay together for 2 years. He will then leave you for a “better life in another city” and then will destroy you entirely when he tells you that he never loved you at all in fact, and that he was only with you because he felt sorry for you. Now you have NO idea how much that is going to hurt you. But don’t worry, you will get over it, and you’ll be helped by someone you never thought would be there for you. His mother. You didn’t get on when you were together, but when he hurt you, she was the one to rebuff him, she picked you up, called you 10 times a day to make sure you were ok. She will get you through. I promise. And of course there will be the added joy of the day he calls you a year on, with the hopes of “hooking up again” when he comes to your city. You will retaliate by venting on him for an hour on the phone. He will cry and say sorry. You will feel like a million bucks. Immediately. Over it. He will continue to call you for attention, you will point and laugh. Lesson learnt: Beautiful packages are not always what they seem.

The third. Hmmmm…. Now this one, being the shortest relationship you have ever had, a mere 8 months, I am sad to say will destroy everything about you. The shortest, the most painful. Fall on your knees and clutch your chest in pain kind of heart ache. Because sad to say but you don’t have the best self-esteem, and were not given good emotional tools when you were growing up, so you define yourself by the man in your life. You will not get over this for a very very long time. As a matter of fact, it still stings you. Not because you still love him. But because you never really found out why it ended. I think you held too tight. But you never got a good explanation, never got your confrontation. You were left reeling. He moves to another country, moves on with his life, as if you were never there at all. You will never understand. You will always feel rejected because someone could forget you that quickly, which to you, meant that you were a nothing. Lesson? You won't learn anything except for just how much you can hurt and handle.

But it’s the end of this relationship, and getting stuck in traffic one day and thinking “there has to be more to this” that gets you to leave your job, your family, friends and country.

You will travel! You will live in London. Cool huh :) Whatever you do… avoid the kebab!

You’ll meet the 4th man in your life. He's a good guy but he too will hurt you. But you will forgive him an indiscretion, or try. You will learn that sometimes no matter how hard you try, there are some things that will taint your relationship forever and in the end you will part as friends because even through the hurt, you knew that maybe it was better this way. Before you part though, the 2 of you will travel! And that will be thanks to him that doors have been opened to you.

Now this will shock you because at 16, you can’t see how you will ever get to this place but…

You WILL stand outside of the Taj Mahal in a monsoon, soaking wet with your arms out stretched.

You WILL dive, meet village people in the mountains and feel the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters ever. A tsunami, on boxing day in Thailand.

You WILL eat French bread and cheese, drink strong coffee next to the Mekong river in Laos and learn what kids should be like when they have no PS3’s and no tv’s.

You WILL crawl around the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam, and sail around Halong Bay.

Your heart will break at the Killing Fields in Cambodia, and you will meet children that will touch your heart forever. Children who collect cans for food till 11pm at night, and are only 5 years old.

You WILL look out over Kuala Lumpur from the Petronas Towers and dodge monitor lizards on Pehentian islands..

You WILL be eaten half to death by bed bugs in Singapore. Sorry about that.

You WILL walk on a beach in Bali, touch the hand of a wild orang-utan and see Komodo dragons up close.

But more importantly you WILL finally become you.

And then you’ll meet your 5th….

Dale. He is the one who will understand you, love you and support you through thick and thin, make you laugh until you cry…. Be good to him always. We want to keep him. He’s special, and what you went through all this rubbish for. He is your cherry on top. Make sure you never let him buy an Alfa! ;)

Thankfully, You still have both your parents. Be very good to them. Always. You have your sister, your saviour. Your brother, and you have your best friend. You're a lucky lucky girl.

Be good to yourself Tash. Don’t be so hard. You will end up having a life that some people will covet. Even with the hard parts.

You’re a good person… most of the time ;)

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