the “letter to 15 year old me”

the “letter to 15 year old me” challenge…

as if BEING 15 wasn’t difficult enough first time, I was given a BLOGGING challenge last week from @Amowriting a twitter friend.. Ann Marie is a writer – and had written herself some words of wisdom. i am NOT a writer! I am a person who blogs…who says what they feel onto a page… BUT i do rise to a challenge. So when Amo raised the gauntlet…i had to accept.

My problem was immediately obvious.
I had written generally words of wisdom to my younger self before… but specifically 15.
WHO was I at 15?
I have to try to remember that first.

  • I’d have been 15 in 1979-80.
  • It was my 5th year at school. EXAM year. I HAD to do my best. this head of mine has always had standards it needs somehow to live up to. So hours of study…have to do my best!
  • i was the music nerd in school.
  • i was also one of the lifesaving squad although when there was a clash between music lesson in Dublin and fun withe the squad… i gave up the fun.
  •  i was an eldest child.
  • i was a compliant, eager to please child. ( that had got me in vulnerable positions and little did i know would again as an adult…vulnerable to misuse of POWER).I didn’t challenge advise given to me. I tried sooo hard to impress my parents. but that drive didn’t come from them but from ME. The one phrase i remember when I was about 12 was when Mrs G said to daddy “you must be very proud” as I was given a radio broadcast in RTE young Musician…and the gutpunch answer “not proud- she has a talent” i realised within the adult years meant that i HAD a talent, a responsibility and he was not proud as that in irish life was a sin… of COURSE he was on the inside!. i WAS good enough!
  • i was a quiet, odd teen – but happy in my own world- with my music.
  • NOT COOL….and not a rebel. …not an icon..not hugely confident…and really aware that the rest of my year group were OLDER than me. The fact that I was therefore NOT at their discos, not into their music, not in the “boyfriends” group seemed obvious to me. To be honest my understanding of that made the times that I saw myself the BUTT of the sniggers acceptable – or at least understandable. So they didn’t unduly bother me…were noted…and filed…
  • because of the MUSIC in me, I was aware that i was exceptionally talented. I had done and got first class honours in Grade 8 aged 12. That meant that I was terribly useful to the nuns in school. I was the accompanist throughout the remainder of school. I would also be plucked out to be vocal soloist when needed. Again this wasn’t a popular skill and didn’t add to mt street cred – but again…the looks thrown between the cool girls registered with me but caused me no sleepless nights.
  • The irony was that peers didn’t hugely bother or matter to me. Maybe I WAS (as i have wondered in blog before, one of life’s undiagnosed ASPERGERs) BUT whether I was or I wasn’t i did have an escape world in my music. I didn’t practice because of any parental drive but because i LOVED it and could get lost in it.
  • i did have a few younger girls who i felt close to….i STILL am!
  • I suppose I was also slow to have a fist boyfriend – if THAT is what you would call your first attempt at managing to get a kiss at a disco. Again i probably did wonder or more HOPE that I would have REAL relationships but it didn’t worry me yet.

So ADVISE for me? WHERE would I begin?

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  • be yourself. Be the best YOU that you can be…never measure YOU in terms of anyone else. it is GOOD to be different . That makes the world interesting
  • YOUR best is good enough! never stop short if your best or you won’t ever know what you are truly capable of and you deserve to know what you can do!
  • you KNOW already you have strengths and talents… .nurture them. They can be the butt of many jokes in  childhood, but you will be admired by many of those people and others as an adult. so be good at what YOU are good at…that’s the way you were made.
  • do NOT apologize for being right. Do not move an inch from a correct position. Stand firm – even if you are the only one standing there. Right is right. Have the belief in yourself to stay true to that!
  • find it in you to care and stand up for those who need a voice and can’t find one. Do not avoid people in trouble who ARE bothered by the SNIGGERING voices in your life. You have the ability to care, and to care enough means to take on the  cause. you always know it is the right thing to do.
  • life will NOT be easy…you will have battle scars, bruises, (you already do). awful deeds MAKE you they create the character you will become. They will make them stronger. Make you wiser and give you perspective that will benefit you in the long term. So when you hurt and you need to lie down do….you will be stronger when you get up again!
  • people do not last forever. don’t plan to live in your retirement. Live your life…you have your present. Live that!
  • a mistake is a step closer to success. each mistake is used by an inventor as a step and a learning point. If we give up at the “fails” in world’s eyes, we would never make progress. Keep at it. You will get there just don’t see it as an ending…it’s progress in your learning curve.
  • it is okay NOT to please others all the time. you have to be you. Just make sure your reasons are good and do what you need to.Learn the word NO at work. Be able to stand up when you are being overloaded and say NO!
  • real friends want to be there. and they are few but REAL. they are the ones who are with you when the shit hits the fan and the acquaintances judge you. THEY will always be there…but look at them…be there for them respect them!
  • NEVER allow yourself to be treated badly – you ARE worth more. you are worth good. speak up for yourself and ultimately people will respect you more for that. it is NEVER okay to be bullied.don’t walk away as the quiet 15 year old Helen did, turn around and tell them… you NEVER deserve that and should always remember that.
  • sometimes you have to put YOURSELF first. That isn’t selfish, that is essential maintenance. If you are not fit to do something…it is time for you to step back and care for you…and don’t fight through it…the world of work and life do not erect plaques for martyrs…however we convince ourselves we are needed.
  • separate yourself from people and things that drag you down. off load them. There is a time when that is the right thing to do both for you and for those leaners and users…they need to change themselves…not an army of you could do that for them!
  • stop living with the weight of “what-if” worries on your back. you can not prepare for your future…there is NO plan there…no definite….stop driving yourself mad with wasted worry.That is an eldest child thing…and very definitely an IRISH ingrained part of our DNA.
  • NOBODY is better than you. you may choose to walk a certain path and others walk theirs. you may be the youngest colleague, the least qualified…but you are EQUAL. demand respect. demand to be treated properly. and fairly
  • you are not responsible for being meek and compliant and subservient. question the system that makes you feel that. If it is your Job, address it. If it is a medical appointment this man;s wages are paid by your taxes, question him… YOU MATTER.
  • don’t procrastinate. you will be left with regrets. Deal with things you dread when they appear.
  • You are a mix of CREATIVITY and LOGIC. that is a unique mix. When you have a thought….SPEAK it…it will not be wrong – maybe different – but not wrong.
  • Never ever be put off giving an opinion. Don’t feel it is an apology…keeping quiet when you have a voice to speak for yourself, is NOT doing you justice. USE the brain and USE the voice! Never feel overwhelmed and unable to use either. you aren’t 15 Helen…don’t walk away…save someone else the experience by SPEAKING UP!…you CAN.
  • be YOU…enjoy being you, let others respect you…and leave your mark – a positive mark in your life.
  • begrudgers, liars, gossips, bullies….they are pathetic. they don’t matter and are always seen for what they are. MOVE ON.
  • be the best example you can be to your children – when you have them…then let them try to build their lives on the bricks, and with the tools you have given them. Be there to support, but let them learn their way. The guilt of am i good enough is part of that Irish DNA… we all have it
  • Your best is good enough Helen….that’s all you need to do.


oh and Ann-Marie’w words of wisdom are in THIS post!…

And Amo…next challenge…keep it EASIER!



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