A letter to my younger Self

 

Dear 13 year old me,

You’re one of the quiet ones, you prefer books to real life people. You spend a lot of time in your room. This isn’t a bad thing. You still have the friends you grew up with, to them you’re Nerdy Spice. They all shave their legs, have done for a while. They all have boyfriends and stay up till after midnight. Mum won’t even let you near the tweezers and you have an 8 o’clock bedtime.

You’re embarrassed that you have a bed time. When your friends call and Dad tells them you’re in bed, you have to explain it away with a stomach bug the next morning, on the walk to school. But those 8 hours of sleep are a god-send. It gives your body the time to re-boot, time for your hormones to untangle.

Although, now at 25 years old, I crave early nights and those blessed 8 hours are essential. Without them I’m a cranky pants.

Remember when you used to call your friends during that 13th summer, let’s go swimming! No. Why? Because all of your friends had ‘that time of the month’. You were so upset because you didn’t have boobs, or hairy armpits, or a period.

In desperation, you cried to mum, “I’m never going to get my period, I’m going to be the last girl ever to get them!” You felt so left out and mum calmed you down, and said in a quiet voice, “When your periods start, you’ll wish you never got them.”

Listen to mum. She’s like Gandhi. Do not scoff at her rules, jokes, or words of wisdom. Mum knows what she’s talking about & she’s right.

You will hate your periods, boobs get in the way and shaving becomes a full time job but without a pay day.

You will put a lot of pressure on yourself on your journey through secondary school. You will never meet your expectations, but you have to realise that you have already made Mum and Dad so proud. They are proud that your Parents’ Evenings go well, your grades are good and they are grateful they don’t have to worry about you causing trouble on the streets at night. They can trust you to make good choices and to do your best in everything.

Be thankful that Mum and Dad are strict parents and that they love you enough to use rules to mould you into a better person. In another 10 years when you’re living on your own in Northampton, you’ll be glad that Dad taught you about Online Banking and made sure you are street-wise. You’ll be grateful that you spent time babysitting your little brother and sister because it taught you responsibility. Be grateful that Dad taught you about money and that you have to work hard and save for things that you want. Thank Mum for teaching you compassion, for being a shining example of a good-heart.

Over the next few years, you will meet amazing people. Some you will keep with you forever and some you will lose as they go their own way. Life takes everyone in different directions. Learn everything you can from these people, how they influence you and the impact they have on your life. You can learn so much from people.

You will push yourself and set expectation that you are never able to achieve. Learn to love who you are. There are some tough times coming up and you need to be strong.

You will meet bullies, exams, heartbreak, fall-outs with friends and fall-outs with parents. You will move 90miles away from everything you know & everyone you love. Be outgoing, meet people, try new things.

Don’t try to micro-manage everything. It’s OK not to have a plan. Don’t rush into adulthood and force yourself into a life you’re not ready for. Everything doesn’t have to happen right now. Be patient

(No, I haven’t cracked Patience yet, but I’m trying)

Alas, you will have to kiss a few toads before you marry your prince. Open your heart to love. When you find it, it’ll take your breath away. This love will not be an easy one, and you will face some tough situations, but he’s so worth it. He’s exactly right for you, the man you pictured when you read all mum’s Danielle Steel novels. You have found your best friend. He is the other half of your soul and he loves you irrevocably and completely.

When you take a tumble, be it due to illness or lack of judgement, remember that anything worth having is never easy. Have the conviction to stand back up.

You will experience hurt and pain and defeat and there is no avoiding this, but know that you are a strong. No matter how alone you may feel in those dark days, know that people love you. They will shoulder this hurt with you and it is OK to let them for it is too heavy for you to carry alone. Acknowledge this early, before it breaks you.

Do not let sadness bind your personality and drain you but hold fast to who you are. Do not let pain change you, try and stay soft. Stand strong against the regret and bitterness that will taint your caring nature. Keep striving to be a good person.

Your sensitivity is a gift and it allows you to connect with people on an emotional level. You have empathy and understanding, which people will lean on. Do not be afraid to cry, crying is not a sign of weakness. It shows that you care enough about something and you’re willing to break trying to get it.

Be confident enough to laugh at yourself. It’s OK to be weird.

Never apologise for being who you are. Stay cool.

From your 25 year old Self   xo

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Breaking the Habit

Ever since I was little, I have bitten my nails. I have no idea how it started, my mum bit her nails and so did my dad. So maybe it was a learnt behaviour, who knows?

Over the years, I have tried time and time again to quit.
I’ve tried painting my nails bright shades, and every time they chipped or I got bored, I would re-paint them. That was successful to a point but attempting this prior to the exam period was a mistake.

I have tried having false nails put on, so mine have a chance to grow underneath. This is expensive. Also, usually the growth would last 2-3wks, after the 1st week mine would start to look a little shabby with gaps between the nail and cuticle. It would also make my cuticles really dry which would make me want to pick and chew them. Fail.

I am now 25. I so want to have my nails sorted by the time I’m 30! I’ve researched online, read a few blogs and got some pointers from wikihow. I’ve mentioned these on my Twitter account @aimee_finlay
I have now put a plan together- operation #breakthehabit is a go!

  1. When I’m at work, I put post-its on my computer screen, or my desk that says: “DON’T BITE YOUR NAILS!” This is important for me to acknowledge this all the time- what I struggle with the most ‘mindless nibbling’. I’m not even aware I’m biting my nails sometimes, like when I’m watching a movie (dramas and thrillers are a nightmare!).
  2. I apply a coat of Sally Hansen’s Maximum Growth every other day. This can also be used as a bottom coat. I have also tried Sally Hansen’s Miracle Nail Growth whilst I was at university and I saw a definite improvement and my nails felt stronger.
  3. Then, I apply a layer of nail biting solution which is available at Boots. This comes with a nail brush for easy application. I have also tried Pretty Quik Nail the Habit dip & dry solution- really fast and handy for your handbag or when travelling. The only issue with this is that I found the solution transfers to food (ie. crisps, sandwiches etc)
  4. I have also enlisted my husband to prod or tell me when I’m biting them or like I might.

So, this is the first stage of my nail growth regime. I will share my triumphs and failures- what works and what doesn’t!

This is after a couple of days of abstinence (don’t judge):

You have to start somewhere…

A xo

Lessons

This last year I have learned a lot. About myself. About other people. About life.

It’s not been easy, but it’s been a valuable life lesson none the less. These are but a few, but good ones:

1. I’ve learned that no matter how much anxiety you bring to yourself, you can never alter someone’s thoughts about you. Not always. Not everyone is going to like me, I’m ok with that now, I get it. Not everyone likes the same flavour ice cream and that’s ok- like my ice cream metaphor? Ha. I have learned that you can’t please everybody, try and think about yourself too. You shouldn’t have to explain why you are who you are, you shouldn’t have to change yourself or your opinions.

2. There are times when you’re going to break, you can only push yourself so hard and stretch yourself thin for so long before you give in. Realising a weakness is not a failure, it’s an opportunity for you to learn how to pick yourself back up. I’ve been guilty of feeling bad when I can’t give 110% in a job. I feel guilty when I don’t manage get all my jobs done, or I forget someone’s birthday. Shit happens, give yourself a break. If you’re burning the candle at both ends, something is gonna get lost somewhere, just be thankful that you don’t lose yourself.

3. It’s ok to ask for help. You don’t have to be strong all of the time. It’s exhausting.

4. The door swings both ways. Do not take all the responsibility of a relationship on your shoulders; whether it’s intimate, family or friendships. There’s a lot to carry by yourself! It is both parties’ responsibility to maintain a relationship; visiting, phone calls, texts, etc happens both ways.

So the next time someone says: “I haven’t seen you in ages, I thought you’d forgotten about me?”

Your inner response should reply: “And you let me?”

5. Be aware that people change. The people you went to school with are now grown up and, like you, have their own lives. People grow apart as there lives take them on different paths, don’t worry. With enough effort (on both sides) you can still be in each others’ lives. Just know that babies, careers, relationships, houses, all the grown up stuff, take time and a lot of energy; be patient and thoughtful.

6. It’s ok for you to be mad at people if they’ve hurt you. If you’re hurting or upset because of someone’s negative actions against you, don’t feel guilty for feeling that way.

7. Do not sweat the little things. I know, right? That’s easier said than done. But it’s not good for you, and can cause even more problems. Are you worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet? I’m talking about the “What if this happens? What if I can’t do this?”- it’s like worrying about ice cream that hasn’t melted yet (have I used ice-cream somewhere else?). These little things, you’ll realise, seem so stupid and tiny when something big eventually rears its ugly head. You’ll want to kick yourself for it. And, I am the ultimate culprit for doing this, and that’s why I’ll look old and haggard before any of you.

8. Don’t apologise if it’s not your fault. I’m forever sorry- even if I have done nothing. Someone bumps into me, I’ll say sorry. Someone spills their drink on me, I’m sorry. I am trying to break out of this habit. It’s hard.

9. Know when you’re in a rut and get out. Know yourself and identify negative changes early. Physically and emotionally. I wasn’t paying attention and it took me longer to recover.

10. Realise what you’ve got around you. I didn’t know just how good I had it until I didn’t have anything else. Until my crappy health smacked me in the face and made me pay attention. Don’t wait for a smack in the face.

As I said, just a few of the lessons I’ve learned this year. I want to thank all those who taught them to me one way or another.

A xo