This letter is published as part of a Girls Out Loud campaign to raise awareness of the need to empower and inspire the nation’s teenage girls.
Girls Out Loud is a social enterprise on a mission to provide young women with professional, female role models from their local area who can help them navigate the tricky teenage years.
This year, the organisation is hosting its first ever Shining Stars Ball to raise money for its vital work. To find out more about Girls Out Loud, please visit girlsoutloud.org.uk.
Nikki Scrivener is Co-Founder and Director of Fourth Day PR, a PR agency with offices in Manchester, London, Paris, Berlin and Casablanca. Throughout her 20-year career in public relations, she has mentored many women, both on a formal and informal basis. She currently sits on the advisory board for Girls Out Loud.
Let me tell you that no matter how much you think you won’t or can’t, you can and you will.
Love – Even though you have an incredibly decent boyfriend, you’re just too young to play at being grown up. That’s why you’re always paranoid he’s going leave, which actually just makes you miserable. You don’t really ditch that personality trait until much later, and you have to work very hard at it.
You’ll love four people but the fourth one will change you forever. For the better.
Family – you’ll spend years analysing how much your family has influenced and affected you. But the truth is, everyone’s does. And you really don’t have it that bad. Stop blaming mum for what’s going wrong. It’s bloody hard being a parent – just you wait. You won’t stop trying to be different to your mum but you’ll come together during some horribly difficult times, and some very frank conversations will help you to understand each other better.
Friends – you’ll have some absolute corkers. It’s impossible to put into words how important and amazing they’ll be. Give as much of yourself to them as you can. You’re going to laugh, cry, fall over, dance, sing, do the right things and the wrong things with them many, many times.
Work – You’ll surprise yourself. School will be one of the happiest times of your life but you’ll spend the whole time feeling average intellectually, poor financially and flabbier generally than everyone else. What a waste of time and energy that is.
You’ll do what you need to do – which isn’t as much as you should do. But you’ll come out ok. Oh, and when they tell you you’re not good enough to do history A level, ignore them.
You’ll go on to be a risk taker, not knowing really where that comes from – although it could be the result of a thunderbolt in your early 20s. You’ll need a bit of help then to get you through. But you will get through and you’ll throw caution to the wind and risk everything to start your own business when you’re 28. And while you still won’t ever believe you’re good enough to do it, it’ll still be going 15 years later.
You’re always going to be an only child with many clichéd insecurities and a niggling sense of being on your own. And you know all those clubs you do over lunchtime and after school? I’m afraid you won’t beat that habit of filling every second, even though you’d much prefer a lie down at 43.
You’re not going to shy away from trying pretty much any experience going really – they’ll just get a lot more wholesome as you get older!
You’re going to be more than ok. No-one’s going to see you as a fraud. You’ll have three unbelievable children and be part of the big family that you always wanted. So stop crying over Joan Armatrading songs, try to be healthy but not ridiculously so, limit yourself to one Thomas Hardy novel per year, talk to your dad more and don’t waste time on people who don’t love you.