A Letter to my 14 Year Old Self

Dear 14 Year Old Rebecca,

It’s not much fun being 14 year old Rebecca. Everything makes you worry. The only relief you get is eating pudding, and Friday evenings with a stack of books and two days of blissful no-school ahead of you.

GCSEs are two years away, and you will surely fail them and become homeless. You aren’t top of the class in anything like you were in primary school (apart from English) and most of the subjects seem like foreign languages. What cruel sadist invented Physics? Will you ever get a decent mark in maths? Every lesson feels like you’re learning through a thin veil of tears and frustration.

You can’t fit into any friendship group at school, so you’ve decided to ditch that particular worry and ‘become a loner’ instead. So now you worry about looking like a weirdo on your own during breaktimes, and being paired with Charlotte in your class (who openly picks her nose) during PE. You respond to that particular worry by being mean to Charlotte to show that you’re at least one rung above her on the social ladder.

You worry that, while getting changed for PE, other girls mock your visible ribs and for the fact that you’re still wearing vests under your school blouse, when it seems that they all have training bras.

Those enormous eyebrows that flick up at the ends, only to meet your hairline, and that nose that is so huge it is permanently in your vision are, you worry, revolting. People call you Blowjob Lips and that is yet another worry: both that your lips are heinously ugly and that you don’t really know what a blowjob is. Do you actually blow? What does a willy actually look like? Oh dear.


All this twisting, crushing anxiety makes you throw up every morning before school against your will.

Well Rebecca, first things first. I’m afraid those DD breasts you pray to God for every night (Dear God. Please put an end to war, famine, and please may I grow a pair of DD breasts? Yours Sincerely, R x) will never appear, but everything about your appearance that you hate – the bushy brows, the weird nose, the big lips – will earn you both money and confidence and even pride in your atypical looks one day.


You’re going to forget what the Pythagorus Theorum is all about, but the fact that you slogged through every exercise like a trooper will pay off and you will even achieve one A* in physics for your project on space (probably because everyone else forgot to do it).

You need to take a bit or responsibility for your lack of friends. I’m being very harsh here, 14 year old Rebecca, but you can be a bit boring. Luckily you learn to push through that and your awkwardness and become the sort of person worthy of the friends you’re about to make, who will be your friends for life.

Lastly, keep listening to all those mixed tapes your lovely big brother made you. The first group of boys you meet will only see braces, a flat chest and a deeply unsexy demeanour (sort that posture out Pearson). But eventually you will meet a group of guys on the bus (in fact meeting men on public transport will become a ‘thing’ of yours) who are actually impressed that you know every single lyric to every single Stone Roses, Primal Scream and Charlatans song on every single album they ever made. Then you’ll go to gigs with them and develop your love of music whilst being able to snog boys with Ian Brown hair.

Finally, I should probably tell you that diluting Dettol and applying it directly to your skin won’t get rid of those spots and is, overall, A Bad Idea.

Love Ancient Rebecca x

PS just to forewarn you, don’t sit outside the music block to eat your packed lunch alone, because you will get bombed with a water-filled condom.

PPS Don’t be mean to Charlotte Brown. It’ll play on your mind forever.


  1. […] I was invited on because I have an understanding of social media and what sort of demands it’s putting on all of us these days, but having suffered with anxiety at school myself I really get what they’re going through. I used to be sick nearly every morning before school and be filled with dread as term approached. The worry of keeping my grades up was always immense, fearing being kicked out of my very good grammar school and letting my parents down. The worry that I wouldn’t get into uni and get a good job. The constant minefield that was friendship group politics. Worrying that my body was thin and flat as a rake compared to my more developed classmates and celebs I saw in magazines. In fact I wrote about that here. […]

  2. […] I wrote this, inspired by seeing Dolly Alderton’s letter to her younger self. Like many, my adolescent years were tough in places and so I think what I wrote resonated with lots of people, as I got a lot of messages saying from others who had had a similaraly tough time at school and with their body image. […]

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