28 Feb 2013

Hestia and Tempus Fugit

I have just been sent this photo via the delights of facebook.  Something seems to have gone wrong with the formatting, I'm not quite so elongated in real life!

This is me.  And our family dog, Sherry.

Those curtains have followed me my whole life and are currently covering the Ducati in the garage, keeping the cold off Tartarus's precious machine!

Say what you will about the 70s, it was a decade of dubious taste.  And a lot of brown.

I decided to write to the girl in the photo:

Dear Hestia

I'm looking at you now and I wish that I could waft back in time to tell you that everything is going to be ok.

Your thighs are NOT too white and wobbly.  Well, they are NOW, but not when you used to stand in front of the bedroom mirror and waggle your legs with a dejected sigh.

You will not get acne.  Your skin is so dry that you are spared the horrors of acne, but are rewarded much further down the line with wrinkles.  I remember how awful it was for kids with acne in the 70s and am happy with the trade off.  No one cares whether you have wrinkles or not when you are hitting 50.  But to be afflicted with a sore face at such a tender time of life is the worst cruelty adolescence plays on young people.  That, and giving girls bosoms when they are still expected to jog miles around a games field at PE when sports bras haven't been invented yet.

Don't worry about your hair! Sure, it isn't quite the Farah flick or the Purdey cut that everyone else is sporting, but don't worry - hair styles become a lot less tyrannical in later decades.  Plus straighteners get invented and that makes your life much nicer.  And a Brazilian Blowdry solves all your problems for 3 months at a time.  You should, however, start saving now to pay for all the hair colouring that you are going to need because of the grey hair.

Boys.  Please stay away from Tartarus.  Honestly.  I know that he's kinda cute in a bad boy sort of way.  Well, as much bad boy as someone studying for 7 highers and wearing spectacles can be.  He does get that motorbike and he stands you up outside the Pink Pather Lounge while he goes to buy his first bike.   This is the first of many motorbike related jiltings.  If you DO stick with him - you get a baby.  Who is wonderful. Mostly.  

You are about to go off to university.  Please, get as much sex as you can.  But  be careful - there is one night that you DO have sex with your Uni boyfriend and your parents come home and find the evidence down the toilet.  Your father never really forgives you for it, so for Christ's sakes, make sure that your condoms are flushed away.

Don't worry about not knowing what you want to do with your life.  That never really properly resolves for you, so you might as well just do what takes your fancy!  Can you believe it, you are doing a Tarot radio show?  I KNOW, life is WEIRD!

Lastly, I want to tell you that you ARE pretty.  For the rest of your days you'll never believe that you ARE, but you will always look back to old pictures and see that you WERE.

And if I didn't make myself absolutely crystal clear before: Tartarus. Is. Trouble.

lots of love

Your older self

PS - lay off the kitkats before it's too late.

What would you tell your teenage self?!


  1. dear teenage self - you're bloody gorgeous! you're funny and smart, which you know, but you're also kind, which you tend to forget.
    i know you're lazy and so end up doing the teeth thing "just 'cause" but i'd caution you against that. it'll eat up years of your life in a sort of haze of dullness. try not to be so scared, though i know it's probably not gonna happen.
    for the most part, keep things as they were - it was pretty awesome, and believe me, it continues to be awesome still! yes, even at 40 one can enjoy life! imagine that!
    don't worry so much about love, you will meet him and he will make you happy, though he's not what you imagine your dream man to be right now. for one, his head is SO much bigger!
    hang in there with your parents, it'll take a while, but you will come to a place where you will actually like each other and not every exchange will degenerate into a screaming match. still, it will take a while, so take a nice deep breath.
    mainly, don't be so hard on yourself. you're fine and your friends are loyal and wonderful, so appreciate them!
    oh, and DO NOT go out with the guy from the theatre - he will stalk you for years! and i mean years! he's mentally unstable and manipulative and NO, he is NOT "the one" though he does come in handy in curing you of the stupid notion of "the one."
    have fun! and remember to use protection!

    1. I am really wanting to know what the 'teeth thing' might be. Please don't let it be your predictive text going wonky :-D

      Also, the guy from the theatre.....sounds like you are WELL away from THAT one.

      Ali x

    2. my years and years as a dental hygienist, ali. nothing exciting - believe me!
      and as for that man, yes, i am. it was a good thing that i dated a policeman for a while after him - sure came in handy!

  2. Dear Hestia, I loved this post, very touching and funny at the same time. Not sure I could write to my teenage self, it would be too sad - it would go "don't worry about your non-existent bosom and your spots, in 40 years time you will still have no boobs, still have spots, but hey, you will have wrinkles too! Oh, and you should have done Latin A level - you are a nerd, it's no use pretending otherwise..."

    1. I like it! Why didn't you do Latin A level? Were you trying to pretend that you were normal and therefore didn't do it. Cos I read your blog a LOT. And you're not normal. And that's why we luffs you :-D

      Ali x

  3. Dear teenage self, You may be able to eat like a horse and stay skinny as a rake now, but it doesn't last.

    1. Think it's a good idea that you don't mention the fortnightly events in muddy fields to her :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Dear Teenage Self-
    don't change a thing :-)

  5. Ali -

    This is so real! We all have this, and there are times (yes, more than one time!) when e are guided to write ourselves letters. It is sad,funny, and cathartic ... all at the same time!

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. Dear self,
    Don't try and be someone else. Folks will like you for who you are. Remember that gorgeous girl with the long blond hair you were infatuated with? Go ask her for a date, because she loves you too. I know, because she told me (40 bloody years too late).
    Finally, don't hold that animosity for your Mom. Let it go. She loved you too.

  7. I am moved to tears....but I am old and hormonally unbalanced....I would say: you worry about everything, stop worrying there will be plenty of real things to worry about.....and you are never too old for your dreams to come true.....as I am finding out!!x

  8. Dear teenage self, stop getting those anxiety attacks about the kind of jobs you will be doing, and if you will ever make a living. You'll become a Tarot Reader/fortune teller/ astrologer/woo person, and you'll be floating around on something called "the internet". Shocked? Don't be! The universe will miraculously take care of you. So stop fretting, relax and have some fun ;)

  9. Oh Ali, I love this.

    I'd probably tell my teenage self that being a size 16 is less of an issue when she is in her twenties/thirties.That she absolutely did the right thing not sleeping with a boy in her class at that party, despite being called frigid (you might be frigid, you also weren't pregnant at 17). That one day she'll marry a lovely.clever man and be very happy. That she doesn't need to know what she wants to do RIGHT NOW, and that she still won't at 30, and that that's ok too.

    Teenage me had no confidence whatsoever. I'm glad adult me has developed some!

  10. Oh this is nice.

    I can't write what all of what I would tell my teenage self here because I was quite a mess but the gist would be that life is worth living it does get better and that everyday, even sucky days would make being alive a real gift.

  11. Beautiful photograph - so pretty and sweet! As for writing to my teenage self, I wouldn't change a thing. Sure, it wasn't all great, but it what led me to be who I am and, good and bad, I wouldn't change that. The lack of self-confidence, the poor choices, they were all learning experiences :)


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