A MESSAGE TO MY TEENAGE SELF

If you could turn into a fairy and go back to when you were 18, what advice would you whisper in your very own shell-like? To celebrate International Women’s Day we asked the Audrey community to share the advice, wisdom or reassurance they would have found the most useful at that age. Let’s pass these gems on to daughters, nieces, family members, colleagues, students, friends’ daughters, even total strangers. And indeed to ourselves. Happy IWD.

Fiona
Be choosy. Don’t go out with someone just because you’re grateful they like you! And: your nose is actually okay, stop going on about it.

Sarah
Work harder. At everything. Uni, friendships, exercise, yourself, all of it. Pays dividends but at 18 you don’t think longterm.

Anita
Care less about what people think of you and always be as kind as you can. I’m always saying this to my daughter!

Sam
Don’t spend all your money on drink!


“Fiona
Be choosy. Don’t go out with someone just because you’re grateful they like you!”


Cerys
Even when you feel alone and unsupported, know that you can always have your own back. Trust yourself. You can do this.

Deborah
It may be hard to see that working steadily and regularly will pay off. It will. It takes time to get somewhere. Don’t look for instant results. Only go out with boys/girls who really like you and who are kind to you. Don’t be desperate to be loved. Don’t have sex too soon. Find out if they’ll be there the next day, next week, next month, next year. The best advice someone gave me was ‘Be your own chaperone’. Today there is no one looking after girls so you have to look after yourself. Good looks and nice clothes are less important than kindness, being funny and clever.

Merrisha
Follow your heart and your true desires, not others’ expectations for you. You might not use your degree but you will have a great experience, make life long friends and be stronger for it. Value yourself and know just how much you are worth. You are beautiful.


“Be your own chaperone.”


Susan
Don’t be scared.

Annie
What other people think of you is none of your business. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Be kind.

Gill
This, from Matt Haig, just about covers it: Be curious. Get outside. Go to bed on time. Drink water. Breathe from your diaphragm. Eat broccoli. Get a routine. Be kind to other people. And yourself. Accept that not everyone will like you. Appreciate those who do. Don’t be defined. Allow fuck ups. Want what you already have.

Dorothy
Believe in yourself

Jodi
Credit cards and student loans are a scam.

Rachel
Be brave and don’t worry about what other people might think. Follow what your heart tells you more. Don’t stop doing the things you love.

Pam
Nutrition, movement and financial planning.


“Breathe from your diaphragm. Eat broccoli. Get a routine.”


Kirstin Chaplin
Don’t drink.

Emma
Don’t hand your power over to others. Be brave. Listen to your intuition and trust your instincts – they are never wrong. Other people don’t know what’s best for you – only you know that. You will face some really big challenges but you will grow and be a better person for it. Being sensitive doesn’t mean being weak – no matter what others might tell you

Leah
Don’t bother with university. Go to work and buy property instead.

Carol
Be yourself. Don’t care what others think. Do what makes you happy.

Maria
That all things will pass. That all experiences good and bad will make you stronger. That your heart will be broken but you will heal. That your friends will save you every time. That your family are mad and infuriating but will forgive you every time. That yes, your mum and dad were right all along. That life is complicated and messy. That you must never compare yours to others. That you must remember to tell your 50-something self to stop staring at your bloody phone, put it down and have a laugh with the kids. That pets are never a bad idea. That one day you’ll love your curly hair and treat yourself to a blow dry every week. That you’ll do fine without understanding logarithms.


“Don’t stop doing the things you love.”


Claire
Keep having those ambitions and dreams. Even if they seem wild now you can have it all. Stay true to yourself.

Ailsa
Don’t marry a narcissist.

Kath
Be more assertive and don’t be afraid to call people out on their bad behaviour.

Jacqui
Refuse to love anyone who doesn’t love you. Massive waste of energy.

Louise
Don’t chase friendships. The right ones will come to you and the wrong ones will go.

Mandy
Learn to channel your anger into something positive. Turn yourself into a success, no matter what others may think.

Lynley
You are not fat. It’s OK to say no, you don’t have to be polite if someone is upsetting you, trust your instincts. If someone gives you a bad feeling, avoid them. You are not responsible for everyone else’s feelings. If someone (i.e. A man) is acting upset because you aren’t talking to him/being nice to him then that’s his problem not yours. You are 18. Therefore you ARE beautiful. The two exist together!


Cerys
“Even when you feel alone and unsupported, know that you can always have your own back. Trust yourself. You can do this.”


Sian
Instead of sitting around smoking and drinking beer, get off your bum and do some exercise.

Dawn
It is possible to blag your way into what you want to do. Men do it all the time. Say you can do it and then work out how later!

Louise
Love yourself with all your heart and be kind to that girl in the mirror. Whatever you do, don’t listen to that negative inner voice. It’s more destructive than a thousand strangers and you’re going to have enough to deal with. You are beautiful, you are a one of a kind creation. Other people’s opinions of you are of no importance. That’s their stuff to deal with and none of your business.

Mary
You are worth far more than your weight or perceived beauty. Take care of yourself for lasting health, not to fit society’s image of beauty.

Ceri-Jane
Absolutely nothing. If I hadn’t made mistakes my life would have gone in a different direction and I’m happy where I am.