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Contribution: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self

Index ID: LETDM — Publication date: October 15th, 2009

Note: Contribution for the book "Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self" by Joseph Galliano, published by Simon & Schuster.

Dear Jo (16),

I’m forty five. We’re forty five! And, believe me, that is far from the strangest thing that has happened to us.

This must be a lot weirder for you than it is for me; after all, I know you. I also really like you, which you will find impossible to believe, given that you are racked with insecurity and self-loathing. Jo, give yourself a break. You’re not the only one who feels smll and inadequate; you’ll realise eventually that everyone is the wizard of Oz. Time spent dreading and regretting realy is time wasted (whereas time spent daydreaming, inventing words and writing stories is time very well spent. Keep that up.)

There’s so much I could say to try and prepare you for hat I know is coming, oth the wonderful and the not-so-wonderful. The trouble is that the more I think about it, the more I realise that you need to just plough straight ahead and make all the big mistakes, because out of them will come some of your greatest blessings. Just know that there has never yet been a situation so awful that we haven’t been able to wring some good out of it (and that is about the proudest statement I’ve ever made in my – sorry, our – life.) Everything you most want will come to you; some of what you most fear will also happen, but the world will keep turning, and you will be fine.

A few pieces of advice that I think I can give, without upsetting the cosmic balance:

– Bright red, baggy dungarees from Miss Selfridge will be a bad idea, even in 1983.
– White-blonde hair, while a fantastic look on Debbie Harry, will not work on you.
– Do not have your ears pierced by a hippy at a music festival. That was one nasty infection.
– Never bother trying to impress anyone who thinks that other people ought to try and impress them.
– Stop smoking NOW.
– Stick up yourself a bit more.
– Forgive yourself a lot more.
– Avoid bass players. All of them.

In a year’s time, one o the best friends of your life will arrive in that porta-cabin they use for the sixth form. You will know him by his Ford Anglia, his love of Elvis and his ability to make you laught until you are unable to breathe. You might want to persuade him to hang onto the car. It could come in handy for, say, a film.

Never cut short a phone call with your mother. Never forget to say ‘I love you.’

One last thing.

One day, you will not only meet Morrissey, but he will know who you are.


With lots of love,

Jo (45)

{Deathly Hallows symbol} ← One day that will make sense to you.

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