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A Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self: Casey

One writer muses on how being home-schooled, depressed and self-conscious at 16 has shaped her into a stronger, happier adult.

Written by Casey Milano

Dear Casey,

I can picture you in your bedroom, lying on the bed with Elle, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and numerous other magazines that your mother’s friends said you were too young for (they were wrong, FYI) piled on the floor with Kelly Clarkson’s Because of You playing in the background. You were so sad and, really, you were quite weird – never satisfied, always needing something to occupy you otherwise you could have quite possibly gone mad.

When teenage girls are homeschooled, how they end up can be very different to their peers. I know you want to be out there with the other girls you aspire to be: thin, blonde, every football-playing boy’s desire. The exciting weekends they talk about on Bebo (yes, I’m that old), the pictures they share via BBM… it was all so far away from where you were. You were 16 years old with severe depression and major body confidence issues, propped up by the thought that, once you got to 21, things would all suddenly change. You’d be beautiful, successful and, overall, happy.

I used to really hate you. I’d blame you for not having the guts to stand up to the bullies and your overbearing mother. I’d think that if you only got up and got out of that room then you’d see that there was more to life and, more importantly, that you would be ok. I didn’t see until many years later that you were immensely strong and although sometimes (OK – most of the time) you’d procrastinate and live in a melancholy state for weeks on end, you did your best for a teenager who didn’t know how to live with or without depression. I understand now that you losing your childhood was the price you paid for me having freedom, or at least the wisdom to know how to deal with dark days now.

So, 16-year-old me, I want to tell you that you are too spoilt, fussy and too much of a people-pleaser sometimes. You had – and still have – a very odd mix of personality characteristics. Also, eating a tub of pecan and cream ice cream on a daily basis may be comforting but it’s not good for you. You may be disappointed to hear that now, at 26, you have only eaten ice cream twice in the last two years. Some other things: your hair won’t stay frizzy. You do eventually find your passion. You do end up wearing skinny jeans – despite them reminding you of Russell Brand – and you love them. You still get acne occasionally, but that gruelling skincare routine will save you, along with writing, music and fashion. You will go through many more years of highs and hellish lows, bad men and fake friends, but you will find yourself and you will survive.

I love you,

Casey. x

P.S. Those girls that tortured you all ended up failing college and/or pregnant with cheating boyfriends.

P.P.S. Throw those frayed flared jeans away immediately. Trust me, it’s for your own good.

Read more of Casey’s articles here

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