Letter to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self

Me + Raechel

I’m the girl on the left. The girl on the right was one of my best friend’s at the time. I couldn’t find a photo of just me because I wasn’t big into taking selfies at the time. I have no idea what I have scribbled on my face but no doubt it had something to with My Chemical Romance, the band I was absolutely obsessed with at the time. Honestly, I would’ve happily talked about My Chemical Romance all the time if it had been up to me. I loved them.

Dear Thirteen-Year-Old Me,

It’s been seven nearly eight years and things are extremely different. For one you’re not in school anymore. I imagine now it feels like you’ll never leave but you will and you’ll suddenly find that there are things about Secondary School that you miss an awful lot. And of course some things that you’ve never been happier to leave behind.

First of all, I know you’ve been sobbing to Mom about how badly you want black hair because until you fulfil that you won’t be a ‘true emo’ but it’s not a great idea. When you eventually get bored of it, and trust me you will, it’ll be so hard to get a new brighter colour. I know the idea of anything colourful will repel you at the moment but one day you’ll learn to love it. Stick with the brown hair and blonde highlights. It really suits you and the moment you dye it black you’ll never get it back.

Secondly, stop obsessing over the boys in your year. Honestly, none of them are that great and they’re not worth your time. I know right now it feels like you ‘need’ a boyfriend but one day you’ll realise that it’s not actually that high of a priority anymore. Enjoy the time with your friends and stop getting so stressed out. You’re not ugly or gross if you don’t have a boyfriend, stop acting like you are!

Thirdly, you will get over your My Chemical Romance obsession. You keep insisting right now that you won’t and that you’ll love them forever but you won’t. Okay, you’ll still like them but definitely not on the same level you do right now. Also, they’re gonna break up. So prepare for that.

Now this one’s an important one. You know your best friend? That girl you tell everything to, who you trust more than anything and who you couldn’t imagine being without? You’re not friends with her anymore. Here’s the thing – she’s not being honest with you. I’m sure she’s being honest about a whole bunch of things but there’s also things that she’s not telling you. And then one day you’ll suddenly find that she’s more interested in her new boyfriend than you. And you will spend the next few months feeling extremely, extremely lonely.

And that’s okay. You’ll learn a lot in those few months. You’ll learn how to be by yourself. You’ll gain some independence. It will suck, you’ll hate your life and you’ll feel like you don’t have any friends at all but it will end and you’ll have learnt so much from it.

Here’s the good news. You will find new friends and you’ll wonder how you lived without them in your life. You’ll find you can be more honest with them then you were with your current best friends. There are things you feel like you can’t tell her, aren’t there? Well you can tell these girls anything and they would never tell anyone else. They’re into the same things as you and you’ll end up going on some great trips with them and doing completely stupid and questionable things but you’re going to love every second. Trust me!

The only other advice I have is to stop obsessing what everyone else thinks and just have fun. Have as much fun as you possibly can and don’t regret anything.

Love Twenty-Year-Old You
xoxoxo

What Not to Do at the Theatre

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I’m someone that goes to the theatre an awful lot, which you probably know as I’ve started writing about it a lot this year. Now I’ve had some really good experiences and some really shit experiences so I thought I’d write a list of what not to do at the theatre.

1. Turn your phone off

Probably the most obvious thing ever but the amount of people that don’t sometimes is ridiculous. It doesn’t even need to be switched off, just put it on silent (yes silent NOT vibrate), put it in your bag and leave it there until the interval! It’s not too difficult to not check your phone. I once went to the theatre with a friend and there was a man who sat on his phone almost the entire time while all his children slept in their seats. It was really weird ‘cos he wasn’t there for the kids ‘cos they were asleep but he wasn’t there for himself ‘cos he was on his phone?

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Also do you know how distracting it is not only for the audience but for the actors if your phone goes off? I get annoyed if people go on their phones at the cinema but it annoys me even more at the theatre, it’s one of the rudest things you can do, DON’T DO IT.

2. Don’t talk the entire time

Obviously you can say the odd thing to the person next to you but you don’t need to have an entire conversation about what’s going to happen next or your theories on the show. There’s an interval halfway through for that kind of thing. It’s so distracting when the people around you are having full-blown conversations. We’re not here to listen to you; we’re here to watch what’s on stage! Whatever you want to talk about isn’t that important that you can’t wait until the interval.

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3. Don’t let your kids talk the entire time

I’m serious. It’s one thing going to a panto or a show that’s aimed at kids, let them do what they want. But when I’ve forked out extra to get front row seats at a West End show the last thing I want is to hear your kid talking every twenty seconds. Annoyingly I only end up near talkative/annoying children when I’ve spent extra for decent tickets. Whenever I’m in a cheap seat at the back of the theatre I don’t end up anywhere near a child that doesn’t know when to stop.

I like to think I’m relatively tolerant when it comes to loud or naughty children, being a support worker and all that, but I have no time for it at the theatre. The worst time had to be when I was seeing Wicked and my Mom had spent extra to get us on the front row and I was so happy until I discovered we were in front of two of the worst kids ever. One of them kept kicking the back of my seat every twenty seconds and the other kept asking her Mother “Is it finished yet” after every single song. West End shows aren’t cheap, I don’t want to sit here and listen to your kid all night.

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Fair enough if you ask your child to be quiet. When I saw ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ I was near two kids who kept turning to their Mom and excitedly going “Wow did you see that?” To which their Mom would kindly respond “Yes but we need to be quiet, watch the show” and it was fine. However when I was on the front row for ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ there was a boy sat behind me who kept talking really loudly about every single tiny thing that happened and his parents just let him get on with it.

For some people a West End show is a rare treat, it might even be something they only get to do once in their lives, they don’t need it ruined by a child whose parents just don’t care how loudly they talk.

4. Don’t Sing Along

I love sing alongs as much as the next person but that’s not what we’re there for. We’ve all paid to see the performers sing, not the random guy next to me. Obviously there’s the occasion where those on stage prompt you to sing along and that’s absolutely fine. But if we’re at a musical and you’re sat next to me and you start singing along out loud I will spend the entire show hating you and wishing I’d chosen a different seat.

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5. Don’t leave before the bows

You just don’t do it. These actors have worked hard to put on a performance for you, all you have to do is sit there and clap to show your appreciation at the end. I know it’s more convenient to leave just before that BUT IT’S SO RUDE. If I ever went to a show with someone and they suggested leaving before the bows I would be horrified. Not only because it’s rude but because for some strange reason it’s one of my favourite parts of the show? You just don’t leave before the bows, you just don’t.

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There’s only five things on the list and it’s not like they’re too hard, right? Just follow the five simple steps so that everyone can have a good time!