Advice From My 13 Year Old Self


Words || Ella Scott

Isolation has been an interesting time in my life. As one does in times of extreme boredom, I spent the first few weeks over-drinking, over-eating, and watching influencers try to convince me that exercise is fun. Every Sunday I would vow that tomorrow I’d start my fitness ‘journey,’ and then every Monday afternoon I would slip up by accidentally having a wine with my lunch. It has truly become a way of life. 

About three weeks in, productivity finally kicked in. I cleaned my car, regrettably cut my own fringe and for the first time, in a very long time, I attempted to sort out my ‘messy shelf.’

Do not kid yourself, we all have one. 

They usually consist of tacky childhood memorabilia, stacks of old birthday cards and old out of date sweets. There’s always a few surprises in there too.

Whilst rummaging through the piles of unwanted things, as they fell and made new piles like an endless wasteland, I came across an old diary. It was labelled ‘super-secret’ and I immediately knew exactly what it was. 

In 2013, my best friend and I had decided we were going to start writing dairies. We would meet up with our coloured markers and patterned papers and write about the struggles of being 13-year-old girls. We decorated them with stickers and coloured prints, spending hours upon hours making them look perfect.  

I spent the whole day reading through pages of love letters, post first date ramblings and stories about hilarious situations that I had forgotten. Almost like its own chapter, there is a section dedicated to one boy. My on-again-off-again first love. The Ross to my Rachel, if you please. Over the course of three years, we probably dated about ten times. The longest we dated at a time was at most ten days. The pages dedicated to him are filled with love hearts, attached to bubbles describing the things that I ‘loved’ about him – “he’s funny and so easy to talk to … < 3.” 

Towards the end of the chapter, I came across his name once again, only this time it is circled by a red bulging love heart with a giant cross through the middle. Our love story had come to a dramatic end. I had gotten so deeply invested in it, that I felt a sudden sense of loss. I could feel 13-year-old Ella’s heart ache through the repetitive sad faces that covered the entirety of the following page. 

On the other side I found this note:

When reading this letter, I must admit it brought an instant smile to my face. I don’t know if it was humility, or perhaps joy from reminiscing over old yet familiar feelings. Whilst for the most part, the letter is overly dramatic and out right cheesy, I must admit, young Ella was pretty frickin’ wise. She had elements to her advice that are still important to live by, and that I can relate to now, it being seven years later and my being still single. So I decided to write a response to my letter, reworking my sage advice:

The one thing I regret to inform my younger self is that yes, you are still bad with money. Frankly, you can barely afford dinner at this point. (But you can’t deny the girl had great goals.)

As I put the diary back into the messy cupboard, which was indeed still messy, I had an overwhelming feeling of fondness for this pile of crap in front of me. 

That’s the thing about messy cupboards. They may be filled with useless stuff that have absolutely no meaning to you, but every now and then you find something that will make you laugh, or smile, or remember things that you may have otherwise forgotten. I guess, sometimes it’s kind of nice to have a little bit of mess in your life.

P.S. Rihanna still rocks