Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A letter to my ten-year-old self

Girlguiding recently ran a campaign to "tell Sophie" - encouraging us to think about advice we would like to give our ten year old selves.  I've been thinking about this for a while, and have decided that one thing isn't enough.  Here is what I'd like to tell my ten-year-old self.

Me, aged ten
Dear Rosy

Are you Rosy yet, or are you still Rosemary?  I can't remember.  At some point soon, if you haven't already, you will finally settle on the name by which you will be known for the rest of your life.  You will go through a range of spellings, but you will finally decide that you want to be called "Rosy" - spelt with a y, not ie, because it's unusual and you don't have "ie" in your name. 

You are ten years old, so you must be in Year 5, still in primary school.  You feel grown up - in September, you will be moving into Year 6, and after that you will move up to high school.  Enjoy feeling grown up - high school will be fun, but overwhelming. 

You are starting to realise that maybe you don't fit in any more - you are the tallest person in Year 5, and you started your period last year.  Adults told you it was perfectly normal, but it didn't feel normal when you realised that you were the first, and everyone knew it.  You don't enjoy it now but believe me, you will grow to appreciate it in time.  And enjoy feeling tall.  Next year, you will stop growing and you will suddenly become the shortest person in the class. 

You don't like the way you look.  You think you are fat and too tall, and you wear a bra even though none of your friends do.  You are not fat.  But you won't realise that for a long time.  You will try dieting, and one day you will realise that something isn't right.  Realising it will be the first step in dealing with it.  People will try to help you, although it might not feel like help at the time.  One day you will understand that they are doing it because they love you and want to make you feel better.  They are not trying to rule your life.  Only you can do that.

But now, you already feel like you spend your whole life feeling like the odd-one-out.  Sometimes you will hate it, and you will think everyone else thinks that way too.  On those days, don't take it out on yourself too hard.  You will grow to realise that everyone is just a bit weird.  Some people are just a bit weirder than others.  That doesn't make them any less allowed to enjoy being themselves.  You are allowed to just be you.

You have already started to be aware of boys, although you think they're just a bit rubbish (you won't grow out of that for a while)!  You have already met the boy you will share your first "grown up" kiss with.  I'm not going to tell you who he is, but he was lovely (and still is), and even though you will lose contact for a while, you will get back in touch when you are older, and you will be friends.  Don't rush to grow up too quickly.  Being a grown up is scary, and the older you get, the less qualified you will feel to be one.

You have crazy hair.  I know it well - although your hair will be every length, style and colour you can imagine over the next few years, you will end up giving up and accepting that it is curly.  There's a girl in your class whose hair goes all the way down her back and she can sit on it.  You are jealous.  Don't be.  Your hair is yours.  You can do what you want with it (although one day, I promise, you will have hair that you can sit on.  It will be crazy hair and you will spend ages trying to get rid of the frizzy bits at the front.  It will drive you insane, and you will wish you could just cut it off.  But you quite like having long hair.  You can't have it both ways!)

See that picture?  That is you, aged ten, on the day you took your promise as a Guide.  You will struggle in Guides, but you will stick at it because you are determined to prove you are as good as, if not better, than the girls who laugh at you and call you names.  Stay determined.  It will get you into trouble sometimes, but stick to your guns - it will save you one day. 

Even if you don't enjoy Guides, you will make it.  One day, you will be asked to go to the United Nations, in New York (that's in America!), to represent ten million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts at a conference all about women and girls.  You won't believe it now.  I still don't believe it.  But it will change your life in so many ways that you can't even imagine now.  Don't try to imagine, just know that whenever life is tough (and it will be), things will get better.

Girlguiding (as it is called now) will be your lifeline.  You will make so many friends in so many countries all over the world - some in countries that you don't even know exist yet (has Dad started trying to teach you all the capital cities yet?  If not, that's something for you to look forward to!)   Keep in touch with them - you never know when you might see them again.  But you will. 

Oh, you decided last year that you wanted to be vegetarian.  Well done for keeping it up!  Mum is probably still trying to make you eat nuts and weird food like tofu (you'll learn to eat it.  Eventually).  No-one thought you'd make it this far, did they?  Well you will surprise them all!

You live in Wales, in a village in the middle of nowhere.  You find that tough sometimes - all your friends live miles away and you don't get to see them as much as you'd like.  One day, you will live even further away (I'm not going to tell you - it'll be a lovely surprise), and you will see even less of your friends from school, but you will keep in touch and when you do see them, it will be like you'd never been away.  But you're not even friends with those people yet, so I'm not going to tell you who they are.  They are wonderful though.  Don't lose them.

I wonder how much of this you think about.  You are happy as a ten year old.  You have wonderful friends and family (they are still wonderful) and you like school.  You have just started to learn to play the violin and the clarinet - they will take you to exciting places. 

Enjoy being ten.  I'm glad that you don't know any of the things I have written about - at ten, you aren't thinking about the future.  You don't need to.  What will happen to you is going to happen anyway.  Just go with it.  Sometimes you will hate it, and sometimes you will love it.  That's life.  It's normal.  As normal as "normal" is, anyway.

One day, a few years from now (a whole lifetime away), you will sit down and think about being ten.  That day is today.  See you then!

Keep smiling.

Lots of love,



  1. Ah - this is very touching :-) Love it x

    1. Thank you :-) (see you on Sunday!!) Rx

  2. Love this! Might do one myself!

    1. You should! Do you have a blog you can share it on? I'd love to see it :-) x

    2. Haha nevermind - I found the answer to my own question. Looking forward to reading your letter :-) x