What would you say to yourself if you came face-to-face with the 16-year-old you? What would you tell the fresh-faced you, about to plunge onto a path in one of the most inspiring and challenging careers? We are sure many of you would have lots to discuss. With all of the dubiety and thoughts in mind, we begin our blog series Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self. Creatives which are our beautiful clients around the globe, will share their personal written letters. Whether their letter is jolly or poignant, they will look back on their younger selves with compassion, remembering how sensitive and beautiful the age of 16 is. And talk, advice, encourage and comfort their younger selves.
To break the ice and get this series going, is the sweetest human being and talented photographer, Taylor Olivia. To her, photography is an incredible tool that encapsulates time and turns it into something tangible. Read below, the lovely letter Taylor wrote to herself, it will certainly have a little something that will resonate with each one of you.
“Dear sixteen-year-old me,
first things first, you are doing great. To be completely honest, even as you age, you’ll never really understand how to be an adult. Stop worrying about not fitting in, not having things together, or not having a plan; things oddly fall into place in the strangest ways. It is okay to be the awkward art kid with mediocre grades. Your math score is only a number; it does not define you as a person. Do not hide your creativity in fear of judgment, for it will take you places you never dreamed of. Success comes to those who work for it.
You will be accepted into the post secondary program of your dreams where you will find yourself and meet some of your best friends. You will be photographing beautiful weddings, traveling to Uganda and Amsterdam, and meeting great people along the way. You will be working towards your dream job by the age of 20. You will look at yourself as a girlboss as you check off your goals one-by-one. The people who doubted you will soon look up to you. Ignore those who tell you photography won’t pay the bills, or, that’s not a real job, because it is. Peers and strangers alike will judge you and look down on you for being young. In the end you will be proving them wrong each and every day. I assure you, you’ll be kicking ass and showing them you’re more than the number of years you’ve been alive.
You will surprise people and you will make some proud, but there will always be someone to disappoint. There will always be some kind of struggle. That struggle will be what pushes you to do your best. Some people will fight against you and tell you following your dreams is not achievable. They are wrong. You will find success in your creativity and grow your craft immensely. Do not ever give up on those dreams, even when others tell you differently. Growing up hurts but it should never make you feel like giving up.
You will make mistakes. The best thing you can do is show compassion, apologize, and move on. Always be kind to others and be the bigger person. Give yourself time to get back onto your feet and always practice self-care. Beating yourself up about the small things will only hinder your growth. You are human: a beautiful, incredible, talented, creative, breathing human being.
Most importantly, the boys that never ended up liking you back don’t matter anymore. The teachers who claimed your marks weren’t high enough don’t matter anymore. Your peers that told you you’d never make it don’t matter anymore. You’re building an incredible future and empire for yourself because you believe in you.
Just, thank you for this inspirational piece, Taylor.