a letter to my 16 year old self

It's currently 11pm on a Monday night when I'm writing this, and I originally thought against it - because it's too personal. But then I realised, when I was 16, this is the kind of thing that I would have loved to hear, but no one would share for the reasons that put me off doing it. And so, I feel like it is my responsibility to share that it does get better.

I had a really horrible year that started when I turned 16, and didn't fully end until just before my 17th birthday - and it was so terrible that I blocked most of it out, so I can only really remember the facts that I can't forget. But I do remember thinking that my life won't get better and I'll always be stuck in the same bad situation, I couldn't see my future and I felt like everything was futile - why was I bothering to try and fix my situation when it'd be the same again a week later?

I wish so badly that I could tell 16 year old Ashleigh that there will come a day where you're actually excited to wake up, that one day you'll smile and nothing will be worrying you. There will be moments where I'll laugh, knowing that the people I'm laughing with are going to be with me forever, and a day where I don't feel like the world is against me, and one day I'll be excited for my future and know I'll still be happy.

Things got so much better than I ever could have imagined. I may be sleep-deprived and full of hayfever writing this, but I'm writing this while I'm sitting in my bed in a flat in Glasgow - the one place where I always wanted to live but naively accepted that I would never be able to live in the city. I'm going into third year, studying marketing in a university where I always dreamed of going, but never thought I'd get the grades to go to. I'm surrounded by people who love and care for me, and I feel so lucky to be able to wake up each day knowing I have people like that around me. I am in the financial position that I get to fly to Italy once a year and visit my best friend - I never thought I'd be lucky enough to travel as often as I do, let alone have a best friend in such a beautiful country. I have my own little corner of the internet, where I am able to share whatever I'm feeling and people seem to enjoy what I have to say, which means so much to me. There's so many more things that I am grateful for, and my life has changed so much since my teenage years where I couldn't see myself reaching 21, and I wish that I could tell past me that one day, my reality will be exactly what I've always wanted.

So, to 16 year old Ashleigh (and anyone else going through a hard time), it does get better. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel.