How's it going?
If you are reading this at 6.05pm on a Tuesday then I know I've interrupted Heartbreak High on BBC2 , I'm sorry! I was going to call but I know you unplug the phone so you aren't disturbed. Feel free to put this letter down and read it some other time, I just thought it would be nice to say hello to you from the Future.
You are now 36 years old and I'm sure to a 17 year old 36 sounds really old doesn't it? but it isn't. I honestly don't feel much different than you do now, the reflection may have changed a bit though. Yes I totally stole that line from the old lady in Titanic.
For instance you still love the Stone Roses, you still enjoy a wander around W.H.Smith in town to buy a new book. You're still sensitive, always think your right, and your mouth STILL gets you into trouble. I think it's best you just accept now that it's never going to change. However Heartbreak High is no longer your favourite TV show, you no longer wear an asthma inducing amount of CK One, nor wear Rimmels Heather Shimmer lipstick. Oh and you still can't drive, but don't worry the hedge in the village you drove through on your driving lesson? It did grow back OK, well it did eventually.
The main thing is,and I'm just going to come out and say it.......
Rachel you don't become an actress and marry Leonardo DiCaprio.
At 17 you probably think that being 36 brings with it a certain level of maturity, you know like throwing dinner parties, wearing sensible shoes, having pensions and generally just having all your shit together. Well at 36 yes you do have dinner parties of a fashion. I mean you have a kid now, your friends they all have kids now too so it's not so much an elegant little affair with candles and cocktails, It's more necking wine, eating, chatting, laughing and ignoring the fact that the kids are trampling crisps into the carpet upstairs.
However you still don't know what you want to be when you grow up, you still have an obsession with Spike from Buffy (is it the long leather coat perhaps) You do have a pension but listen Mum was definitely lying when she says those ridiculous high heels you wear will give you bunions, they don't! She was just bitter about her's so carry on.
One warning though - if someone tells you to run quickly over a cobbled street in six inch wedges when you're pissed, DON'T! Your ankle will never be the same.
I really miss your innocence though, the way you always saw the positive side to things, so carefree and laid back. I hate to say it but you are nothing like that now.The thing is certain things will happen that are completely and utterly out of your control, and they will somewhat chip away at those qualities. I wish I could tell you it won't hurt Rachel, that it won't be hard and it won't change a part of you forever but it does and I'm sorry. These things will also make you strong though, stronger than you or anybody else ever thought possible.
So Rachel I am writing this letter to you to give you some advice, some serious, some not so much.
I am sure as the stubborn, know it all that you are that you will ignore a lot of them, but if you could have a read and at least take some things on board I am of no doubt that some day, may be of help to you.
1. Stop plucking your eyebrows and dying your hair blonde with Sun-In. Seriously stop it NOW!
No-one believes that overnight you went from a brunette with slugs across her forehead, to a platinum blonde who looks like she pencils her brows on. Styling yourself on Annaliese from Neighbours* is not a good idea. Mum is right your eyebrows never look the same and your hair really does take years to recover!
See a totally natural transformation which happened almost overnight......
2. Do not drink Drambuie at the Sixth form Christmas Party, you don't impress anyone by doing it you make yourself look like a complete tit, and yes everybody does talk about you behind your back.
And who the hell let you wear floor length sequins to a sixth form party?
Yuck the smell of Drambuie still makes you feel queasy 20 years later.
3. Don't put things off because you are scared of leaving your comfort zone, just go for it. You may hate it (Like when you tried going Veggie for one month) You may be crap at it (like driving) you may even make a massive fool of yourself ( LIPA audition) but you also may find it's something you are good at and and enjoy.
It's better to of tried and failed than never tried at all.
4. Which brings me to LIPA. Do not lie on the application form about singing to a professional level just be honest. Don't be embarrassed to tell people either or show them how excited you are either, it is a big deal and you should be proud of it.
If you do insist on lying on the application form though, may I suggest some practice beforehand? No you really can't just get through it by belting out "There are Worse things I could do" from Grease with a smile and a Wonderbra. Don't let that put you off though, keep trying you will regret it otherwise.
5. Trying to end a relationship by ignoring phone calls and acting like a complete bitch, in the hope he'll do it for you is not the way to go about it. Please do it with kindness, he deserves it.
One day in the future karma will come back and bite you on the ass, big time.
6. This is very important. You know you have a bad feeling about the owner of that modelling agency in Manchester? Trust that feeling and leave, straight away.
In fact always always trust your gut instinct believe me when I say it hasn't been wrong yet.
7. Stop being so horrible to Mum because you have to move. Stop shouting at her, crying and refusing to speak to her, she really isn't doing it to ruin your life. It is hard for her too.
Be supportive, help her pack, have a cry together. She works so hard and it's not her fault, please appreciate her one day she'll be your best friend,
8. Take That get back together, and split up again. And get back together and then Robbie comes back and then leaves, again. By 2016 you're over it all to be honest. Oh and Gary is the hot one, seriously.
9. Stop worrying about your flat chest, ignore the pancake jokes because you boobs? They get bigger, much bigger without the need for a stupid boob job either. By 2016 your rack is quite simply magnificent, I'm not even ashamed to say it.
10. When you get your student loan do not do the following things with it:
- Waste it in Topshop and Warehouse - no that Chinese print dress will not be a 'classic' you'll wear forever, and you spill black ink all over the beige leather coat.
- Do not spend it on a hotel for a few nights because the heating and hot water went off in your student house.
- Do not spend it on black cabs instead of buses - you are very unlikely to be murdered on the bus in broad daylight.
- Do not put your weekly foodshop on your M&S Chargecard - that doesn't class as an emergency and it take you years to pay off.
11. University - This is a hard one, on one hand I want you to stay, don't quit because you're homesick (in Liverpool ffs) just move home it isn't a big deal! And you will always, always, always regret not finishing your course. However by coming home you get to spend lots more time with your family than you have done in a long time, which is very very important.
There is no answer here I'll have to let you figure that one out for yourself.
12. You will get your heartbroken and it will hurt, it will hurt a lot. Have dignity, don't beg. You are worth more than that, always.
You will get over it and it actually makes you a better person - makes you realise a few things about yourself too. You do forgive and forget (no really) and move on.
13. That lad that you think is too quiet? Too nice and well, blonde? You know the one I mean? He thinks you're a cocky, gobby, well spoken hamster? Go on a date with him you might actually like him, never know he could turn out to be your soul mate :)
14. Do not lend out your only copy of your wedding video this is very important! You forget who you lent it to and you won't get it back. If you do then at least make copies first!
15. There is a weekend when you are almost 5 months pregnant and Dad rings you to invite you go somewhere, and you don't. PLEASE GO. I can not reiterate this enough GO. Hug him hard, tell him how much you love him, remember every single detail,
16. Don't hold in your feelings, cry please just cry and cry lots. It won't hurt the baby and it causes you far greater damage in other ways further down the line.
17. Childbirth does hurt, Bloody liars.
18. DO NOT sell those matchbox cars for 2p and 5p at the car boot when you're a teenager!There is a reason the man gives you a £1 and tells you to keep the change and he wasn't doing it because he was nice. Git, you're still bitter about this 20 years later.
19. Give up Dairy sooner. You won't believe how much better you will feel!
20. Record Heartbreak High, you can't find the DVD's years later and it gets a bit awkward when your husband wants to know who's been googling Drazic on YouTube.
21. Invent YouTube.
So there we have it Rachel, a few words of wisdom that may help you to navigte the next 20 years. You know what even if you choose to ignore every single bit of advice given, you still make it through OK
I really would try to invent YouTube though.
Aged 36 and 3/4
*Actual Annaliese from Neighbours. I didn't copy her wardrobe, but I did own this top.