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Letter to my teenage self: Liz

Hello from the future… the year is 2020 and so much has changed for you: you struggle to sleep past 7am at the weekends (inconceivable I know), you no longer listen to the Spice Girls (probably for the best!) and you are in the process of coming out as bisexual / gay (you’re still working that out). Mum & Dad take it surprisingly well!

Have you noticed yet that you start turning red whenever anyone says the word gay? It’s crippling isn’t it? You’re terrified someone will notice and work out your greatest secret. You feel so much shame about your sexuality and frequently pray that God would ‘heal you’. But know that God loves you just as you, and you don’t need to carry that burden of shame.

It’s ok to date other girls! No, really it is. I wonder how things might have turned out if you’d realised that at 15 instead of 37! It’s a shame you can’t Google “Different biblical views on homosexuality” (I don’t remember ‘Ask Jeeves’ being that sophisticated), because you’d discover a lot sooner that there isn’t just one view on this.

You don’t realise it yet, but your family set up is quite unique. There are plus sides, but also downsides to this, but it has, in part, made you who you are today. Talking of family, appreciate your sisters more, they aren’t as annoying as you think! They understand more than most where you are coming from and will love and accept you just as you are. Be there for them too, they have some rough times ahead too.

Feel your emotions, and learn as much as you can about them. They are there to help and guide you. For you, suppression leads to depression. As mum says, “it’s ok to cry”.

You sometimes have a tendency to think in black and white, and rarely are things that clear cut! There are so many ways to view something, and you don’t have all the answers. People are complicated (just look at yourself) and may also be carrying a hidden burden. Be kind and try to see things from their point of view.

Find friends with whom you can be most yourself with and treasure them. They will stick with you through thick and thin and you will no longer feel alone. There will be friends who struggle with your sexuality, I haven’t worked out the answer to that one yet either! Notice who it is that you feel least able to be yourself with, and be curious about that.

It’s ok to be afraid of change, but embrace it anyway. Some changes that you fear, end up transforming you for the better.

Good job on growing out your fringe – you won’t regret that!

I hope I haven’t given too much away, but knowing these things earlier might spare you some heartache. So, enjoy the ride! It does get pretty tough at times, but know that you are loved and treasured and never lose hope – brighter days are ahead xx

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