Letter to my teenage self: Rachel G
So you’re 14; you have so much to learn and so much to experience. There will be sadness, hurt and rejection, but also so much love, joy and liberation. You love hockey, chocolate and people – this will not change, however your love of Adidas trousers, thankfully, will! Like all of us, relationships are key to your existence. You have and will have some incredible friendships in your life. They see your potential, even when you don’t. Treasure them and they will treasure you.
Alongside friendships, family will always be a safe constant in your life. They will stick with you through thick and thin, they will always listen and always love you. Lean in to them. Speaking of relationships…your first boyfriend is around the corner. Don’t worry, he turns out to be gay too so you’re in good company! As you grow, listen to that small, inner voice questioning why you don’t have any romantic feelings for any of the boys you date.
Tough times are coming and when someone takes their own life, it feels like everyone around them loses a little piece of themselves too. It’s brutal - but you heal. Keep talking about them; their personality, qualities, funny habits and faults to keep those memories alive. A big healer will be counselling and something that you come back to later in life. Run towards it. Be discerning as to who you trust but when you find the right person, you will learn more about yourself in those months, than you have in the last decade. Counselling is good, healthy and makes you stronger. Your only failure will be not going sooner!
Church is extremely important to your identity as you grow. Remember this: You can be a feminist and a Christian. You can be a passionate and opinionated woman and be a Christian. You can wear make-up, straighten your hair and wear short skirts and be a Christian. You can be LGBTQ+ and be a Christian. Ignore the haters. Have courage to challenge your conservative theology. It is holding you back but you will find your way to a liberating theology that is just as Biblical and frees you to be who God made you. Hold onto your faith. Your identity is in Him, not in their expectations.
There is so much to enjoy about life and so much to learn. I am so proud of how you grow and the risks you take, enjoy the journey, that journey is so important. You have so much untapped strength and so much confidence. You are so loved and so celebrated for all that you are.
“But while she was still a long way off, God saw her and was filled with compassion for her; God ran to her daughter, threw her arms around her and kissed her.” Adapted from Luke 15: 20.
Your older self