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A Call to the Past

What would you tell your teenage self?

By Alison Tennent - The Celtic ChameleonPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
created by author in Midjourney all rights reserved

Twelve things I'd tell my 16 year old self

This is a dangerous world, and though it doesn't do to focus too much upon that which we cannot alter, nor is it helpful to make ourselves targets by promoting daydreams and buttercups as an alternative to reality.

I wholeheartedly believe that when you first meet anyone, it's best to do so with a light spirit and a true heart; do not assume ill intent until it is shown and be open to goodness and hopeful of sincerity and kindness.

But also be aware that everyone has darkness and we must not trust blindly. Only a fool opens themselves to the possibility of wickedness without a measure of protection.

With that in mind, if I could have branded some advice on my heart aged 16, I'd have shared the following:

Twelve Pieces of Advice

1. If they're gossiping about those around them - you're next. Everyone gossips a little - but some make it their raison d'etre. Look for hints of malice and glee.

2. Forgiveness is not an obligation, or a right, or even always safe. Forgive when you're ready, on your own terms.

3. Only you should choose who to be kind to. Those who demand you offer no judgment and that you must be kind are trying to break your boundaries. This is a form of grooming. Believe yourself.

4. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

5. Seek out those who laugh with you.

6. Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

7. Love is not just the thing  -  it is everything. But unconditional love can turn you into a doormat.

8. Be a warrior, not a weakling.

9. Show loyalty to the loyal.

10. Don't listen at keyholes.

11. Trust, but not blindly.

12. And finally - and most important of all Alison - you must engrave this in your heart and never forget: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."


Youth is wasted on the young, as the saying goes. And unfortunately, the hard lessons life offers us must usually be learned by experiencing unkindness, cruelty and bad luck.

No amount of advice, however wise, can take the place of life lessons learned first hand.

Some of us however - and I include me in this - take far too long to learn lessons from experience too, and I could have really used advice as a young woman.

And I like to think that if I was somehow able to speak to myself, long ago and oh so far away, I would have had the ability to listen, and absorb at least some of the wisdom of decades.

I believe we all play with the idea of going back in time to right wrongs, whether in our own lives or in others. The problem for me is that, even in my imagination, is that I can never go any further back than the birth of my second child. If I altered anything before that, I might not have the wonderful children, now young adults, whom I was blessed with. I can't wish for that, even in a daydream.

But perhaps, on another timeline in a parallel world, Alison 2 gave this advice to Alison 1, who is now sitting on a yacht sipping Pina Coladas, secure in the knowledge that they dodged many bullets.

So what would you say to yourself, dear reader, if you could make a phone call to the past?

And do you think you'd listen?


Killing us with kindness

Judge Like Dredd

Discard them, dont forgive them



About the Creator

Alison Tennent - The Celtic Chameleon

Just open your veins and write.

Find me on Substack

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