Dear 16 year old me,
It’s 2001 and you’re going into Year 10, where you’ll spend most of the year confused about yourself and the world around you.
Going through puberty really does your head in, as you deal with your emotions and hormones as a 16 year old girl.
You’re very much comfortable being in a t-shirt and shorts/jeans. That is perfectly fine, as that will not change much well into your adulthood. You do you. Ignore those who give you shit about being a tomboy.
It’s perfectly okay to be confused about your sexuality. Remember when you had a crush on your mum’s friend, Jade? You found that fucking confusing because you were 15 and dating Steven at the time. Whilst Steven was a lovely boy, you weren’t attracted to him. You dated him because your friends thought he was hot, so you decided to date him because he liked you and well, he was nice to you. Just keep in mind that this happened last year, hence spending this year confused.
You should have stopped dating boys when Steven broke up with you last year.
You’ll be forced to date James, and you will go along with it because why not…and you wanted to be straight. Don’t do this. You’ll be miserable most of the time.
Don’t date Aaron. You’ll experience 3 months of awkwardness. You won’t enjoy snogging him. He’ll say he loves you and you will be unable to say it back…because you know you don’t love him.
Don’t date Nick because he will give you 6 months of sexual and emotional abuse, which will be carried well into your adulthood. He will break you. He will not teach you about healthy sexual relationships. He’s a textbook narcissist.
DO NOT SHAG MEN. JUST DON’T. You won’t enjoy that.
You are queer as fuck, and you will have moments throughout your adulthood when you wish you had embraced your sexuality during your late teens.
There’s not many deaf people who identify as LGBTQIA+ who are close to your age, and that bloody well sucks. However, please reach out to Deaf LGBTQIA+ people and ask if they know of any queer deaf people under 20.
You will have crushes on numerous women. If you thought you wanted to be them…darling, I have news for you – you wanted to be WITH them.
Sherrie, it’s okay to be attracted to women. It’s okay to have crushes on them. It’s okay to want to date them.
Most importantly, it’s okay to talk to Mum about this. She will accept and understand you. She went through similar things as you. By the time you’re 16, she will have dated a few women and welcomed them into the family. She will have introduced you to her friends who could have been your confidants and role models – even that 17 year old queer girl she introduced you to on MSN. She knows you’re queer; she will have suspected of that since you were a child.
Heck, she will have invited you to watch If Those Walls Could Talk 2 with her and her partner. It’s okay to go into your room and be confused about how you found those women so damn appealing. Embrace that moment. You weren’t meant to be straight, my love.
The friends you have at school will not be your people during your 30s — they will not be your life-long friends. You will maintain contact with Michael and Chad well into your adulthood, and that’ll be about it. You won’t maintain connections with anyone else from Kogarah High. You’ll see some of them in passing and quickly catch up at events or on social media.
Steer well clear of Sawyer, as they will betray you numerous times from this point on. They were never your true friend.
It’s okay to be unsure of what you want to do when you finish school. You will be thankful for Mrs Brookes giving you an opportunity to do Year 10 work experience twice. Your second work experience at Australian Association of the Deaf (later to be re-named to Deaf Australia) will give you an insight into what you are destined for.
There’s no timeline for when you are supposed to be achieving life milestones. By now you will have told Mum that you will have your first kid at the age of 25. Darling, that will not happen because you will have decided by the age of 30, you will not be having any kids.
You won’t finish high school and do your HSC — and that is fine. Who the fuck needs HSC anyway. You’ll have two degrees and have had amazing jobs by the time you’re 35.
Tell Mrs Phillips to fuck off when she tells you that you’ll never go to university and have a good future. You’ll already have gotten your exit form signed by then, so she cannot suspend you for telling her to shove it.
Be your authentic self. Fuck what others think of you — if they do not like what you do or who you are, then that’s their problem.
Go and be awesome, for you will be going places.
34 year old Sherrie xxx