A Letter To My Fifteen Year Old Self

Hey,

It’s me, or rather, you, from the future. Put down the star trek fan fiction, we need to talk. I have good news and bad news.

The good news is, you having fuller lips won’t be as bad as you think. Sure, you get made fun of it for now, but in about ten years, it will be fashionable, and both men and women will pay tons of money for surgery and lip glosses that promise the plump pout you are currently embarrassed of. I mean, it will be favoured on white women over you, but it’s something.

Don’t bother fucking about with your eyebrows either, because it isn’t worth the effort. Thicker brows will be fashionable too, and let’s be real, you can’t handle pain, so waxing, plucking or threading really will never be an option for us. Now I’ve typed all that, I’m concerned that they may be out again. Luckily for you, you learn, over time, not to care anyway. They’re just eyebrows.

Onto some bad news, but with a hint of good news. You will never “grow into your nose”, and you won’t learn how to contour it away either. However, you will one day learn to accept that your face would completely change if it was different, and that is a reminder of your heritage, and you will realise the importance of keeping your past close to you, because it’s a lonely, fucked up world, and sometimes, all you will have is yourself, so it will be comforting to be able to remember where you came from. You are a concoction of so many different places and people, and that is something to be proud of, so don’t be ashamed that you look different, because that’s fine.

You’ve spent your whole life feeling like you didn’t fit in, and a lot of people around you contributed to that. A lot of kids picked on you, and called you weird or ugly. Some were even racist, which is fucked up and you’ll probably still think about it for a long time, but don’t hold onto your anger for them. It doesn’t help you, and it won’t change them. You are responsible for you. You can’t make everyone good. You survived, and that’s all that matters. Maybe they grew up to be better people by themselves, maybe they didn’t, I don’t know, because I’m busy doing my own thing, but I wish I (or you), had learned to do that sooner.

2017, which is where I am now, is going to be weird as fuck, and you should prepare for that as best you can. You’ve seen some pretty weird and fucked up things already, so I wish I didn’t have to tell you it gets worse, but I do, and I’m sorry about that. It turns out you were right about Tony Blair, but you were wrong about Kevin Spacey. You were very, very wrong about Kevin Spacey. You will discover that sometimes, evil can be hidden by nice things, and nice gestures, and a nice face, and you will never stop being astounded and disgusted by it. You will never really learn to be aloof or unsurprised by supposedly good people turning out to be awful, but maybe that’s a good thing. You were also wrong about Seamus Heaney, but he isn’t a sex offender like Kevin Spacey (probably should have mentioned that in more detail earlier, sorry), he’s just a better writer than your jealous teenage self was willing to acknowledge, and at some point, you will find it within yourself to admit that you only dislike him because he has a nobel prize, and you don’t (yet). There is still time for you, and you don’t have to dislike people because they have achieved things you haven’t, especially when you are literally still in school, and haven’t even finished your exams. He’s 53 years older than you, so it is to be expected that he will achieve things you want, before you do. Give yourself a chance to grow, and you’ll do all those things too. With this in mind, you can also stop hating about 45% of celebrities and public figures that you don’t like, because the same thing applies. You have plenty of time to collect trophies, sign books and perform.

On the bright side, there will be a new Star Trek series, with a black female lead, and a better chance of not being cancelled like enterprise, but to enjoy that, you first have to endure a Tory government, leaving the European Union, and an absolute bastard being the president of the US.

I probably should have done those one at a time, but it’s important that you understand something. Many of those things happened because of voter apathy, and I know that right now, you’re super hype for politics and desperate to vote, but in about three years, that enthusiasm will die, and one man is responsible. When you were (or are) eighteen, you will vote for the liberal democrats, because Nick Clegg makes a lot of promises. Nick Clegg will then form a coalition with the conservatives and the effects will be devastating to the country, and to you too. It will break your heart. You will lose complete faith in politicians, and it will take a long time to get it back. You get your groove back after seeing Nicola Sturgeon in a debate during the 2015 election, and will reluctantly return to the Labour roots you were raised on, because it’s the closest thing to the SNP in England (I mean, it isn’t really, but it’s the best you can do), so if we ever get a chance to do 2010 again, save yourself some heartache and just vote labour or green. It doesn’t actually matter how you vote really, in the bigger picture, because you’re registered to vote in a safe Tory seat, but it might make you personally feel better. The moral of that story is, people might let you down, specifically politicians, but not all of them are the same and many of them do want to help. Don’t give up and definitely use your vote, and encourage others to do the same, no matter how annoying it makes you feel, because people not voting led to most of 2017.

Speaking of men in 2010 who will break your heart, there will be a man that you meet on a tube train, on New Year’s Eve, he will make lots of promises and tell you so many nice things, but he will ruin your life for about two years, and to be completely honest, you’ll still be slightly broken in 2017, and maybe further on, I don’t know yet, so again, if we get the chance to do 2010 again, don’t talk to anyone on the tube. It’s frowned on anyway, regardless of how Northern your upbringing was. Keep your mouth shut and read a book in uncomfortable silence, like everyone else.

Back to how fucked up 2017 is. You will be devastated by the result of the EU referendum, and will briefly consider desperately attempting to get Spanish citizenship and leaving the UK forever. I don’t know if the UK will actually leave now, because it’s currently a bit of a clusterfuck, but whatever happens, you will be okay, and the UK isn’t so bad (at least, some parts of it, anyway). Please remember to speak English in public at all times, for your own safety, because some people will go nuts and be unrelentingly xenophobic after the referendum, but keep to yourself, and don’t talk to strangers, especially in Spanish, and you’ll probably be fine. You will have to stop pretending not to speak English to avoid gross men, as this could get you into way more trouble than before, and you may feel like this place isn’t your home anymore, but there are places where you will still feel like you belong, so hold onto that.

Donald Trump becomes president. This doesn’t directly effect you all that much, but you will hate it all the same. For a while, you will feel there is no good left in the world, but there is, I promise. You just have to look harder to find it, these days. Oh, and you will later discover that he, like many people in 2017, is the absolute fucking worst, and you will no longer feel guilty about your angry blog posts about him taking up space at Wrestlemania.

You won’t be a Broadway star, like you wanted, not in 2017 anyway, but weirdly enough, Broadway World, a website where you spent most of your childhood, writes an article about one of your books this year, so that’s a nice consolation prize. You will go to university, though, like you wanted, and you’ll be a writer, which you’re just getting interested in now as I remember. You also dip back into music, and a song you compose gets thousands of streams on Spotify. I’m aware you don’t know what that means yet, or what Spotify is, but basically, thousands of people hear your music, and that’s pretty fucking cool. It’s like music downloads, except you will get way less money in royalties, so we aren’t exactly living fancy yet, but I’m working on it.

You are currently sad. I remember it so well, and I wish I could tell you that everything magically gets better, but it doesn’t. You’ll later be diagnosed with depression, and you’ll be resistant as fuck to it, because you’re used to helping the people around you with their own stuff, and it will be hard to accept that you need help to, but take it, because it doesn’t make you weak.

Depression isn’t your only problem. I know this is all pretty bleak, and I’ll stick more goodness in this soon, but I’m just writing it as it comes. You will go through many things that will make you question who you are, and will make you feel like life isn’t worth it, this will of course not be helped by the depression you are not yet currently aware that you have, but even without depression, it’s a lot to go through. You survive. That’s all I can promise. I can’t tell you it won’t hurt, but I can tell you that you survive.

Your handwriting never gets any better, by the way, but you have a very impressive typing speed, so stop worrying about that. You will barely write by hand once you leave sixth form anyway, and you will have the convenient excuse of never writing by hand, because you want to save the planet from deforestation. To be real, though, I think people are aware that you’re just really bad at writing by hand, but many people you meet are too polite to say so.

Right now, you think you’re very smart and mature, because you listen to radio 4, and read the Guardian, but you still have lots to learn, and realistically, you’re a very young fifteen, at least emotionally. I really wish we got a second shot at 2010, or any of the years actually, because there is so much we could do differently. There is so much you didn’t know, and so much that I can’t protect you from, that still haunts me to this day, but realistically, I can’t. We can’t. All that we can do is be thankful that we made it this far, and keep going.

Your survival is all that matters. Things will be tough. Things will be devastating. You will get your heart broken (no bones though, so we still hold that record), you will be disappointed, you will feel like a failure, but you will live on and you will feel joy, and passion, and pride, and you will survive.

Whatever happens, keep fucking going. You may not get exactly what you want, and things might feel hopeless some days, but you survive, and that’s all you can do sometimes.

As I write this right now, you are happyish. Things are okay. You’re currently waiting for your new music video to process through editing software, and trying to pass the time, by saying hello to the girl you once were. You had a decent night of sleep last night, despite being caught in traffic for ages. You look a bit of a mess because you didn’t put on make up this morning, but you’re still cute, and most importantly, you are still fucking here.

Besos,

J x

PS. You don’t learn to swear less, and around 2012, you stop putting it on your new year’s resolution list, because it just isn’t fucking realistic. Sorry.


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It’s Time To Talk About EVE (Because Many People In The Wrestling Industry Won’t).

Everybody is talking about EVE lately. Absolutely everyone! That is… except for wrestling media, you know, the people who are literally employed to talk about wrestling. It’s undeniable that EVE have been opened to whole new audiences through literal months of mainstream exposure. Mainstream reporters can’t get enough of them (I don’t blame them), and it seems like every week, EVE is covered in a new article, or they’ve sold out another show (so much for “women don’t sell tickets”) or one of their talents has had huge success. Now, Buzzfeed, The BBC, and Kate Fucking Nash are talking about EVE, so why are they still treated like Billy Lenz from Black Christmas (unrelated but please watch this classic movie, amen), when they’re doing so well?

Let’s have a look at some possibilities…

  1. Could it be that EVE is a female centric promotion? 

Possibly. Acknowledging the success and mainstream attention that EVE have received over the last few months involves acknowledging that women are entirely responsible for this, and you’d have to be delusional to think that there aren’t still some in the wrestling media who have a problem with this.

In terms of content, EVE are undeniably a feminist group, and it could be argued that some in the wrestling media want a women’s revolution, but don’t want one that takes the narrative from men, and centres the revolution around women lifting themselves and others from the shadows, and taking opportunities, instead of a man being generous enough to give them that new platform. If you look at WWE’s alleged women’s revolution, for example, the majority of content produced has made sure to give special thanks to Triple H, as if he did something incredibly generous by allowing women more than two minutes per match on NXT. Not to be harsh, but men really shouldn’t be applauded for investing time and resources equally for their talents. Triple H didn’t do anything amazing, he just did what he, and others in his position, should have been doing for a long time.

EVE is very clear that their revolution, which happened several years ahead of many current attempts, is by women and for women, and it’s very easy to see why some of wrestling media could be intimidated by that fact.

2.  Is it because EVE is determined to make women feel welcome in wrestling? 

I don’t want to hear “not all men!” I know that it isn’t all men. I’m very aware. However, you would have to be either a liar or delusional to say that there isn’t a huge problem with the treatment of women, predominantly by men, in both the wrestling industry and the wrestling fandom.

Female talents are often harassed, some are even abused, and the same is true for female fans. Women in wrestling are often made to feel like they don’t belong, and that if they are allowed to belong, it’s only because “They’re not like the other girls. They’re one of the boys.” A woman, more often than not, can either belong, under certain conditions, or be isolated. EVE say “Fuck no” to that.

Not only do their shows give a platform for women across the wrestling industry to showcase their talent, but their shows give a safe space for women to enjoy wrestling. I know that people are sick of the phrase “safe space”, but honestly, I think we are sick of requiring safe spaces. I don’t think I’ve met a female wrestling fan, or female wrestler who doesn’t have at least one story of being verbally attacked, sexually harassed and even sexually assaulted at a wrestling event. It isn’t enough to say “We won’t put up with it”, when this happens. It is time to say actually show this, by kicking troublemakers out of shows, making sure fans and talent are heard when they have an issue, and generally, making your show a place where people feel safe, which is something EVE do, but many other promotions are failing at, when it really isn’t that hard.

EVE have been vocal in support for abuse survivors, and have made it clear that they will do all they can to make all of their fans and talent feel safe, and they don’t just tweet about it and then ignore their duties, they actually stick to it. Many promotions will talk a good game about making their shows safe, but will still book abusers, and will either ignore fan criticism, or get overly defensive about what is actually a fair point, EVE is not only not doing that, but they’re calling out places that do.

3. Is it because EVE are giving too many women ideas?

I know, this one sounds a bit out there, but hear me out. As I mentioned earlier, there seems to be a great desire, in the wrestling industry, and in many wrestling media outlets to roll with the idea that Triple H, Patron Saint Of Women’s Wrestling, and his wife Stephanie “Philanthropy is the future of marketing, it’s the way brands are going to win” McMahon blessed us with the women’s revolution, and basically invented women’s wrestling, and they absolutely did it because they love us, and not because they could clearly see they were losing money from women’s wrestling fans who were migrating to promotions that gave a shit about women. This is, of course, not true. Stephanie McMahon’s husband, as important to women’s wrestling as he may be marketed, did not in fact, invent or even popularise women’s wrestling. Women’s wrestling has always been there. This revisionist history is to remove the narrative of women doing great things, and to replace it with the narrative of men being nice enough to encourage women to do nice things, but only certain women.

EVE, at it’s core, removes the second narrative all together. It is literally women, saying to other women, “You got this. We got this.”

I remember, from my own misadventures in wrestling, meeting EVE’s poster lady, Rhia O’Reilly, and instantly feeling so welcomed and supported by her. She was somebody who constantly encouraged me, even when I must have been incredibly frustrating to work with, and she never gave up on me. Now, I may not have become the cool wrestler I dreamed of, but I became one hell of a manager, and I would throw a lot of credit for that to Rhia, and women like her, many of whom are a part of EVE, for seeing a girl who was clearly overwhelmed and intimidated, and giving her the confidence to go for it. Sometimes, all that is needed is the simple message of “You belong here too. Please stay.” to keep someone from turning away from something they love, and EVE have done this for countless women, both in the industry and the fandom.

Now, imagine if, with the encouragement of a loud and proud, feminist wrestling promotion, more women took this encouragement and applied it to other aspects of wrestling. Currently, many women don’t find success in wrestling outlets, such as magazines, youtube channels and podcasts, because of the abuse women in those positions face, but what if they had a promotion… like, a female promotion, that backed them 100%, offered encouragement and happily supported women across the wrestling media.

I mean, if I was a fragile misogynist, EVE would scare the shit out of me too.

Find out more about EVE by visiting their website.

Besos,

J x


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