I used to think about you every night before I went to sleep. I would draw you in my mind, paying careful attention to each detail, until you were as real to me as the pillow underneath my head. This was my nightly ritual, imagining the person you would be- or an idealised version of that person. It was like a mantra, as I went through each and every part of your body, every aspect of your personality, your habits, talents, relationships.

You would be prettier than me, obviously, with straighter teeth and a thinner waist and shinier hair and eyes a more vivid blue. Your collarbones would stick out, your skin would be as soft as silk, you would smell like vanilla. You would be funnier than me, more clever than me, nicer than me, more confident than me. You would never feel sad, or insecure, or lonely. You would somehow love running, something I could never stand, and you would do a hundred sit-ups every day.

Your appetite would be smaller than mine, but you would love eating vegetables instead of takeaways. You would never get sick, you would never feel fed up, you would get nine hours of sleep every night.

The list goes on and on, stretching out into the early hours of the morning. You are impossibly perfect, like a Barbie doll. The other night I was thinking about you when I realised that I have been dreaming of you for years now. Just as I fantasise about you in college, a younger version of myself must have thought about me, now, in secondary school. And yet here I am, nothing at all like the dreams of my thirteen-year-old self.

I have been romanticising you for years, putting you on an imaginary pedestal, but you are just a person, like me. You are me, just older, and wiser, and hopefully happier. You are human. You have faults. Now, when I can’t sleep, I still think of you, but in a different way. You are enjoying every minute of your college course, planning a career, eating Chinese with your friends on a Friday. I see you watching films, shopping, singing in the shower. You have doubts, you have days when you feel down, but you have people you can talk to, people who can help.

I hope you are in love with your life, just as I have been in love with the idea of you. I can’t wait to be you.

Your teenage self.  X

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