Dear 13-year-old Jess,


November 16, 2010 by jessperriam

Hey, this is the 25 year-old version of yourself talking. Yes. I have officially blown your 1998 mind. I don’t think you can even imagine yourself as being 25. So old… Ha. Watch who you’re calling old.

Anyhoo, remember when you were playing on that mixed hockey team and you were playing on the wing – you always had to play an attacking position rather than defending. Something about being too wimpy to deliberately stop the opponents in their tracks. Besides you always wanted to *ahem* score. And sometimes you did. Mostly you didn’t. There were only three girls on the team and the other two were in defence so you had a hard time trying to convince the boys to pass the ball to you and give you a go.

Long story short, in the team yearbook at the end of the season the coach wrote a message to you about being more tenacious. You didn’t even know what that word meant. But once you looked in up in the dictionary (you’ll discover soon enough) you took the message on board and was tenacious. With everything. And it’s become one of your strongest attributes.

I’m not gonna lie, 13 year-old Jess – you were a loser. But don’t feel too disheartened. There were many loser phases. You’ll have at the very least two more years of sheer, unadulterated loserdom before you even become the slightest bit awesome.

Remember  when you and your two mates entered the LipSynch competition for WinFest? And you came second only because the other act were Year Elevens and somehow one teacher thought it was wrong that Year Eights should pwn the older students at singing miming and dancing. Yeah, that was weird. You kids kinda rocked. But why did you pick an obscure Savage Garden song to dance to? Oh yeah, that’s right one of your mates was convinced she was going to marry Darren Hayes… *awkward silence*

You had flashes of brilliance that have plotted the course of where I am today (actually, I’m just sitting in the spare room at Mum and Dad’s, it’s my temporary bedroom). There was that one lunchtime where the media teacher came up to you and your friend (the same miming and dancing one) and suggested you have a radio show once every few weeks on the lunchtime radio station (read: PA system with two microphones, a basic mixer, some CD players and cassette (!) decks). You were captivated by it from the first moment and you didn’t really look back – you now work in radio. Sure you had to bring out some of the hockey style tenacity to get there, but you got there.

And this writing caper? Well, I remember very clearly a piece of creative writing you had to do in English. It still blows me away that you and I had the brains to dream it up. It was so good the teacher read it out in class.  You got an A+++ on it [please place requests to read said piece of literary gold in the comments box], so well done you. But you will go on to live for words. The written word is your best weapon and your most faithful ally. It will serve you well and stop you from going insane in the years to come.

But the moral of the creative writing story is that you first felt you were exceptional at something. And that’s why I’m here reminding you of that. You won’t produce exceptional stuff all the time. That’s just human nature to have off moments. But you are exceptional.

Speaking of exceptional: your friends. Friends will come and go, ebb and flow. But the ones I have here right now are the best. The Best. They are fun, they are smart, funny and caring. And they will let you be you when you are at your lowest, they will make you laugh until you cry at the highest. And they won’t be offended when you have a rough night on the gin and tonic and spew up their well-intentioned vegemite on toast. They are gold.  And the best bit? You will make new friends all the time – friends who will challenge you and embrace you.

Yes, some people will treat you like shit. But you are remarkably resilient. I’m on my own right now but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Life is good. Spectacularly so.

You can’t even find Albania on a map, let alone have you ever heard of a small island group called the Faroe Islands. But you’ll have had many a great adventure there along with many other places in the world. Hell, you don’t even have a passport… sucks to be you, 13 year old Jess!

But hey, I just wanted to tell you thanks for being you, and thanks in advance for the person you’re going to become. You will probably disregard all of this advice but you’ll find your own way there.

Have fun, be angsty (it’s prescribed with teenage hormones), but chillax a little.


25 year-old Jess.

PS. SPOILER ALERT! Here are some things that you probably won’t believe will happen:

*You know Daniel and Sarah? They’re the two in 8A who are going out. You’ll go to their wedding in 2009. I know you think that’s a long way away. And it was.

*Oh, you’ll get a tattoo. It’ll be an ok but meaningful experience.

*And while we’re at it: you’ll be an aunty at the age of 21. You don’t have to say anything… your nieces will be cute.

*You will like beer. True.

*You still won’t like cooked eggs. But that’s ok. You’ll find solace in other like minded people and the other range of cooked goods on the breakfast menu.

What would you thank your 13 year old self for?


8 thoughts on “Dear 13-year-old Jess,

  1. Carol Perriam says:

    I think this is your best bit of writing. You have come a long way and the way ahead is only up with a few little downs thrown in.
    love mum

  2. Jacob Black says:

    Post up story! Do it! Do it now.

    Also, Hello Jess’s Mum! Well done! Seriously, I know Jess, she’s AWESOME, I figure you probably get one or two points for that.

    Love Jacob.

    PS: While my ego prevents me from implying you’re a better writer than I am, I’ll have you know I check your page twice daily for new posts, and every single one enthralls me.

    • jessperriam says:

      Lol. In fact roflcopter AND lollerskates!

      I’ll post 13-year-old Jess’ writing brilliance if one other person requests it.

      It is pretty awesome though… you’ll never be able to get the majesty out of your mind once you’ve read it.

  3. […] I wrote a letter to my 13-year-old self a few days ago. I berated her a little bit, and then told her that what she did at that time […]

  4. Tim White says:

    Love it, and here’s a third request, just for fun/ego-boosting goodness! 🙂

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