An open letter to my rebellious self

Things will work out in the end.

Kristen Lazarte

Published: 15 May 2016, 4:19 PM

Dear 16-year-old me,

Thank you for being you. We may have gone through some struggles, regrets and even spent a few nights in lockup, but all of that just made me become wiser and I’ve learnt that there are consequences to every action.

Although you’ve struggled a lot to make me who I am today, be comforted that it was not in vain. Your rebellious phase – making all those mistakes and experimenting with different things – turned out to be a good thing. Hear me out.

Remember when you pierced the different parts of your body and ended up removing them after a few short months? What a waste of money!

See that piercing you did on your upper lip in an attempt to look original? It was cool then, but silly now because I realise I do not want my face pierced, especially not at 22 and job hunting.


Oh, remember when you got your first tattoo at 17? Oh god, that was such a bad one! Of all my seven tattoos, I think I regretted that one the most.

Your friend brought you to this shady tattoo parlour, and the tattooist (who reminded you of a weird old Chinese uncle) gave you a twist on the original tattoo design you wanted. Your dove silhouettes turned to Chinese sparrows! Now, I forever have the mark of my ancestry. This taught me not to make impulsive decisions that I might regret in the future.

I am sure you had fun with all those late nights of drinking, partying, and smoking. Did you really enjoy doing that every single night? I wish we had toned down on these carefree nights, because they took a toll on my body.

Maybe I’m not seeing the effects now, but the 40-year-old me will probably have more ailments, wrinkles and health problems than my peers.

Remember how the rest of your friends told you to go to school, but you’d say “I’m too cool for school!”? You would sleep the day away before meeting them at night to shisha and drink. You were so easily influenced, and you thought school was stupid just because you were taking a course that you had zero interest in.

I never thought I would say this, but I regret all the times I skipped classes, because that led to being expelled from school at 18. I gave up a proper tertiary education because I chose to lead a “wild” life over studying and getting a diploma. You were taking YOLO too literally, girl.


You were also too focussed on experimenting with the “wild” life, and that led you to commit some offences, albeit minor ones.

Remember how alone you felt when you were locked up overnight in that small, freezing room with that 40-year-old weepy woman, with nothing to do but stare at the greyish-blue walls of the 15-metre room, wishing you could undo it all? All because you thought you were above the law, by figuring out loopholes in the system.

But you didn’t learn and went ahead and committed the offences again, earning yourself an 18-month probationary period.

Remember all your grief and anger when mom wanted to put you in a girls’ home because she gave up on you? You will be surprised to know that you have, oddly enough, made our family stronger.

Thanks to your rebellious streak, you have helped me forge a better relationship with them. Although you were the black sheep, you needed support and that’s what family is all about, right? You will be happy to know that everyone put their differences aside to give you the help you needed to get over your crisis.

I may not get along with mom and dad now, but it will get better. All those fights I’ve had with them seem like a distant memory now. After all, mom and dad have learnt that being strict parents just made me a sneaky kid. Our relationships are more open now, which is nice.

Despite all the mistakes made, I’d like to thank you for helping me turn over a new leaf by being such a bad person.

So, thank you for forcing me to grow up and fix the bridges I once burned down.


Yours truly,

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