Nellie Tandoh

Dear Nellie,

Typical me…so formal! Anyways, I thought this would be difficult to write but here goes. You’ve been through a lot and you’re only 11. At a time of what should have been an exciting transition from child to early teens, you have had to deal with being taken out of an all-girls private school and put into a mixed state school because mum and dad have decided to separate. But you’ve kept it together, you didn’t rebel and you made sure your little sister was ok and unaware.

You’re a smart individual and being the new kid at school, you’re going to get teased for that and thrown names like “boffin”. But keep up the smarts and study hard, because you’ll end up at a great sixth form and university and meet some new people that will become your friends for life.

Your facial features are suddenly a point of interest at school too - “hey bugs bunny”, “big eyes”. Kids can be mean but don’t fret too much about it. You will grow into your eyes and get braces to sort that out. They’ll become features that you end up growing to love (along with other growth spurts that will have you leaving school with teens singing Kelis’s Milkshake *rolls eyes*) people are so fickle haha!

Anyways let me continue… don’t lose your passion for the art and theatre. It’s going to help build your confidence and create a path of opportunities that you would have never expected. Thank mum for buying all those journals and diaries you write in. They aren’t childish and it’s the beginning of your creative flow. Keep hold of them, because you’ll look back on some of the entries and laugh at how dramatic you were and felt. They are little gems of your journey, from friendships, family and of course boys (and the drama they create!).

Nellie, don’t ever dull your shine for anyone. Your bubbly smile and the way you listen to people is what makes you approachable and will help you build some of the greatest friendships and relationships you’ve had. Some may not last long and others will endure way into your twenties that those people will become your second family.

Love…oh love! You will love and you will hurt. One of your biggest lessons will come at that age of 17. You will be physically hurt and cautious from then on out, but it was never your fault so always remember that! Your second family will step in after you’ve been manipulated into isolating everyone, so rely on them and tell them how you really feel. They will be angry for you, but they will protect you so much. Also, don’t blame mum, she knew best and a mother’s intuition is never wrong. This relationship will cause a friction between you and mum for a while but will make the bond between you even stronger. Also don’t be so hard on dad! He does try and he loves you a lot. Though mum and dad are not together anymore, don’t stop spending time with him. He needs you more than he’ll let on and it’s probably where you get your sense of stubbornness from. Two peas in a pod!

You will serial date in your twenties, thinking you’ve found love and then lose love. Don’t be disheartened. You’ll reach a point where you’ll feel lost and a friend invites you to a church and at age 27 you’ll find God again. He’s going to take you on this surreal journey, where you’ll feel surer within yourself and start building a relationship with Him. He’ll also lead you to meet someone but a reminder, don’t overcompensate yourself like you always do.

Now before I go, there’s one last thing I want to say. You’ll hit a really rough patch at 22 and end up in a situation you never thought you would. It’ll make you depressed, a bit of a social recluse and be one of your biggest regrets…but you did it for the greater good. Would you have changed your mind if you could go back and change the situation? I highly doubt it, but it will make you really think about every decision you make moving forward. It’ll crush you from time to time and you’ll feel a certain way that will be difficult to describe to others. But you don’t have to explain yourself. Ride the feelings out and continue to be the strong, passionate, observant, creative, over-thinker that you are. You are loved more than you know.


Your “almost 30” year old self.

Contributed by Nellie Tandoh


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