Thursday 21 January 2016

Picture The Young You

I read something in a magazine the other day which I found fascinating. It was actually about dating, but I reckon you can use it for anything.

The writer said that if you have to make an important decision (like whether to accept a marriage proposal), you should take a picture of yourself as a child, looking all fresh and innocent and smiley, and ask yourself "would I want this for her/him?"

I thought I'd try it.

I found a picture of myself aged about ten. It was one of those formal school portraits. I had long, straight, dark hair pinned back with kirby grips. I had a gap toothed smile. I was proudly wearing my HEAD GIRL badge, pinned to my pale blue, nylon, polo neck jumper.

(That was before the rebellious years, when I was a frightful goody goody).

I looked hard at that little girl, all sparkly eyes and unshakeable belief that the world held all sorts of possibilities, just waiting for me to come and grab them.

And I thought would I want her to drink a bottle of wine a day? Would I want her to waste all that talent and enthusiasm for life just getting over a hangover and waiting for the next drink.

I let her down, that little girl. And now I have to make it up to her.

So then I thought what did she LOVE back then? What made her heart race faster? (Apart from Ben - the HEAD BOY).

And the answer was words.

I spent hours and hours reading. Hiding under my duvet with a torch. I often had four of five books on the go simultaneously. I read and re-read my favourites until they fell apart.

And I wrote. A diary - for many years, and lots of stories. A poem I wrote at about that age was a runner up in a WHSmith writing competition.

If I can find a way of taking that passion and turning it into a new career, a way of life, then I'll have done her proud.

So, next time you feel like a large glass of vino, find a photo of your younger self, and think is that what I want for her?

I bet it's not.

Then ask what is? And go do it.

Love SM x


  1. Great thought process SM. Along those lines how does one explain drinking to a ten year old child? If the child asks why do you drink alcohol - how does one (your new self and your old drinking self) explain that to them? And if they then ask why they can't drink - you have great reasons to give them. If they ask again tell me why you drink Mommy/Daddy? It seems there is no good answer - which tells us something.

    On a different note - any chance of posting the ten year old SM's poem?


    1. I'm afraid it's been lost in the mists of time, Eeyore! Probably just as well....

  2. I LOVE this. Thank you so much. I definitely wouldn't want what I have been doing for the past I-don't-know-how-many years for 'my' little girl. What a wonderful thing to do to help me remember self-care and self-love. I will be thinking of me as a little girl all the time now and I think it will help. Thank you again!

    1. Thank you, and welcome Jeanette! Big hugs xx

  3. I feel like that when I look at my daughter-would I want for her what I have done to myself? It makes me tearful just thinking about it. Lots of love for another wonderful post-keep writing xx

  4. Oh SM - you've just made me fill up with this post - the thought of "little" you, and would you want her to drink a bottle of wine etc..What an amazing tool this is. (I can't even think about my daughter right now or I'll properly ball). I, too, used to devour words at that age. I had one of those yo-yo's that would light up, and I took it apart and jigged it so I could use it as a torch to read under my covers after lights out. I was a book-monster. I'm rediscovering that joy. Red xx

  5. I started on what has proved to be a slippery slope at about 16/17..... what a waste really. I can't do much about the past except try and compress it into a small hard ball that I can squeeze when I feel my resolve wavering. I don't believe in any God and nobody made me drink. As ever, your words are wise and to the point and make me reflect on what I could have been without the booze. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but whatever happens, it will be better to see it out sober.


  6. Your posts ALWAYS have something wonderful and touching in them but this one has really hit a spot with me. Being a timid and very shy child I was a huge bookworm and libraries were my sanctuary until I had to go home then laying on my bed with the smell of the books surrounding me was my idyll. I've always wanted to work in a little bookshop and harboured thoughts of writing something of my own some day. Thanks for reminding me that I must follow my true path and get back to words x

  7. BRILLIANT!!! I am going to find a picture of 8-year-old me and keep it with me. I would never let her touch that poison!! It will also be helpful if I decide to try to date again. I love this idea. Thank you, SoberMummy <3

  8. Yes! Looking at my kids and think the same thing x

  9. Love this post! I have been poignantly missing my youth lately, not my twenties, or thirties or forties even, but my childhood. The world was such a kinder place back then and that little girl that was me held such high hopes. I, too, am going to start trying to find her dreams and do my damndest to make a few come true. Because I can now.