Dear 16-year Old Me

 A powerful video with an emotional but very real message.  Please, watch before you read. Many of you may have seen it already.

I don’t imagine I’ll do much posting of youtube videos on this blog, but this really struck me, & stayed with me for days.  The message itself is enough to make you think, the style of video impressed me too & reminded me of the power of medium; how important the way you say something is.

 The video broadcasts itself to 16 year olds, hypothetically, & thus allows those of us past the age of 16 to avoid a direct hit.  We can totally relate to looking back & thinking ‘what was I thinking with that (insert teenage faux pas)’, but the reprimand, the exhortation if you will, is not aimed at us, *phew*.  As the video progresses, we realise that we are still not that different from the people telling their stories.  And then we cannot ignore the fact that they, like us, thought “It’s not going to happen to me”.  Except that it did happen to them, and could happen to you. Or me.

Many Western Whitey’s like to skirt around what have become awkward issues in our societies; we don’t like to talk about money, its rude to ask a woman her age, and we certainly have no real place for questions & conversations around illness & death.  I find this an interesting cultural practice, & am grateful that its one I feel I have a bit of distance from.  People don’t know what to do with these kinds of conversations, & its a pity really.  Without getting too deep or morbid, I think its a topic that gives rise to great honesty about our fragility as people, & the reality of eternity & those conversations tend to be significant & cathartic.

I think about these things a lot, so am likely to veer off should I continue much longer.  Suffice to say, I cannot change what 16 year old me did, but 26 year old me can bite the bullet, buy proper sunscreen, & not be too lazy to wear it.  I can settle for not being a bronzed babe for as much of the year as possible, & be responsible for keeping an eye on my skin.  While I’m at it, why stop at Melanoma?  I’m not planning to turn into a paranoid hypochondriac, fear not friends.  My point is this, “It’s not going to happen to me” bears the echo of famous last words.

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