A few weeks ago, my wonderful friend Rosie asked me what I would say to my 16-year-old self, if I had the chance. This of course got me thinking about all the things that have happened in the last five years, and all the things I could have done differently. My first thought is that there is so much that I would change, but then I realised that actually, there isn't. I have regrets, the same as everybody else. I've made plenty of mistakes, and there are things that I wish I'd handled differently. But all of the things that have happened have led me to where I am now. If I had done something differently, would I still be where I am today? Possibly not. If I could go back in time and change things and risk not having the life I have now, I'm not entirely sure I'd risk it. So if there's nothing I'd want to completely change, what would I say to my sixteen year old self?
Me and my best friend Danielle, aged 16.
Dear sixteen year old Lauren
Erase the image of 'a perfect life' from your head, because it doesn't exist. Don't feel too bad about the parts of your life that aren't what you want them to be, because the people who you believe to be living a perfect life have just as many struggles as you do. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.
Know that no matter how much grief you give him, no man will ever love you as much as your dad does. Enjoy picking on your little brother while you can, because in a few years time he's going to be bigger, stronger and quicker than you are. Appreciate him while he's still little, because before you know it he'll be 6'2 and use words like 'peng'.
Sadly, your boobs are not going to grow. Make the most of what you've got until you're old enough and rich enough to get them fixed. M&S padded bras are a godsend.
You're going to get really fat, and you're going to hate what you see in the mirror. But you're also going to find the strength to completely turn your life around. Maybe it will take more than five years for you to learn to love yourself, but I have every faith that you'll get there in the end.
No matter what your Nan tells you, the crazy hair dye won't make you go bald. Make the most of having red, purple, pink, blonde and black hair while you're still young enough to pull it off.
You're going to fall hopelessly in love with unsuitable men, and you're going to get your heart broken. Don't worry, it'll fix itself.
Don't be afraid of high heels. So what if you're 6'4 on a night out? At least you'll never get lost in a crowd.
Above all else - stick to your instincts. They're normally spot on. Do what you feel is right, and don't let anybody else convince you otherwise.
twenty-one year old Lauren
Slightly more intoxicated, 5 years later - to the day!
P.S Weigh-in post to follow tomorrow!!