Dear 16-Year-Old Me: Author Adiba Jaigirdar

"In a few years you will learn to love all of those things that make you different"

We chat to some of our favourite well-known people about what they’d say to their teenage-self. They reveal what their teens were like and the advice they’d give for the future.

This week, we’re chatting to  Bangladeshi/Irish writer and teacher Adiba Jaigirdar about the importance of representation and loneliness. 

“Dear teen Adiba,

I know sixteen is not an ideal age to be. There’s all of that exam stress, friend drama, figuring out what you want to do with your life, and who you really want to be. And you haven’t quite learned to accept or love all of the parts of yourself yet.

You’re still writing about all of the things you don’t know or understand, and you’re still trying to shrink down all of the things that mark you out as different.

You’re growing up in a world where nobody looks like you in the books you read, or the movies and TV shows you watch. So you still think being yourself is the loneliest thing there is to be – nobody can possibly understand what it’s like to be you.


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But in a few years, you will learn to love all of those things that make you different – to celebrate them fully and openly.

You’ll learn that they are exactly the parts of you that are the most special. And, even though nobody still looks like you in books or movies or TV shows, you get to be one of the people making sure that changes for the sixteen-year-olds that come after you.

You get to make the world a little less lonely.”

You can check out Adiba’s debut novel, ‘The Henna Wars’ here.

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