Letter To My 16-Year-Old Self: RuPaul Ryder

"Learn to be PROUD, you don’t realise how much those 5 letters will mean to your future."

 

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Each week, we chat to some of our favourite well-known people about what they’d say to their teenage-self. They get open and honest about what their teens were like and share the advice they’d give for the future.

This week we’re chatting to Paul Ryder, or also known as RuPaul Ryder. A performer, MC, choreographer, as well as MANY other things, Paul also appeared on Ireland’s Got Talent and is Director at Proud Dance Academy. In this letter, Paul chats about everything from being bullied and learning to be proud of who you are.

“Dear Paul,

As a teen you were living practically two very different lives, the school life side which was quiet, held back, afraid to say anything and fearful of being picked out for ridicule. Then you had this whole other happy, creative and bright side that loved the world of performance and felt completely free and loved within that.

On top of that, the best part of being a teen for you, was finding yourself and finding those friendships which to this day you cherish. Learning and loving yourself for your quirks and knowing that being ‘weird’ or ‘different’ was completely OK and that someday you’ll be celebrated for these things.

 

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Although, being bullied hands down has to be the worst part of teenage life for you and feeling completely alone in a place where you spend most of your hours. Being bullied for different reasons, glasses, being effeminate, slightly overweight, not playing sports, all things that made you not part of the ‘cool gang’ but don’t worry, they’ll eventually be bowing at your feet.
Speaking of school, it was a pretty rough ride. I think every LGBTQ+ person suffers some sort of hardship in school, its rare to hear that they don’t, and I was no different. You didn’t really fully know who you were or where your place at the table was in life but one thing is for sure, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the lessons you learnt through school made you a god-damn HEAVYWEIGHT.

But don’t worry, when you grow up it will all be a hella lot better than what it is now. Everything changes and what you were shot down for as a teenager, will something you’re celebrated for in later life. Enjoy this ride because you’re learning so much to prepare you for a whopper ride in the future.

 

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Since the age of 16, you’ve changed. Letting your heart open and welcome the good ones in and being able to sniff out the bad ones and entering into every situation with a fresh mind and ready to tackle every obstacle, wall, brick, bit by bit in order to find a really good level of happiness for yourself and not afraid to look back at the past and smile.

Although what hasn’t changed, you still give yourself SUCH a hard time. You don’t let up worrying about what others think and being way too cautious with your own thoughts. It turns out to be both a positive and a negative in life.

Right now, my biggest piece of advice to my teen self would be to keep on your path. Don’t give up even though you wanted to countless times, believe in yourself more and learn to take yourself a little bit less serious as you grow older. Don’t be afraid to rest, take a minute, breath and reset. It’ll be something you learn is vital in later life. But most of all learn to be PROUD, you don’t realise how much those 5 letters will mean to your future.”

 

Read more of our letters, from singers, actors, bloggers, sportspeople and loads of other interesting people, here.
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