Standard Issue writers have been penning a letter to their younger selves. This week Sofie Hagen wants her past self to be L-O-U-D.
Dear younger self,
Do not buy those bright turquoise harem pants in Indian silk. They are severely comfortable and you will end up buying more and look like a dick for a year. They will lead to you getting African braids, and listen: we do not have the face (or the history) for African braids.
Apart from that, you will do just fine. The only thing I am going to need you to change is this: be loud and if you already are, be louder.
When the casting director of a major film company asks you to do an angry, powerful voice, you will squeak like a mouse and try to use your baby-cheeks smile to make him like you. It will not work and you will not get the part. You will curse the years you spent whispering your points.
So when the principal of your school tells you to stop complaining, complain more. When the school pretends that there is nothing wrong with your arts & crafts teacher throwing a pair of scissors after you, do not back down. When a girl gets assaulted by a couple of guys on a field trip and the school gives them a mere two weeks of detention as a punishment, scream and shout, because she will be too afraid.
And later, when you start dating Silvia, you will have a strange feeling in your stomach. It will be vastly overshadowed by lots of other feelings, such as excitement over having met her and admiration. Do not ignore the feeling; let it be loud. For it is warning you: She is absolutely, one hundred per cent batshit crazy and she will talk you into getting a piercing, it will become a scar and she will fuck your friends. Every. Single. One. Run. Loudly.
Be loud. Be loud when you say no. To Peter. To Sigurd. To James. I know it will feel awkward; you do not want to be that girl, the girl who creates tension. If it helps, pretend that they are deaf; they might as well be. Societally deaf. Body language is not enough – I am going to need you to vocalise a loud, roaring “NO!” and consider using your knees – nothing says ‘no’ like a knee.
Tell people you love them. Loudly. When you turn 26, remind me of this again, because tomorrow, I will have forgotten myself.
Your grandmother is going to open up at the dinner table. She is going to say that she believes in God, because she wants to go to Heaven and see her family again. Her voice will tremble as she admits to this. Her husband will be loud and he will inform her that she will turn into dirt and that there is no God. This is where you get loud. And tell him to fuck off. You do not have to defend religion, but you do have to defend your grandmother’s right to believe.
They will ask you to be quiet. All the time. In the same breath, they will ask you to arch your back and wear heels. So slouch and be loud. They will not want you to tell them they are wrong – when they object, that is the number one sign, that they are just that: wrong.
Okay, fuck it – buy the harem pants. But do not get the African braids. Seriously, you will later on stumble across the term ‘cultural appropriation’ and you will wish you never did it. You will also wish you never did Thomas, but do him anyways, as it is always important to make mistakes and learn from them.
Sofie Hagen is a Danish stand-up comedian based in London. She is also a body positivity activist and a comedy writer.