If you could write a letter to your teenage self, what would you say?
This latest short film from Northern Ireland based Stay Beautiful Films tells the story of a brave writer who shares a letter to her younger self on the secret she holds, hate she is facing and her wish to be normal.
Based on a popular blog post written by local journalist Lyra McKee in 2014 responding to homophobic comments she wrote a letter to her 14-year-old self, 10 years later, as a 24 year old looking back. Lyra explained how such hateful remarks made her ‘feel like I was better off dead, rather than deal with the shame of being gay.’ The blog post went viral, news coverage included a discussion BBC Radio and the online story-sharing site Upworthy.
Film Director, Brian Mulholland said “it was the truthfulness and honesty of the story which drew us to wanting to make it as a film. I can relate to the awkwardness faced at that age and feeling like you are the only one going through it. If one person identifies with the piece and it helps them, then it has done its job.”
Brian continued, “Filmed in a ‘day in the life’ style, you see a young girl going to and from school hearing the voice of her older self. The biggest challenge was finding an actress who looked the part, was able to portray the sadness and happiness and could also narrate the piece as their emotionally more mature self. We were lucky in casting local talented actress Jazzmin McClure.”
Writer Lyra McKee reflected, “The older I get, the more I realise that everyone is hiding in the closet in some way – and not necessarily because of their sexuality. Maybe you pretend to be someone who enjoys your 9-5 office job even though it’s killing you. Maybe you pretend to be happy when you’re not. Whatever your secret is, I hope you walk away from this film knowing that it does get better. When I was 14, I didn’t think a world existed where I could be gay and out and happy at the same time. I was wrong.”
You can watch ‘Letter to my 14 year old self’ on youtube and share your own story on staybeautifilms.co.uk or using #lettertomyself