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Friday 11 May 2012

Darren Hayes: a letter to his 15 year old self

This is a letter singer Darren Hayes wrote to his 15 year old self, on the eve of his 40th birthday a few days ago.

Read this moving piece.

Dear Darren,

I know this is going to sound insane, crazy even - but I'm writing this to you from the future. 25 years in the future actually. Where I come from it's the day before our 40th birthday. If my calculations are correct (and let's face it we've never been any good at maths and this never changes) you are reading this the day before your 15th birthday on May 7 1987. There are 25 years separating us and I am dying to let you know what will happen to you in the time between then (now) and now (then). 

Of course, I can't tell you what really happens. Not specifically. We've both seen Back to the Future and we both know if you have too much knowledge of your future you risk ruining it. I can tell you this much; if you doubt the existence of your future self there will be a sequel to Back To the Future released in a couple years time that is only half as good as the original and a few years after that, Part 3 which really solidifies the notion that, apart from the Star Wars movies (the first three - oh don't even ask!) most sequels pale in comparison to the originals. But if that's not proof enough that I am the real deal perhaps this much will be: I know you are in a lot of pain. You hide it from your friends and from your family, but I know you're having a rough time.

I know for example that the first two years of high school were hell for you. In May 1987 the bullying should be just about winding down by now.  If it makes you feel any better, that group of boys who called you 'faggot' and 'gay boy' - the ones who beat you up and harassed you so much you sometimes wanted to die? Well they end up getting the futures they deserve. Right about now I imagine you are just starting to realise there is something special about you Darren Hayes. What I want you to know is, the thing that made you a target is the thing that makes you beautiful. There will be times in your life where you will try to dull down your magic because it draws too much attention. But please don't do that. Please remember to shine because one day people are going to pay a lot of money to see you light up.  

Right - so what can I impart upon you that might help you in the journey from here to there? And what can I tell you about 'there'? Let me start with some helpful tips.

You're too young to have regrets and your future self doesn't believe in them anyway so please go forward knowing that you will never be given anything in your life you can't handle. There will be obstacles and terrible moments more terrible than your childhood. But you will overcome them. So don't waste any more energy worrying about the bad things to come.They come.You win.

Don't get too hung up on whether you like boys or girls. I know right now you're confused because you have a crush on a boy in your Maths 1 class and you had a crush on a girl in your French class. I know it is probably confronting but right now not a lot of people can admit to feeling like you do. Even you can't admit it to yourself but you can admit it to me.  You have a pure heart and you love without judgement or classification. But the world is a rigid place for a while and you're going to waste many years feeling guilty about your emotions. Please don't.  Trust me when I say one day you will work out the answer to your questions and you will know exactly who you are and which sex you're attracted to. You're still working it out and that's ok!  

Stop thinking you have AIDS. You haven't even kissed a boy. Go ask your doctor to explain to you how you get it but I can tell you right now you can't catch it from watching Bruce Willis movies. 

Don't worry about the future. I know that seems crazy since I'm taking the time to contact you from that very place - but trust me. Right now you're conflicted because you love to sing and you love to dance but everyone around you keeps telling you that you'll never make it.  You dream of becoming a big star but you think the odds are so stacked against you its impossible so you're squashing it all down. My advice to you? Take that position in the girl's choir. Your voice will stand out and Mrs. Landsdowne is going to realise you have a gift for singing. The rest will take care of itself but go to that choir audition. It will change your life.

Listen to your instincts. The only times you have ever messed up in your life are the times you've ignored your gut. Imagine you're Luke Skywalker. Being true to yourself is really no different to using the force. Just quiet your mind and you'll always know the right thing to do.

Please remember not to take any of it personally. You’re going to get a lot of insults and a lot of compliments in your life and I urge you to be suspicious of both.   

Remember that money changes everything. It's not just a Cyndi Lauper song. Some people will do anything for money. I know that's hard for you to understand because right now you have none. You've never been motivated by money and you never will be. But some people will change when they are around it and your kind heart might not see this until it's too late. So please remember that the people who love you, won't expect you to pay for your own birthday dinner. This will make sense in the 90's trust me.

Now I can give you a little glimpse of the future I'm writing to you from. Well this will trip you out but in the future you live in London. Yes I know this is insane. You're thinking 'But I'm obsessed with America!'. Don't worry this never changes and you will live there for 7 of the best years of your life. But like all the great journeys you will undertake, it is love that brings you here. And it's so worth it.

Today, in the future, you get a train to Paris to spend it with the love of your life who also happens to be the person you are married to. It is a hell of a journey (not the train, the road to finding your true love) but trust me when I say it will be worth it. You've got a keeper. More than a keeper. You end up with someone who makes you laugh every single day of your life. Someone who loves every part of you, even the bits you hate. Someone smart and funny and loving and your equal in more ways than you can possibly imagine. So don't worry about love. I took care of it!

Ok I've tried not to spoil too many secrets - but something pretty amazing is about to happen.  You're about to go to a Michael Jackson concert. November 25th 1987 am I right? Well just to prove to you I know what I'm talking about - the show is supposed to be in a football stadium but soon due to a ridiculous rumour about him performing behind a bubble, ticket sales are going to be so bad that several concerts in Australia will be cancelled and yours will be moved to two nights at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Through a twist of fate, your cheap field ticket will be randomly exchanged for a seat 4 rows from the stage and you'll witness a performance so spectacular it will inspire you to do what you do for a living in the future. Hint: it's not teaching. 

Anyhoo (this phrase will also make sense soon) - more than anything please just enjoy yourself.  It's a hell of a ride. You’re not always going to know what you want to be when you grow up. As I write this I've already achieved many of the dreams we set out to achieve and I still don't know if I'm where I wanted us to be. In Paris I'm going to sit back and have a really good think about what we might want to do for the next 25 years. And isn't that something to look forward to!

Finally - write me a letter sometime.

There are days when even your future self could do with some of that boundless optimism.  

Never give up!

I love you, Darren Stanley Hayes!

London May 7 2012. 

How divine is that?

I have been considering writing a letter to my younger self for eons. And seeing as I turned 40 this year, maybe it's time.

Would you? What would you say?

PS: you can 'like Darren's Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/DarrenHayesOfficial

And follow him on Twitter here: @darrenhayes

And here is his latest single, Talk, Talk, Talk:

This rendition of Delta Goodrem's 'Lost Without You' is still as beautiful to listen to today as when he performed it at the at ARIAs in 2003, as a tribute to the then-ill Delta, who openly wept at the end of his performance:

And while I have loved all of his Darren's songs, this may still be my fave:


  1. My God, I didn't know his middle name is Stanley!

    He's fairly right though, when most of us think back we realise we've gone through more hell than anyone else would know. It just happens to really suck when you're a kid.

  2. Really enjoyed that from Darren... what a guy. Love him, and his music x