As Christmas draws near and some of us let our inner child out to play I thought it would be a perfect time to write a letter to myself as a young adult. I have mentioned in a recent conversation on one of the websites I visit that I think because I have not had children and I am the youngest person in the house (except for Gemma the dog) there is a sense of looking to me to keep the magic alive. I have always done my best to rise to this I won’t even tell you how old I was before I was able to sleep on Christmas Eve…
First of all before I write this letter, I have to say that I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason so although there may be things I would like to change about myself through this letter I would ultimately not have changed a thing if these changes would have meant that I never met Michael, so in a fantasy world if I could change just one thing but that change would have altered my whole course of life I would not change a thing.
Dear Susan, Congratulations you survived school and your teenage years! There have been some ups and downs along the way and you have made some great friends. Some of the fun times you experienced will still amuse you over twenty years later. With the exception of the odd major lapse in judgement (you know what I am talking about!), you have pretty much turned out quite well. There have been bumps along the way I know, you and some of your friends have been the victims of bullying on and off through high school from fellow pupils. I want you to listen really carefully because this is important. The people who were doing this did not hate you and it was never that you were not good enough, not tall enough, not pretty enough as you read it to be but simply because you were different to them. Maybe you were interested in different things and didn’t always have the same teenage outlook. People attack what they don’t understand and it keeps happening still, is it, maybe, a first world problem? That is a problem for more people than just you to work out. Believe it or not, in later life you got Facebook friend requests from some of these people. If only we had the confidence to ask them why they treat us like that and why they didn’t like us At times we saw things from different perspectives. I willingly spent one break time a week in the Headmaster’s Office, I counted the money from the vending machines and actually had interesting conversations and sometimes talked about mutual friends. Yes, I had friends who were adults. I have no idea but maybe things like this did not go down well with my peers or maybe they associated that office with bad experiences and were jealous? But all these years later I really value the fact that from a fairly early age I was comfortable socialising with people from a broad age range. I wonder if the people who made me feel bad realised that twenty years later I would still be telling myself how unattractive I was and making me feel that people who care about their appearance can’t be very nice or intelligent really. It took a beautiful woman who was a colleague of mine for a short period of time to fully put me straight without her even having the knowledge of what she had done. She was (and still is) glamorous and loved everything girly especially the colour pink, whilst at the same time being an intelligent, educated woman with a big heart. As for the feeling attractive let me tell you that later on, not until you reach your forties you will meet and marry someone who loves you just the way you look and does anyone else’s opinion really matter? The other important thing I really need to tell you is to look after your health. Somewhere along the line, and maybe even already you are going to fixate in your mind that life will be better and you will be taken more seriously if you put on some padding. The version of you who is writing this is telling you very firmly to let that idea go, talk to some of the strong women you like and admire and I’m sure they will put you right. Life is going to get physically difficult in the future and although the padding doesn’t cause that it won’t help. Make the most of the healthy years. Find a form of exercise you enjoy, dancing or swimming and be loyal to it. Food isn’t the only option to reward or console yourself with. I still haven’t broken that tradition you carried on from early childhood it is probably one of my biggest battles to come. The final message I want to tell you is that you are capable of anything you want to do. You did go to University and Graduated at the age of twenty-eight. It was the right time for you because you grew into education and you valued it all the more because you had spent time in an assortment of unskilled occupations and you really understood what a gift education is. You coined a phrase at that time “The more you learn the less you realise you know” never ignore any opportunity that comes your way to learn, even the most obscure and unrelated areas of study eventually help to build a bigger picture. If you are still wondering what to do for a career give up the notion of acting, it is your way of hiding and wanting to be someone else. Find out about computers and learn all you can about them, they will not only become a major passion of yours but they will change life as we know it. With love from your future self (and yes I am finally beginning to learn that you need to value and love yourself a little)
Well, that genuinely was a very cathartic experience. I’m not exaggerating when I say that was more beneficial than any counselling session I have attended. I’m sure there may be people out there who disapprove of being so open and putting yourself out there for the world to see but I defend this. I thoroughly admire the Head’s Together Campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and if just one young person stumbled across this letter and it gives them a different perspective and encourages them to get support then it was truly worth it. Also if I hadn’t decided to write this letter to myself as a blog post I wouldn’t no doubt have never done it. Therapy in the form of a publishing schedule… Whether you are a young person or someone a bit older and you are going through a bad time don’t be alone for Christmas. If you have a family you are not with at the moment but would like to change that but you don’t know how you can get help from Shelter find out more here or why not consider dropping into a Church? I can’t speak for all Churches but I can tell you at a good one you will be made welcome. You don’t have to be a practising Christian to go, you don’t even need to “join in” you can just sit there. I am not writing this to try and convert you to any sort of faith but simply to let you know that the other thing good churches do well is fellowship. Due to my health problems, I have not been to my church for a year but I know if and when I am able to get back there I will be just as welcome as if I had never been away. Simply because it is what I know I am giving you the link to find the nearest Anglican Church but try what feels right to you, or don’t I’m certainly not here to preach to you. If like me you struggle with going out whether it is from Fibromyalgia or a number of other health conditions you may want to read my post about avoiding social isolation. Surviving Christmas with Fibromyalgia may be useful too.
Wishing everyone all the best in the final whole week before Christmas.