I’ve tried to write this post so many times and have stopped because it was getting too real.
Some people have written this sort of post and not delved into the problems they’ve faced, but I’m going to get hella real. So before I start, I’d like to issue a trigger warning for death, mental health and eating disorders.
To My 13 Year Old Self
Firstly, I want to tell you something that might shock you.
You’re 29. You actually made it to 29. I know you might not understand why this is important now, but in a year or so, you’ll think that you’ll never make it past 15 because you’re feeling too strongly.
You feel everything strongly; your happiness, falling in love, your depression, but that’s not always a bad thing. I’m saying that because I don’t want you to worry or be scared. I’m actually going to let you know what’s going to happen so it doesn’t hit you so hard. It’ll still hit you, but I’m hoping that knowledge is power and you won’t drown.
Don’t Talk To Strangers
I know that right now, you’re probably talking to E. Stop.
I mean it. Stop talking to him. He’s taking advantage of you and he’s going to ask you to do things that he’ll make you believe are ok and normal.
He’s going to send you gifts and make you think that you’re going to be together, but you won’t. He’s dangerous, please stop talking to him. Better yet, tell Mum about it. She probably won’t understand, but she can help.
Hold on to Josie. Go and see her as often as you can because she won’t always be there.
You’ll wake up one morning, ready for netball and find out that she passed away. It’s going to hurt for a really long time. In fact, it still hurts sometimes but it’s ok. People will have more memories of her than you because they spent more time with her, but that’s ok too. It’s not your fault, life gets busy, but try and see her more often because you’re going to really miss her.
To help heal, you’ll get a memorial tattoo. Don’t settle for that apprentice woman. Wait and go somewhere else because you’ll really bloody hate it in a few years, and you’ll feel like you let Josie down.
You haven’t. Just find someone who can help fix and adapt it for you.
Josie passing is going to kick up a lot of problems for your mental health. You’ll withdraw into yourself, you’ll hate being alive, you’ll even hurt yourself.
I’m going to say that it’s ok because it helps you cope with how many emotions are swirling inside your body, but try and talk to Mum about it. Tell her how important it is for you to talk about it, and how important it is that she’s the one you talk to. Yes, you’ll find an awesome counsellor but it won’t be the same.
You’ll start hanging out with some girls at school who understand how you’re feeling. They’re all in a tough place too. Lean on them if you need to, because they’re going to lean on you.
Unfortunately, your mental health issues aren’t going to go away, but you’re going to find ways to cope. Not all of those are going to be good for you.
You’ll never really be happy with how you look, but it’ll hit a point where it’ll become an obsession. You’ll choose to skip breakfast, then lunch and you’ll convince yourself that losing weight will make everything easier.
The doctors won’t help you, but you’re going to get through it. Kick and scream and tell them you need help because your strange relationship with food is going to haunt you. You’ll be fine for a while, then suddenly feel like you don’t deserve to eat. You need to get help before it becomes a lifelong problem. It’s going to cause a lot of weird issues with your body that you don’t understand and are going to be painful, so please get help before it turns into a huge deal.
Yeah, I’m sorry but you’re going to have a few health issues too. You’ll have 4 operations. You’ll miss a lot of school because of these, and it’s going to really knock your confidence. You’ll feel like your body is giving up on you, or getting you back for all the horrible things you did to it growing up, but make the right decisions.
Don’t start smoking, make sure you keep going to netball (but don’t stay at South B because you really don’t get on with Joan. She’s mean and it’s not just you). Make sure you let your body heal, don’t rush to get the plaster casts off when you break your wrist because it’ll just make them weak and stop you doing what you want to.
Instead of this all being a warning letter, I want to let you know of some of the amazing achievements you’ve had.
You get a degree, a 2:1 in fact and you’ll love every second of it. Even Heart of Darkness; it’s a really tough book to get through, but you will and you’ll high-five yourself when you do. You deserve that high-five.
You’ll also pass your Graduate Diploma in Law. It’s going to be the hardest year of your life, both at home and at university, but you’ll meet a pretty awesome guy who you’re still friends with 7 years later. He’s a dope, but you can talk to him about anything.
You’ll pack up and move to Australia! Yep, you read that correctly. After a really horrible job, you’ll find a really nice one and pluck up the courage to pack your bags and go on an adventure. You’ll meet Lucy and she will reignite your love for reading and writing. Finish the book she gave you, it’s meant to be amazing, even if it is hard to get into.
You’ll start to accept your curly hair and people will start to tell you how beautiful it is. Forget about the Curly Girl Method, do what makes your hair happy. Try and get cruelty free though and try and find make up that doesn’t test on animals. It’s a tiny thing in the grand scheme of things, but one drop of water can make a boat sink (or some other random analogy about a tiny thing making a difference).
Promise me one thing though; do what makes your wild heart happy. Forget about what everyone says you should do. If you think it’ll make you happy, then do it. If it doesn’t work out, then you know what not to do next time. Go and travel, get a tattoo (or 5…), make sure you have a bit of savings because life is easier when you have money, but don’t save every penny. Money is there to be enjoyed, you can just enjoy bigger things if you save a bit every month.