Tuesday 16 April 2019. Day 95: As my 50th birthday is only weeks away, I cannot avoid looking back at my life so far. Family and friends know that I have spoken and written a lot about my life as a young single mum. Experiencing motherhood for the first time, aged 19, having been abandoned when pregnant by my boyfriend, only reinforced my low self esteem and poor body image. Now that I have reached the glorious age of I-don’t-give-a-damn, I would love to tell that 19 year old a thing or two!:
First things first; you are beautiful.
I know you won’t hear that, but believe me, you are. You are also amazingly strong and resilient.
So, I know the things you don’t like about yourself and the things you find difficult, so let’s talk about them:
Your big nose: Sorry to break it to you (no pun intended), but you will not get that nose job you dream of. It’s hard to imagine it, but you will eventually (maybe around 40) grow into it and actually quite like the fact that it’s not a cute little button nose. You will realise that it’s not as massive as you think it is and the only person that sees it as an issue is you. It is never mentioned by future boyfriends, because that’s probably the least interesting thing about you. Get over it.
Compliments: For god’s sake girl, when someone pays you one, TAKE IT! Your responses of ‘don’t be silly’ or ‘no I’m not’ should be replaced with a simple ‘thank you’ and do not feel beholden. End of.
Step-dad: All the tough stuff that happened whilst you were growing up was not your fault. He transferred his shit onto you and you did not deserve it. You fought back hard and I’m proud of you for doing so, but do me a favour; talk to someone independent about it soon, so you can come to terms with it, because hopefully it will change your relationship with men (for the good).
Being grateful: When a guy asks you out on a date, take your time to decide if you actually want to accept. You don’t have to say yes, just because someone asked you. You are amazing and have a huge amount to offer someone and they will be extremely lucky to be allowed to spend time with you. Please try to stop being grateful that someone noticed you. You are enough.
Now onto the changes that will happen, both to you personally and to the world around you:
You will as mum has always said, be a late developer. You will realise that you are clever. School never tapped into your awesomeness and you are more clever than you believe. Use that brain of yours and always keep looking for stuff that excites you makes you question everything.
You have the capacity for great passion and you will find things and people that spark that fire. Do not settle for ordinary. If you don’t feel it in your gut, walk away.
Your friends will be few, but they will be loyal. They will keep you grounded and they will always have your back. However, beware Greeks bearing gifts as your vulnerability is attractive and someone will take advantage of that.
Social media will be part of everyday life (basically you photograph everything you eat and you upload it to a website for the world to see). This is a world that is not real. People lie. Do not believe everything you see and read. Be really careful what you post because it will be there forever. On the plus side, take as many photos of your beautiful body now (including a side profile picture of that strong nose!) and you can eventually upload them into a digital format (sorry for all the weirdo tech speak!) and show your kids (and the world if you so wish) just how slim your arms actually were and how firm your bum was once.
This letter is not meant to tell you any big secrets about your future because where’s the fun in knowing what’s to come? You will love hard but you will also be hurt deeply, and no one can stop that, because that’s life I’m afraid. There will be dark days but equally, there will be days when you could burst with joy.
In short my darling self, never apologise for being you. Stand up for yourself and never settle for second best. You are and always will be, enough. You’re going to be just fine.
Until next time, much love,