As I write to you, your difficult journey is only just beginning. The feelings you have and dismiss are bubbling under the surface; growing stronger and darker, but you push them away and ignore them, because that’s what we do. Not everything is terrible – don’t get me wrong – but what you’ve been told is ‘attention seeking’ isn’t. It really isn’t. Trust me on that.
But it gets better.
I wish I could tell you that it is perfectly valid for you to feel this way, because it is, and it’d probably help you a lot. Looking back there are a few things I wish I’d known – hindsight is a beautiful but annoying thing – but then again you wouldn’t go through it all.
Here’s what I wish you could know.
When it comes to love, don’t give up. Right now it feels like the be all and end all of your life and in a way it is, but you’ll discover that it doesn’t have to be. You’ll battle through seriously tough times, make incredibly difficult decisions and sometimes not do the right thing, but that doesn’t make you bad. What did Sirius Black say? “The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters.” We make certain decisions at certain times in our lives, and that doesn’t mean we’re bad people.
You will heal and learn to keep going. And that’s what matters most.
Your confidence will grow. Right now you feel like hiding – behind darker clothes, your hair and not drawing attention to yourself – but that fades as you learn to find your feet in the world. You’ll start to choose the clothes you want, whether it’s the crazy shoes that look like slippers or the jeans that “people of your height” don’t normally wear. You’ll learn that confidence comes from within.
You skin, oh honey your skin. It’s a long battle, but you’re winning. It gets better. It’ll calm down, it’ll fade and eventually you’ll trot off to work every single day without a stitch of foundation or concealer on. You’ll stop hiding behind your hair (which doesn’t help with the spots!) and you’ll learn that it doesn’t matter. All those little imperfections you pick out; your big eyes that earned you all sorts of horrible nicknames; the permanent shadows under your eyes and paleness that made everyone call you a vampire. You’ll learn to embrace them.
At the moment your body is a strange and almost foreign thing to you, as poetic as that may seem. But trust me; you’ll get to know your body. You’ll learn what it likes and what it doesn’t like. And you’ll learn to love it as much as it loves you. You’ll stop damaging it – both internally and externally – and you’ll learn to nourish it, push it to its limits through exercise, and then pull back and let it rest.
You will start to take care of yourself. Scars will fade and maybe you’ll lose some tone, but you will nourish your heart and soul.
Most importantly, you’ll learn to love the most intimate parts of you, and how to take care of them, and learn not to be ashamed of them. In fact, you’ll become so familiar with yourself that you’ll track your menstrual cycle on a phone app and take care of your vagina on a daily basis. In case you need a head’s up, Clue is the app you use (and it’ll save your life and stop you going insane) and invest in Vagisil ProHydrate Intimate Wash (£5). I’m sorry to say that your sensitive skin won’t go away, but Vagisil is fine for that as it’s been developed after years of research and is perfect for everyday use. You may be a single pringle right now, but nothing beats feeling fresh and clean.
Things will go wrong – you know, down there – you’ll be scared out of your wits at one point and I’m sorry you have to go through that. But by knowing about yourself you can easily spot if something isn’t quite right. And even though, I promise, everything turns out ok in the end, it saves you in the long run.
I wish I could tell you now which people to avoid and cut out of your life, but without going through that you wouldn’t become the person that you do. As hard as it is, you need to go through all that. You need to learn who real friends are, in order to appreciate the ones that have stuck there through anything and offered unwavering and unconditional love and support. You will meet two wonderful people in particular, who will fly with you when you’re high on happiness and stand by your side when you hit rock bottom. That’s real friendship. That’s real love.
Don’t underestimate the power of mum. I know you clash with her right now – it’s what happens with every teenage girl – but if you could see what I did then you’d look at her in a whole different light. She’s incredible. And she believes in you more than anything. One day you’ll pick up the phone in floods of tears, not knowing whether you can go on or not, and she will speak to you calmly and lovingly and talk you back from the edge. The edge of what, you don’t know exactly, but she helps you see into the next 10 seconds, because that’s all you needed to see at that moment. And your sister – she may be younger than you but she’s wise beyond her years. And sometimes you need dry and sarcastic humour and her no-nonsense sense of self to get you back on track.
It’s a cliche but it’s true – life is a rollercoaster. It goes up sharply and before you know it you’re plummeting back towards the earth not knowing whether you’re going to swoop upwards or hit the ground at full force. And I’d be lying if I said that it was all up from the age of 18.
But it gets better.
Truth be told, there will be times when you think you can’t carry on. You will go to the doctors who will diagnose you with anxiety and depression. You will take tablets that will make you lose sleep, need to pee like your pregnant co-worker, gain weight and be hungry constantly. You will swap tablets several times, you will talk to someone, you will cry and you will think you can’t go on. But in among all that darkness, and on days when it threatens to swallow you whole, you need to teach yourself to look for the light and hold onto it as tight as possible. Let me tell you some flashes of light…
The rabbits – those fluffy ratbags – your two companions through thick and thin. They will follow you to a new home and will jump onto the couch with you and you will be delighted. You will finally stop biting your nails (Yes! I’m serious!). Your job – you will love it and you’ll turn into the career girl you never thought you would. Yoga. Lush bath bombs. Being outside with no shoes on (something you never grow out of). You will get to work on one of your favourite companies on a daily basis. Music. Your grandparents who are hilarious. Green tea. You will develop a love of dainty and delicate tattoos.
I know it’s hard, sweetheart. It is for me now nearly 10 years later. But everything you go through and experience will mold and shape you into the woman that I am now. I’m far from perfect but that doesn’t matter. You’re on your way to the life you always wanted and as the person you wanted to be. It’s coming. Just hold on. It gets better.
A post shared by Megan Crehan (@megan_crehan) on
*This post was sponsored by Vagisil, but I have used their products for years and delighted to be part of their campaign.
Did you know that an incredibly high amount of women don’t get familiar with their vagina? You’d be surprised how many…