Dear 25-year-old me,
I’m so, so sorry. I know what you’re going through, I know how you feel, and I’m sorry.
I wish I could hug you, because I know how desperately you need it. But at least you have your new friend. Didn’t see him coming, did you! I know he will hug you so tightly that all your broken pieces will start to fit back together again.
You don’t have to be wary; he’s not trying to fix you. He’s just showing you that you’ve always been strong enough to fix yourself.
And you will.
You’re relieved to be free of that boyfriend, I know, and I’m proud of you for letting go of that toxic waste so quickly. But you don’t understand yet just how lucky you are. I wish you would be kinder to the new girlfriend. You know it’s not her fault, and it turns out you need each other.
Right now it feels like your world is ending, and that there’s no point trying with anything or anyone because you’ll just lose that as well. But it’s not true. I promise you it’s not true, and you know I don’t make promises lightly.
With all my heart I wish I could tell you the hole in your chest will go away. But I can’t tell you that. So far it’s proving to be just as stubborn as we are.
But I can tell you that that’s okay. You’ll discover that you can build something strong around weakness. That it’s entirely possible to feel like you’re not whole and still achieve incredible things.
And you will.
You are going to do things you believed you never could. You’re going to do things that frighten you, things you think you shouldn’t, things other people tell you you shouldn’t. And you’re going to love it.
But even better than that, you will inspire other people to try things they never thought they could. You will make people think about issues in ways that have never occurred to them before. You will teach them to have more confidence than they ever believed possible.
That woman you have idolised since your very first salsa class is going to sit down next to you in a club and tell you that she loves your blog. And you won’t even run off in a squee-ing fangirl mess; you’ll talk to her about it, about feminism, and books, and how much you’ve changed.
You will love yourself and your body so much you won’t be able to stop trying to spread that love to other people. Instead of grasping at compliments, you will pay them out freely. It will become your new life goal to help every person you interact with to see just how wonderful they are.
Sounds ridiculous, right? It’s hard to believe things can change so much in just 2 years, especially starting from where you are. Sometimes I still can’t believe it. But the fact is it will change. Things will get better. You will be okay again.
So here’s my advice, dear 25-year-old me: have patience and don’t wait.
Have patience with yourself. You’ve lost something in pretty much every area of your life; of course it hurts and of course that’s going to change you. You’ve been through hell (just wait til you see the look on therapists faces when you tell them what’s happened) and that takes time to get over. You don’t have to be better right now. You don’t have to force yourself better at all.
But don’t wait. Don’t wait until you feel ‘good enough’ to audition for Madrigirls. Don’t wait until you’re thinner to wear whatever you want. Don’t wait for that guy to ask you out. Don’t wait for confidence to come to you.
Just go for it, wear it, ask him first, do everything you have ever wanted to, act bravely and the confidence will come flooding in. Live. You can do it, you can do anything, and you will be okay.
All my love,