“The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.”
Dear young Emily,
Today I sat for a while. I thought about your childhood. I thought about your teenage years and what you were about to witness in the years after that. I thought about your happiness and your sorrows from all those years ago. You know what? You need to be told a few things, and you will listen.
You were so lucky to have the upbringing you did. You had everything; a roof over your head, a family who loved you very much, some beautiful memories with these people that, at the time, you just thought were another day in the life of you. My advice to you right now? Enjoy every minute. Because one day, you’re going to lose the people who you had those fond childhood memories with and it will pierce you right to the core. Right now, it terrifies me knowing that day will come. But we can’t dwell on that.
Yeah, you’re going to get bullied. Sorry to break that to you. You’ll get to know some arseholes who think they’re better than you and think they own you. Don’t forget though that they aren’t and they don’t. Just brush it off. It’ll be good experience for when you get older. You’ll realise who the nice people are and who you need to stay away from. Welcome the bullies. Allow them to help you get stronger each day. They’ll not even realise they’re doing it.
You’re going to waltz into higher education not knowing what the hell you want to do with your life. Trust me, that’s better than just jumping into any old career and hating it. You’ve got this. Just take your time but really think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy. (It’s staring you right in the face!) You’ll have a couple of career paths, one of which isn’t really for you. Don’t think you’ll be stuck there forever though, because you won’t. It’ll teach you a hell of a lot about life and when you’ve learnt all you can, your next opportunity will welcome you with open arms. Take it!
When travelling through the years, you’ll pick up some hobbies. Please don’t give up on these! These things will shape you and get you some great friends in the process. I think what I’m really trying to say is:
Please don’t stop writing or playing guitar!
Oh man, this is so important. As you get older, you’ll get busier and busier with education, relationships, jobs… the list is endless. But please, make some time for your own company.
Here comes even more bad news. Don’t worry, it’s only bad on the surface. You’re going to get involved with the male species and you know what? It’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows like it is in films. Don’t be too put off just yet, though. You’re going to spend a long time with the wrong people, but that’s okay. You’re going to be shouted at. You’re going to be insulted and taken advantage of, and you’re going to be called some of the most vile words under the sun. Hang on, keep listening, it’ll be worth it.
Your heart’s going to break. You’re going to break other people’s hearts. It’s all a part of the process. There will be one particular chapter where you lose all hope and feel like there is nothing left for you in this world. Don’t listen to those feelings either. It’s just the aftermath of the right decision you’ll need to make. When you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, that’s where you’ll know you’re on the up to being better and stronger than you’ve ever been.
Here comes the best part.
You’ll then meet an old acquaintance and instantly know what love is. It’ll be a feeling you’ve never had before. It’ll be weird. But take hold of it and know that the years to come will be the best years of your life. Just be patient. You’ll get to that point and I can assure you right now it’s even better than what you dreamt of. When you reach this point, you’ll feel free. You’ll think of the past and smile. Why, you ask? Why, after all the pain, embarrassment and self loathing will you smile? You’ll know that every positive memory, every bully who laughed in your face, every relationship that brought you pain allowed you to reach this very point in your life. Thank everyone you meet for helping you grow into the strong person you will be soon enough. Don’t regret anything, no matter how awful it might seem at the time.
I’m sat here, partly worrying about how you’re feeling right now but also extremely excited about what’s to come for you. Actually, I know exactly how you’ll be feeling in any situation you might throw at me. I know exactly when you’ll feel scared, anxious or terrified and exactly when you’ll feel complete happiness surging all the way through your body.
The key to happiness is surrounding yourself with the right people. It’s doing all the things that make you smile, no matter what they are. It’s working hard so you can go to all the places you want to go and see all the things you want to see in your lifetime. It’s sitting down after a long day at work and having some well deserved you time. It’s loving the right person with all of your being. When you can do all that, you’ll see all the beauty in the world.
You’re way stronger than you realise and you’re only going to get stronger. Life will eventually become an incredible adventure. Remember that. The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.
Hang in there,
Present day Emily.
(If anyone needs someone to lend an ear about any of these issues, I have two 🙂 )