I feel like we all wish we could go back to our younger selves to give them advise. To prepare us for the hardships we face but also to tell them to enjoy the positives and to embrace life, so today more for myself than anyone else I am going to write a letter to my past self!
Dear 10 year old Scarlett,
I don’t even know where to start with this, you’ve left secondary school, completed your diploma in childcare (a path you have always dreamed to go down). Unfortunately things will not be as smooth sailing as you thought!
Let’s face it you’ve never felt like a normal kid, you’ve been through a lot with being bullied, being the outsider and the “weirdo”. I wish I could tell you things get easier but they really don’t.
Just when things seem to be picking up and positive you get slammed with wall after wall to climb. You’ll pass your college diploma and your health will decline at 18 years old and suddenly that dream of being a teacher is so far out of reach you give up.
Straight out of college you get a job in a call center and I can tell you it is the most awful job in the world, but the lessons and experiences you will learn from being there you will take with you for life. You learn compassion, whilst you also learn that good friends are hard to come by. (Turns out a lot of people who are also 18 don’t really wanna be friends with the disabled chick just an fyi).
You know that pain in your knee that you have sometimes…well that gets a whole lot worse and you also get hip pain, back pain, shoulder pain, fatigue and you dislocate things on the daily (hey I didn’t ever say it would be smooth sailing with me)! At 19 years old your world gets kind of flipped upside down, on the 3rd August 2016 you get diagnosed with fibromyalgia, hypermobility Syndrome and Elhers Danlos Syndrom. To begin with those words mean nothing to you, you’re confused and the mixture of emotions is crazy, because on that same day you go on a first date with the guy who ends up being the love of your life!
4 months later when you think things can’t get worse, you have the love of your life, your family are amazing but yet there’s this grey cloud you can’t shift. When everything should be easy and exciting you get diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety you get put on another set of medication to achieve an emotion that should come naturally. The same month as this you get a job that actually turns out to be a dream situation!
In 2016 you land a new amazing job, you meet the nicest people you’ve ever come across. They embrace your bright hair (yes it’s pink, I know I wouldn’t have predicted it either) your quirky personality and disabilities are welcomed with open arms! 4 years down the line you’re still as happy as you were on your first day!
For months you will battle with accepting yet another new label but that rock by your side (he’s called ross by the way) he’s there for you through everything! Just when things feel right again you get rushed into hospital at 20 years having what started as a suspected heart attack, you scare the crap out of your boyfriend and your family (for that you will be entirely sorry for by the way feeling like a burden all the time is tough).
Yet another label at just 21 years old you now also have costochondritis and inappropriate sinus tachycardia (I told you those brick walls keep on coming).
2019 you get a bungalow with the love of your life and it changes everything! It gives you freedom with your illnesses making everything slightly easier (yes you also get a cat don’t worry you’re still obsessed even as an adult)
2020 is on a whole other level there’s a virus going around and it turns into a worldwide pandemic and I’m not gonna lie it’s fucking scary! The U.K. goes into full lockdown on March 23rd you can do one piece of outdoor exercise a day, and go to the supermarket when you need to and that is it! You sit in the house, reading, colouring, baking, watching tv you have to find new fun things to keep you busy to keep that grey cloud from getting any darker!
2020 you learn that online friends mean a hell of a lot especially when you can’t go out and meet your work/school friends! You learn that through your love of books there are some truly amazing, inspirational people waiting to become friends with you! You learn a lot in 2020, about the trans community, about the black lives matter movement and weirdly about all sorts of food that they do not have in Canada! You are united in your weirdness when the world seems so dark and you will forever be thankful for that!
Let me tell you 13 years have been an absolute whirlwind just as things seem to get to your version of normal something new happens to set your world spinning again! If you asked me if I would go back and change what happens over these 13 years I would honestly say no.
I don’t know what kind of person I would be now without all of these life experiences, it’s been scary as hell, hard as hell, and sometimes just even got to be too much! You’ve said to people that you don’t want to live any longer but here I am fighting day by day to live my best life.
If I could have warned you what would happen, I would have told you to enjoy things more, to not care about people’s opinions on your weight, your body, how weird they thought you were, how much they thought you fake your illnesses because none of it matters or will matter in the future! Being comfortable in your skin, in a body that is determined to rain on you when everything is shining that is the most important thing! I would also tell you, it’s ok to cry, to shout, to get mad to express your feelings.
Shine as bright as you can because some people will love you and never ask for anything more, will never ask you to be someone you’re not! Those are the people you surround yourself with! I think if I’d seen how my life would have panned out at 10 years old I’d be pretty damn proud of the woman I am now!
Signing off for now
Scarlett, 23 years old, living her best life (as best she can anyway) x