Sunday, 6 January 2008

A letter to my 13 year old self.



Gosh what seems like an age ago I was tagged to write a letter to my 13 year old self. So here goes.

Hi Gillian . . .I wish more than anything that I could stop you worrying so much. You are good enough you know. Yes you are quiet and others may even think you a bit odd, but that will become a plus later on . . .people will like you because you are different.

Don't worry about homework and school so much – you are bright, but events in your life will happen and you will fail at school . . but not at life.

Don't worry about the fact that you were called a Granny at your first school dance, because of the way you dressed – you will develop your own style of clothes and you will be comfortable with what you wear.

Um – this obsession with body image is going to get a great deal worse before it gets better. You will become very ill with anorexia . . .you will refuse hospitalisation and you will find a way through. It will always be there to haunt you, but you will find a way of living with it and mostly keeping it under control, rather than letting it control you.

You will one-day become more comfortable with and even grow to like you – but it will take many years of self development. You will learn that being brutally honest with yourself will teach you a great deal about who you are and what makes other people tick and will help you to survive. Most importantly you will learn that for other people to like you, you must first learn to love your self first . . .internal locus of evaluation. To live for external praise is to live on a shore washed by ever-shifting tides and offers no security.

You love of reading and writing will always be with you and you will succeed as a writer in some small measure . . .and then you will try again . . .at this point I don't know what happens. You will also find a creative outlet on photography. You will later in life indulge again in your passion for the stage – this will have mixed blessings.

You will find love and you will be hurt and you will hurt. You will conquer your fear of living alone and become much stronger because if it. You will also gain independence and understanding.

You will always love Xmas and you will never grow out of your love of snow.

But life for you is about to get a great deal worse . . .you Mother will go into hospital when you are 14 – it will be discovered she has cancer. She will die on January 20th 1970 when you are 15. You will cope - that is the only comfort I can offer. Sadly you won't be able to grieve until many years later and then it is very painful – I wish I could tell you to let go and grieve at the time of your Mother's death – but I can't and you do get through and learn an important lesson. You will also lose your maternal Gran and Grandad in 1970 and an Aunt and Uncle.

Your Father won't be able to cope with your Mum dying and six months later he will re-marry. You and your step mother will not get on – she will drive you out and you will leave home at 16. You will feel totally abandoned by all your relatives and that is the way it will be . . . it will take quite a lot of therapy to learn to cope with that abandonment . . .but you do get there. You will go from a child wrapped in cotton wool to a child thrown out . . .to an adult with understanding, but there will be bitterness along the way.

You will have a roller coaster of a life for many many years. . .but you will learn a great deal . . .I think in many ways you will benefit from all that happens to you – particularly because you do learn.

You will find your soul mate and you will have children and you will love them all deeply . . . but the roller coaster will still roll on for many more years.

You will have ups and downs with your health – the migraines will be with you until you are 50. You will have autoimmune diseases – there will be times when you despair . . .but you will get throughand you will learn the joy of pain free days.

There is happiness and contentment and amazing opportunities to learn amongst the ups and downs of the years to come – treasure each and every moment – they are ALL extraordinarily valuable . . . they will make you what I am.

I am proud of you and I will never abandon you and . . . you know what . . . I am proud of me too . . . big hug . . .

21 comments:

Pondside said...

If these letters to our thirteen year old selves were written on paper, I'm sure they'd all be tear stained. This must have been a difficult exercise WW. It's clear where your strength developed - you should be proud of that little girl!

ChrisH said...

Oh gosh, you should give your thirteen year old self a big hug. Poor little sausage! But's she's got courage by the bucketload that little girl so she's going to be all right.

lampworkbeader said...

I am deeeply moved WW, deeply moved indeed.
love LWB

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Thank you all - I don't know what else to say . . . still makes me cry just to read it and think what my 13 year old self still has to go through at that point . . but the outcome at this point in my life is good.

Faith said...

Tears pricked my eyes - you poor young girl. I almost feel guilty about my cosseted childhood and young adulthood. There's a lot more story behind these few lines.

Big hugs from me, Gill.

Faith x

Frances said...

My eyes aren't exactly dry right now either.

Somewhere in that thirteen year old that has become the ww that we are so fortunate to know, had to be something very, very strong. Something could bend, be tested over and over, and still remain positive and true.

Here's another hug flying across the Atlantic to you!

xo

bodran... said...

No wonder your completely MAD !!

Not really that was very touching you poor little girl, NELL was 13 yesterday it really made me think xxx

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

LOL Bodran you are spot on . . . .giggles and runs off . . happy

Wooly Works said...

Is it any wonder that we're all so odd? I think that it's God's mercy that we don't know our own futures. I think we'd all have ended it early if we had.

Thank you for sharing such a revealing and private part of yourself with us. My admiration and love for you has grown in the reading. You're an amazing woman and I'm thankful for the chance to know you, however great the distance.

Ivy said...

Deeply moved by your letter I think it is very kind of nature that we do not know what lies before us not when we are 13 and not when we are adults.

Casdok said...

Am very glad to hear the outcome is good at this point.
I had a tear in my eye by the end, very touching.

Preseli Mags said...

The comment about being 'quiet and odd' really struck a chord. I found the letter deeply moving, as the others have said above. No wonder we're all bonkers. Life is such an extraordinary thing. xxPM

CAMILLA said...

I could feel the tears trickle down, that 13 year old certainly has been on a rollacoaster, but Gill has come out of it stronger and wiser, and become the most wonderful caring creative woman she is today, and we are fortunate to have you as a friend.

Thank you for sharing with us an insight into your life.

Love and Hugs,
Camilla.xxx

Exmoorjane said...

Ah, I'm late as always and so much that has been said I find myself nodding to and agreeing with. Poor poor little girl to have all that to deal with.....I really can empathise as I lost my father and grandfather just slightly earlier....but lucked out so much more in that my stepfather was wonderful.. leaving home at such an early age must have been very tough - not having support behind you even tougher.
I read a book recently called Garden Magic and in it was a tree that, if you ate its apples, would show you the most important event of your life - the people who owned the tree would bury all the apples as they said it would drive you mad.....
A very brave and honest blog, dear WW... I still havent' done mine - not sure I have the courage! jxxxx

Anonymous said...

Absolutely lovely. Know how you feel loosing a parent my Dad died on 21/03/70 the day after my 16 the day before. Mum never remarried and now, 80 next Friday has been 38 years almost without the love of her life. I still miss him to this day, always will, and although when lately she says she looks forward to meeting up with him again more frequently my heart pounds at the thought of loosing her, I can not, at this stage, begrudge her regaining his company, still, I hope that won't be for years to come.

Himalayan Blue said...

Am very late with reading this, but wow. I too was tearful as I read it. You are obviously an amazing woman. Your 13 year old self would be very proud of you.

elizabethm said...

I too have come late to this. What an extraordinary load this young girl had to carry. I am so glad that you are where you are now in your life, what a journey.

Cait O'Connor said...

I am late here too.
I can identify with a lot in your life WW, I'm sure we are the stronger for it.

DJ Kirkby said...

I've given you and HS an award. Fancy dress required to attend the award ceremony, please describe your costume in my comment box.

LittleBrownDog said...

So late reading this, but wanted to say how moving I found it. Can't imagine losing a mother at such a tender age - it must have been devastating. You've had such a lot to deal with, but you're obviously a very strong and resilient person - not to mention a lovely one (and an excellent headmistress!)

LBD xx

Milla said...

And I'm even later. What a great letter. Goodness, 1970 was an annus horribilis for you, non? YOu poor poor thing. Bit shocked really - and Bodran is right, we now know the reasons for the lunacy!