“Remain brave, remain courageous, remain honest.”

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Dear 18 year old me,

I’ve tried to write this letter to you endless of times and i stumble on what to say. Part of that could be because I am still you, I’m still as scared of life as you are. I still feel the same guilt as you feel. I still don’t understand what is wrong with my body, or why my mind won’t let me be happy.

I want you to know, and i need you to believe, that you didn’t ask to be as sad as you sometimes get. Please stop hurting yourself. The scars will remain and the pain won’t go away. I know you are struggling and i know you don’t know what to do but addiction isn’t the way forward. The doctors will help you, you will get medication that will help, you will go to that counselling that i know you’re thinking of, and you will start to see some form of hope again. People will leave you, but you can and you do get through this. Find comfort and love in the most unexpected of corners. The days will seem endless, but you wake up every morning. I know you don’t know how to get out of bed in the mornings, i know you don’t understand a reason why. I wish I knew now.

I want you to know that you are going to fall completely madly in love. I want you to know he will do everything for you, and he will be yours. He will stand by you through everything you are scared of coming, he’ll protect you and he will be everything you dreamed of. I need you to know that it wasn’t your fault he left. It’s not your fault you weren’t in a good place. Please stop screaming, please stop blaming yourself. I need you to know that soon you will be able to get out of bed again. I need you to believe in your strength, nothing you could have done would have saved this, save yourself. I need you to forgive your body for what it’s gone through in the past. One day everyone that has touched you so far will be gone. Your body is your own. You will never, ever, be as worthless and you feel. You are not as disgusting as you think you are. One day you will want to look in the mirror again. I hope you will eventually like what you see in return.

Please my girl, do not listen to jealous girls. Don’t let them get inside your head. One day you’ll be so much bolder than they are. I know they remind you of the girls that called you ugly at school. I know they remind you of the time you ate lunch in the bathroom because you were scared. Soon you will be flying higher than them all.

That surgery you are avoiding, you survive. Infact, you absolutely BOSS it. Don’t be scared anymore, you are becoming seriously unwell, you need to live. You will learn so much about your body, your strength, courage, and honesty. Don’t be afraid of your body anymore, it’s killing you. Don’t be embarrassed because you’re young, you never asked to be this unwell. I know you want to be the same as your friends. Having an ileostomy is the best and worst thing that will happen to you in the next coming years. It will make you free. I’m so proud you have never forgotten who you are. Take the messages of hope and encouragement that you received from everyone on Instagram, build your kingdom again. You’re going to help the world shine brighter. You will make something of yourself I promise.

You will graduate, you will do your masters, you will keep trying for a job.
Remain brave, remain courageous, remain honest.
Brighter days will eventually come.
Take care of Mum, she needs you too.
You never do grow out of those emotional sing alongs.
Your car will always be your safe place, cry as loud as you need to.
Never be ashamed of yourself.
Never be disgusted at yourself.

Your 24 year old self,
Sarah x

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