Dear Little Lou,
I know that you’re struggling right now and you feel like it won’t get any better. I pinky promise, it will.
I know you’ve just started high school and you hate it. We don’t like change; it makes us uneasy. But guess what? You’re going to be a prefect in Year 12, and you’ll make some of the best memories with your best friends. You’ll enjoy some of your classes, others not so much. (Don’t worry about mathematics, you’ve learnt all the good stuff already. Metric measurements and how to tell time are basically the only things you’ll need to be a great home cook anyway!)
Your anxiety will get better, and then it will get worse. That’s just how it goes. You’ll have a few good days or months, and then you’ll feel like everything is scary and your life is doomed. The bad news? You won’t ever be rid of it. The good? It gets easier to handle. And it will make you incredibly brave and strong.
Right now, you’ve been crying so hard every morning with worry that you’re making yourself sick. You’ll lose a lot of weight and people will comment on it. (It’s none of their business, but that never stops them.) Mum is super duper worried about you; that will never change. She loves you more than life itself and everything she does is for you. Give her a huge cuddle every day and never let her forget how appreciated she is.
Your weight will be a big concern for you for a while. Boys will tell you they would never like you because of your size, others will like you because of your curves. Everything around you will tell you that you should constantly be worrying about losing weight. It will make you feel inferior sometimes. When you feel like that, try to remember how happy you were when you were little and superficial things like that didn’t matter. And never forget that who you are is so much more important than any number on a scale.
You’ll catch on to the fact that you have a five-head, as opposed to a forehead, in Year 8. You’ll get a side fringe to end all other side fringes that you’ll keep for the better part of 10 years. You’ll discover make-up, fake tan and hair dye. You’ll think you need to hide behind them forever, but I promise one day, you’ll learn that your beauty comes from within.
I know that right now, you feel like you don’t have a “thing”. Your friends play sports, are great at acting or excel academically, and you feel like you haven’t found your niche. But boy, you will. You’ll suffer an incredible loss that will lead you to one of your first great loves; music. Your Uncle Willie’s guitar will guide you to being able to express yourself through music and singing. Your love of music will get you through the death of someone incredibly special, even though the pain will never leave you.
Your anxiety will lead you to your second great love; cooking. It will make you so happy. You’ll very seldom feel as calm and contented as you are in the kitchen. Don’t be put off by the time you cracked a rotten egg into cake batter; even the greatest chefs have moments like that sometimes! It’s a little like life; it can’t all be sunshine and daisies.
You’ll meet a boy who you’ll realise was not for you. He’ll break your heart, but that heartbreak will instantly be forgotten as soon as you meet your soulmate. He’s a tall, dark, handsome man who will love you more than life itself. And golly, will you love him. I’d tell you to keep an eye out for him, but he looks like Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid… So I know you won’t miss him.
You’ll fail at some things, which I know terrifies you. It still scares me now. But your failures are what will make you succeed; they will help you learn and grow. Try not to be scared of them.
As for the rest? I don’t want to give anything else away. I know you’re not a fan of the unknown, but that will change. You’ll realise that surprises are one of the most thrilling parts of living, and, what’s even more shocking, one day, you’ll actually like Brussels sprouts.
In primary school you learnt how to treat others as you would like to be treated. Keep doing that, but remember to treat yourself how youdeserve to be treated.
Above all, always remember that everything will be alright. Even when you feel like it won’t be. Especially then.
Lots of love,