It’s the night before my birthday and time to think about how I have grown and changed over the years. It would be nice if a couple of 21 year olds could be reading this blog and stumble upon this letter. It would be nice if that’s you, that you read this letter and realise that you are not alone. Being 21 is such a funny age. You’re no longer a child but you know that you’re not a proper grown up yet. You’re winging it and you hope that you won’t fuck it all up and that nobody will notice that you don’t have a scooby what you’re doing. Well, we all feel the same at your age and this is a letter to me when I was feeling all of those things. I had a bit of a bumpy ride but this is what I would say if I could write to her now that I am through it all.
Happy birthday, enjoy the cake and a couple of glasses of wine. Enjoy this moment as much as you can because things are about to get tricky. That man that you are married to, the father of your child, he is hiding a secret and it’s all going to come tumbling out in the very near future.
It’s going to crush you and it’s going to make you hate that baby you share. You’ll resent him and wish that you never had him. You will think awful thoughts and then you will beat yourself up for it. And unfortunately, the only way that you are going to get through it is by turning to drink. Alcohol will be the only thing that soothes those horrible feelings but it will get its claws into you and eventually it will swallow you whole.
Your twenties will have their moments of fun and success but it all feels a little bit empty because you’re running on vodka. You’re achievements will be awesome. You will run 100 miles races and swim the English Channel. You’ll get a couple of degrees and one of them will be a first. How the fuck you manage it even I don’t know. It’s a shame because if you’d have been sober you would probably have been a raging success.
But you do make it through. You are tough and there is something inside you that is a survivor. You know when things are getting too much and you’re not too proud to ask for help when you need it. You will get sober and you will start to get your life back. You will change your values and re-evaluate what you think is important. You will start to take care of the people around you and become a much nicer person. You will reach your mid thirties and still be far from perfect. Those degrees are all but useless because you work in a shop and you struggle with anxiety so you can’t even work full time. But you enjoy your work and you go at it with enthusiasm. You have raised that baby and now he is fourteen and such a credit to you.
There are going to be so many horrible moments between you and me and I wish that I could stop them from happening or be there to give you a hug when they knock you down. But you’re a little toughie and you’ll make it through. You’ll have some highs too but try not to get carried away. Keep a level head and make sure you make it safely to 35 because I have a feeling things are about to get good.
Older Rachel xx