This week, I’m feeling positive, I can’t promise every week or even day will feel this way but I’m taking responsibility for the way I allow myself to feel and trying to come out the other side. As I was sat in the sofas drinking my third brew before midday, I suddenly thought about a film we used to love as kids, ‘The Land Before Time’. My little brother was obsessed and I’ve never forgotten one of the lines from the film “Don’t step on the cracks else you’ll fall and break your back” for some reason, as I get older, that line has a whole different meaning. So, I decided to write a letter to myself, one that I will read back on my bad days in an attempt to remind myself that I’m not so bad after all. I’m not saying it’ll work, but I am saying it’s worth a try. Maybe, if you’re in a similar boat, it could work for you to. It’s not about being arrogant, it’s learning to love yourself, because you are allowed to, Bieber said so right? But seriously, loving the person you are and looking at yourself in a positive light doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Dear Outside Emma.
You thought you’d had it all mapped out didn’t you? How your life was going to be, all things you’d have done by now and the person you’d become. You thought you knew it all and you were confident you’d get there.
Don’t worry, we all have big dreams when we’re young and innocent, we all plan out our lives and we’re lucky if life even marginally follows the plan.
By now, you thought you’d have at least 3 of the 5 children you wanted, you thought you’d be married and the proud owner of horses, 2 in fact. Not to mention the white picket fence.
I know you think you’ve failed, you think you’ve not achieved anything, but you have, and as that little inner voice inside your head that you just love to ignore in favour of that little negative demon, let me tell you, you’re just fine. You’re more than fine.
It’s a big cliche isn’t it, that phrase we so often see floating around on social media and on wooden plaques in our home, ” You’re braver than you think, smarter than you seem and stronger than you feel”
But really, is it so cliche? Look at yourself Emma. You ARE brave. You chose to walk away from the majority of your family because they made you feel less than you are worth, you took the bull by the horns and chose to live your life the way you wanted. You chose to protect yourself and your family from being hurt anymore, even if that meant losing so many people you loved, you cut yourself off and bravely chose to live.
You don’t consider yourself smart at all do you? Ok, we all know Alice Tinker is your spirit animal and you have a tendency to come out with the most ridiculous comments at times, gaining yourself a dizzy reputation, but that doesn’t mean you’re not smart. You did well at school, you worked hard at a long career in barbering, you went into customer services and studied hard for an NVQ, you passed. You later went into the care profession and worked day and night to hold down a job, a family and still come out of it with not one, but two NVQs in Healthcare, yet you don’t consider yourself to be smart. You’ve been told numerous times that you’re smarter than you let on, and you are. You see through people with ease, you know who keeps it real and the people you must surround yourself with and you know the people you need to avoid like dogshit on the pavement especially when you’re wearing flip flops!
You are raising a strong, independent young lady who already knows how to cook, clean, wash, iron and save her money. You’ve taught your children to be themselves, to not be ashamed of who they are and to stand out in a crowd. You talk openly to them about things other parents may skirt around or not know what to say, you’ve made a conscious decision to discuss with your teenager the affects of drink, drugs and promiscuous sex even though she cringed the whole way through.
You’re in the process of setting up your own business and helping others along the way. Yes, Paul may have helped and supported you, but you did this. And you did this because you are smarter than you give yourself credit for. Applaud yourself, give yourself credit for the things you’ve achieved, it doesn’t mean you’re arrogant or self absorbed, it means you are allowed to take a step back and look at yourself, look at who you have become and what you are still becoming.
I know right now, you don’t feel strong. You are depressed and constantly anxious. You feel weak and have days when you don’t want to get out of bed. Please Emma, keep fighting, get out of bed.
You survived abuse, you survived a violent relationship, you survived a suicide attempt, you survived debt and being evicted from your home, you survived single parenthood, you survived post natal depression, you survived rejection after rejection, you survived a cancer scare, you survived being cheated on, you survived miscarriages, you survived a full hysterectomy aged 29, you survived friends turning on you, you survived early menopause and still going, you survived packing your shit up into black bin liners, loading it onto the back of a pick up and moving miles away to choose happiness and starting over, you survived being alone and now, you are surviving this constant battle with the demons inside your head that tell you that you’re not good enough. I say survive each time because that’s what being strong is Emma. Being strong is all you know so how do you assume from all of that, that you are weak? Where is the weakness in any of this?
Emma, there is a fight in you deep inside your heart that makes you get out of bed each day and carry on, there’s a fight in you that makes you set a good example for your daughter, there is a fight within everything you do, and you do it because you are stronger than you think.
You’ve always been afraid to talk about your
life because you’ve been shamed into it, because you’ve been told “you’re not the only one” because you feel your life resembles one bad episode of Jeremy Kyle. Let me tell you, any man who has had the same hair cut for 15 years is not to be trusted, get Jezza out of your head for good. Your experiences are the events that have shaped you into the person you are today. The person you are becoming, and each day, you are shaping yourself into becoming a better person.
Emma, I’ve lived inside your head for 34 years and we both know you’re no angel, you’ve been a mouthy twat at times, you’ve argued in a room with nobody else in it just for the sake of arguing, you’ve had one to many boyfriends more than you needed and you’ve been bloody hard to manage at times, you’ve been stubborn and it pains me to admit, you’ve been awfully unkind, you’ve spoken your mind without thought and only worried about it after, you’ve acted selfishly and erratically but you’re turning it around now. You’re settled, you have a good family around you and a man who supports everything you do, this is the life you’ve always wanted, you’ve chosen your people and surrounded yourself with love, the love you deserve. You’ve made the decision to live your best life and I’m proud of you for doing it.
The white picket fence may be a rustic brick wall, the horse may be a rabbit who shits more than you ever thought possible, the children may not all be biologically yours but they’re still yours all the same and the husband may still not even be your fiancé yet, but you’re there. You have everything you ever wanted and more.
Look at your life like a story, write your chapters Emma, turn the page but don’t read back over them. You don’t need to. They’ve been and they’ve gone. Keep going forward, write each new page as a fresh new start. You don’t have to live in your past anymore Emma, you don’t belong there. Yes, you can be sad, yes you can miss some of the happier times, but you can never get them back. Make new happy times, make new memories and learn to forgive. Learn to let go. Seek comfort from helping others, but remember you cannot fix the world, support, care and show love to the ones who need it, but don’t be drained, don’t be pulled down by the things you aren’t able to control. Bring yourself up and again and bring others with you.
This is your life Emma, and as much as your dark voice may resurface and tell you all the things you don’t want to hear, remember that I am the voice you should listen to. I am the voice of the one who matters, the voice of who you really are. I am you.
Learn to love yourself again Emma, you ain’t a bad lad!
Your inner Emma