We were girls with loud voices, notoriously resented by the staff of our school for being outspoken and difficult to tame, as a year group. We were creative, wild and a bundle of loose canons set to explode into adulthood. Yet, these same girls, myself included, were unsure of ourselves, anxious and self-conscious in the extreme.
Yet, somewhere not-so-deep down, I have had a shame about the content I produce, the words I write. I let others decide what my words are worth in my mind and deny them the ability to declare them useless by not sharing what I work on, what I value most. After all, if the critics can't find your work, then you're safe, right? All in all, it's a tremendously stupid system.
There are certain things that I will always find soothing. Having my hair stroked or a hug from my mom after a hard day, those are in my very DNA. In order to cultivate an environment that feels safe, I have included some of these childhood soothers back into my life.
"I used to think that I was particularly white-washed as child, admiring only Aurora from Sleeping Beauty or Belle from Beauty and the Beast. My imagination was stunted when it came to Pocahontas or Mulan. Now, as an adult, I have examined my thoughts and I realise that I only allowed myself to admire Disney princesses that I could change myself enough to become."
Yet here is what I can do; I can remind them that they are magic to every life they touch. This is a shout of love into the void of pain, reminding you, my beloved friend, that to feel alone is but an illusion. You will never stand alone, you always have me. I will be your fortitude, your crutch and your cheerleader whenever the need arises. I cannot solve your problems, but I will ensure that you do not face them alone.
‘You are meaner than your demons, colder than your pain and braver than your last thought.’
If we accept that fact, that We Are All One, as true then another intrinsic truth arises that we cannot ignore. If we were to live as though no one, even those who wrong us in the worst ways, were a part of how soul in need of love rather than condemnation, then we would never lack. There would be Enough.
I understand something I didn’t as a teenager. We can be on anti-depressants or in therapy and still experience moments so sharply brilliant that we laugh until our chests hurt. We can fret over living with our parents until our thirties and still receive a hug from a friend that is filled with such love that life is, momentarily, fixed and whole once more.
As a child, I was always one to feel guilt quickly and regret often. My mother uttered; 'Just let it go, Jen' more times than I can remember. Now, with a somewhat genetic complex for guilt and anxiety, I have noticed the toll that 'cancel culture' and social media is having on my own mind.
I don't remember the first time I thought that I would die from this sickness. But I do remember the first time I hoped I would.