I quite often find myself going back to my childhood, normally triggered by a smell, a place or a song. For a split second I'm transported back to a moment, it can feel so real, as if Im actually reliving it. These moments can leave me reflecting on my childhood experiences for a just a few minutes or for several hours, but either way, the same question always appears... what would I say to my younger self?
The following can be therapeutic, even if somewhat scary. It allowed me to step back and refocus on my 'self'. Looking at my life from a different perspective.
Dear younger me
To the schoolgirl me:
After many hours in the therapy room, I discovered being a child in the Army had a detrimental impact on our childhood as well as being an adult. Moving home, starting a new school and making new friends every two years would screw-up most children, yet alone an only child! I know how you dreaded the first few weeks of a new school, feeling isolated, different and alone, but you always managed to make friends, good friends, and had a marvellous ability to embrace and adapt your whole character to each new environment. But this came at a price. Somewhere down the line you created a strong defense mechanism to block the painful emotions linked to the sad goodbyes and also to prevent these feelings from ever reoccurring again, not just in childhood but throughout adulthood as well.
I also recall the fear and anxiety produced by the pressures of failure in the classrooms ~ dreading questions or exams on subjects the class may have covered before our arrival at that school.
Well, fear not... I'm pleased to say, we are all good on the friendship front and you wont be disappointed with your education, in fact, even though you may not believe this, but you end up attending an educational establishment in every decade of your life.
To the teenager me:
I want you to know that it's OK to be different and to stop worrying about the the colour of your skin, they way you look and talk ~ you don't have to change to fit in with those around you or play the fool, people will and do accept you for who you are. These were very lonely, difficult and emotional years for you, but you will get through them... you did get through them. Unlike many others, the confusing transition between leaving childhood and entering adulthood went remarkably well for you... well done!
As an adult:
There are still times of loneliness and the feeling of isolation, this was especially felt when losing mum ~ 20 years ago this year she was tragically killed in a car accident, a painful void still felt today. The deep rooted, gut wrenching grief of losing mum seem to amplify the wish for a brother or sister even more than ever, cue, the unwanted feeling of being alone again.
Within three months of this tragedy, some sense of belonging emerged in the form of becoming Mrs McLellan. Did I mention you have most adoring and wonderful husband?
Unfortunately, another tragedy hit our family this year with the unexpected loss of our beautiful 14 month old Granddaughter Winter-Rose, (RIP sweetie in the arms of your Nanny). Thankfully theres plenty of support from family, friends and a brilliant therapist to help me through this difficult time.
You're a very healthy and contented individual and life is pretty good. Warm loving home environment, a beautiful family, wonderful caring friends and of course, the most adorable husband you could ever ask for.
You have a good array of professional qualifications, and hopefully one day, will be able to add a doctorate in clinical psychology to the collection. And finally, think of life as a see-saw: You will go through life's ups and downs when you sit either end, but thankfully, most of the time you stand firm in the middle and live a well balanced life. Embrace and enjoy your life x
What would you write to your younger self?