Recently, I saw a piece that Victoria Beckham wrote for last year's October addition of Vogue Magazine. A letter to her 18 year old self and it has haunted me.
Not because of anything that Mrs Beckham said, but because it got me thinking what would I say to my 18 year old self in a letter? Victoria and I are similar ages. Indeed two of my great friends went to Laine Theatre Arts Dance College with her and were friends of hers there.
The reason it's haunted me is because it has made me sad to even think of my 18 year old self and all that she would be yet to go through to get to where I am now. So, I am going to attempt to write that letter. I'm pretty sure it will make me cry. I'm not even sure it's wise and you the readers probably don't care - but so haunted am I by the thought of it, I think it has to be done.
Dear Sarah Jane,
I know that right now you are very troubled. I don't know why you are because you work very hard and you have the whole world at your feet.
You have passed your A Levels with an A for drama, a B for English and a C for art. You are such a talented dancer, you have just won Miss Dance Of Great Britain and you are about to go in to Cats The Musical from going to an open audition and yet I know you despise yourself. You constantly feel fat and even though you are not. this is all you can focus on. You use comedy so nobody suspects how utterly tortured you are. You desperately don't want to let anyone down and yet you let yourself down daily, just by not liking who you are.
I want to tell you now, that you are fine just the way you are. You aren't like most people and you do dance to the beat of a different drum but you must embrace it because you are funny, kind and honest and it's OK to be different. This is not a failing and one day, hopefully not too late you will realise this.
You will get over your bulimia but it will leave you very vulnerable your whole life through. People, mainly men, but sometimes work colleagues, will take advantage of your good nature and I beg of you (even though I know you won't) if a man hits you, don't stay to fix him, Run! If a man spits at you or throws his vomit at you, don't pity him and think you can show him that he is lovable. Run! If a man moves in to your life and takes over everything you are, if he belittles you and overwhelms you with his ideas and thoughts and takes your money, RUN! If a man puts out a cigarette on you or kicks you. Run......
Please run and don't stop until you are safe. There are men out there that will love you and not hurt you. Don't settle for less than that. Don't let others hurt you because you think you are strong enough to fix them. They do not deserve nor do they want to be fixed. If someone is nasty to you, it's not because they are broken or because they were hurt in their childhoods. It is because they are nasty and showing them love cannot and will never help them. So please little faery run.
One day, when you are brave enough to run, you will meet a knight in shining armour called Ayden and he doesn't need any saving but he will save you.
Even though you may think by this time that all the magic you once had has been destroyed by the men you tried to save.... This knight will find it again for you in the form of your son Phoenix. That magic you once had but thought lost, has just been buried inside you, scared, hiding but waiting to emerge in the shape of your child. Finally, by becoming a mum, you will know and accept who you are. You will be braver and you will actually like yourself and all the magic you once radiated will be reborn and vibrant again in the form of your baby and he will bring you to life once again.
By this time your career will have had twists and turns. You will have had great success and you are still talented. You won't have achieved everything you would like to but because all the people who once held you back have gone from your life, you finally have the strength to chase your dreams and make some real headway.
You are unable to tell a lie and although this does get you in to trouble a lot in your working life, your unwavering honesty will become your best ally especially in your writing.
I wish I could take you by the hand and lead you away from all the bad things you will encounter but I know it will take time for you to realise that the light you think you see in someones dark heart is just your light reflecting back at you.
You will get through it all though, you will even be free from Prozac once you stop people taking from you. Most amazingly though, you will get a wonderful gift one day. A true light, the light of a Phoenix.
Keep warm and don't feel like you have to smile when it's not sunny.