(I’m turning 20 on Wednesday, so I thought I would write a letter thing to my ‘younger’ self to reflect)
I’m sat here writing to you whilst sat at my desk at quarter to midnight in my room at university (yes, you will get here, don’t worry!), and as I’ll be 20 next week, I thought I would write you a letter. In the above photo, you’re about seventeen, a few years ago now. You’ve been through a lot to get to this point, you’re about to start college after graduating from secondary school with damn good grades considering everything you’ve gotten though. The future is bright, although you’ll take several knocks before you get to where you are now, in 2013.
Ten years ago, you decided you wanted to be a writer. I think it was when you were given a little brown notebook which you covered in stickers and turned it into a diary called ‘Tabby’. You’d been told about Anne Frank. You thought it was rather sad that she died. But you still kept a diary anyway. And in turn, you wrote stories. My favourite one was about your birth (sorry kid, you were just a month premature, you did not have a dangerous forceps birth which nearly killed your mother…), although you did write a story about my classmates called ‘The Rainbow Agents’ where you were ‘Heidi Indigo’, and you went round saving the world. I might attempt another version of that when I’m good and ready to. But for now, I have this letter to write.
There were so many things you wanted to be when you were ten. A doctor, even though you hated blood. You still do, by the way. An archaeologist was another job, because you liked ‘Time Team’ but you didn’t like getting dirty. You love mud now though! There were other career paths, farmer, actress, popstar, teacher. But none of those worked out in the long term. They didn’t feel like things you could actually do with your life.
So, after muddling your way through both primary and secondary school, you decided to go to train to be a filmmaker. How hard could it get, seriously?
It will be hard! Trying to get your male colleagues to take you seriously was the worst part of it all. You’d always be shoved into a team rather than being picked, which sucked. You learned about sexism and ableism, and it made you so angry. So you became Women’s Officer for your college during your second year. You organised and ran campaigns, you attended a big conference, and really learned about feminism, and what it meant to you. You also discovered Amnesty International, and decided to help by signing petitions. You’ll join Amnesty properly aged 19. Not only that, but you start off Scribbles of a Geek, which is a blog where you share your thoughts and ideas about these issues, as well as about your day to day life and your writing.
You also get a boyfriend, who becomes a fiance. You’ll love him, you’ll hate him, it’s that kind of relationship. You’ll have ups and downs. But one day it’ll all be worth it when you meet him up the aisle (in a vintage gown, hopefully, if not, something blue…)
You then realise that you need to start applying for university, which you do. In the end, you decide to apply to do Creative Writing. You get accepted for the university of your choice, and you leave on September 2013. When you get there, you’ll meet some wonderful people, people who I reckon will become your friends for life, no matter what happens.
I don’t know what the rest of the academic year will bring me. All I know is that I’m doing a course I love, and that one day, I’ll grow up to become a writer.
So, keep writing, keep plugging at it, follow your dreams. You’ll make it, but it’ll be a whole lot of hard work! Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worth it, because you are. And I’m here to prove it.
Heidi (aged 19, about to turn 20)