Signs of a Struggle

Dear Cas,

It is I, your twenty-five year old self sent from the future to impart my wisdom. Yeah it’s all a bit confusing and awkward. I can pretend to be a fairy godmother or some mystical apparition if you prefer, maybe even don some fairy wings to make this all more visually exciting? No? Whatever. I know you’re not going to want to listen to me, you don’t listen to anyone, I know that cos I am you innit and I’m more than aware of your pain in the arse tendencies.

Just bear in mind what I say and trust me a little bit. Please.

I was going to write a long lists of dos and dont’s, ya know, since I’m all wise and shit. But other than one – PUT THE TWEEZERS DOWN WOMAN, YOUR EYEBROWS ARE NEVER GONNA GROW BACK FFS – I’m not gonna do that. I suppose it’s sort of expected of someone in this position, the Disney version of things, that when we’re in the midst of complete and utter shit, that someone will float down from up above, hold our hand and tell you everything is going to be OK, make sure you do this, avoid that bloke – he’ll mess with your head, don’t forget to do your pelvic floor exercises, eat more greens, blah blah blah.

But I can’t do that.

Yeah you still feel shit more often than not. Stuff is still hard, harder than it should be. There are times when even just existing is too much to deal with. You will wonder when you’re gonna get given a fucking break sometimes, when you can politely take your plate away, place your hand over it and say “That’s plenty, thank you.”

You’ll still withdraw like a petrified hermit crab. And you’ll continue to blame yourself for well, pretty much everything. There’ll be times when you’ll wonder whether you’ve made any progress along this dark tunnel, that maybe you’re stuck in front of a rolling background but you’re not actually getting anywhere at all.

But do you know what’s different now, mate? Now there is laughter, there is love surrounding you like you’ve never experienced before, and yes, that’ll bring its own problems obvs, nothing’s ever simple is it? You won’t know how to accept all this good stuff, you’ll think you don’t deserve it. But it is here, all over the fucking place, it’s tangible and jumping on your face at 6am on the dot every morning.

I can’t tell you how to get from where you are to where I am, or tell you the shortcuts or how to avoid the shitty bits. I won’t pretend life is gonna be all unicorns puking up rainbows and daisy chains, it’s not, it might never be, I don’t know. All I can tell you is to keep going, persevere and never stop, because what you’ll find in ten years will be worth it, it’ll be far from perfect, believe me, you’ll spend days getting shit on your face and spending hours getting silly putty out of your son’s hair and hiding behind the fridge door to cry for a moment FFS, but it’ll be real, I canpromise you that.

There is nothing wrong with you, and you are not broken. Nor is there an evil little gremlin in your head, messing with your thoughts and jangling everything around. You are how you are, you will learn to accept it as a part of you.

I know the words may mean nothing, but I hope they stay with you in some way at the back of your mind and that you trust me. It will be worth it, the scars and echos and signs of a struggle will always stay with you in the shadows but there is good stuff waiting for you, Cas.

The reason I can’t tell you how to get from A to B is because what if I were to fuck up the road? What if you missed the man you now share your name with? What if you never met? Or had your son, the tiny person that essentially saved your life and gave you an anchor? There’s simply just too many things I could mess up for you if I were to give away the surprises your future has in store, and yeah I could divert you from the pain and the ugly and the boring stuff, but what about these two beautiful people who are now you’re life? I’m sorry dude, but it isn’t worth the risk. You will make it through, you will get to where I am now with a slight sense of accomplishment to have made it out of the dark of your teenage bedroom and to make just the tiniest of imprints on the outside world when it never, ever felt possible.

You will get here Cas. I promise. And it really, truly will be worth it.

Now lose the tweezers and write a letter to Magnum demanding they make pistachio flavoured ice cream stat.

Your twenty five year old self,

Cas

x

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