Dear 18 year old Mais
Dear 18 year old Mais,
One day it will feel okay again. You’ll be sitting in another city with your best friend in the world and it will feel okay.
You’ll wake up and make yourself breakfast - what you want, not what’s safe. You’ll eat snacks and drink tea in the lead up to lunch because you’ll know that any food is allowed at any time, there are no rules. You’ll prepare and eat your food in front of others, and you’ll do so regardless of what’s going on around you or what others are doing. You will finally allow yourself that chocolate, those biscuits… the things not to be consumed on an afternoon, because you honour your cravings now, having learnt your low calorie alternatives only lead to that restrict and binge cycle. Dinner will come round and you’ll be shocked that it’s that time already because you don’t spend your day staring at the clock, anxiously awaiting your next allowance of food. Maybe you’ll know what you’re having, or maybe you’ll improvise, you might even order a takeaway because you can’t be bothered cooking and that sounds good. One week you’ll find yourself agreeing to ‘Come dine with me - student edition’ with your flatmates, and you’ll cook them a meal without skimping on the scary ingredients, then you’ll eat the food they cook at the sheer amazement of your past self. You’ll take countless trips to the supermarket but this time it’ll just be to get what you need and leave, grabbing something fun like a cake or scones as you go because even though you hadn’t planned for it, you fancy it and that’s okay. You’ll learn that the nice things in life aren’t just for other people, and you’ll let go of the shame you associate with eating the things you like.
You’ll gain weight but you’ll also gain back your life, and along with this food freedom will come so much more.
You’ll laugh again, and dance and sing (equally badly), and you won’t fear fun, because being happy in a moment does not invalidate what you’ve felt or are feeling. You’ll know now that you can experience a full range of emotions, that life is not black and white, and you do not need to prove yourself to anyone. You’ll stay up watching Christmas films in November, find the app Borrow My Doggy and spend hours meeting new furry friends and going on walks which you’re now able to enjoy. You’ll go on date nights again (outside of lockdown), and reconnect with friends, making new ones along the way. You’ll FaceTime home and feel excited for Christmas because you’re able to join in now and even if it looks different this year, it’s time with family and that is precious. You’ll play video games, get over excited and scream at the TV as you overtake on Mario Kart. You’ll be able to work again and feel motivated whilst also allowing for the days productivity fails you because you recognise you’re human, deserving of a break, and that your joy doesn’t ride on your achievements. One day you’ll write your first blog post and realise how much you love writing, you’ll explore your passion further, seize opportunities and finally have the confidence to turn them down when they’re not right for you, because you have a newfound respect for your beliefs and opinions. Despite this you still won’t know exactly what you want to do in life but you’ll find peace with the uncertainty of this and even in the moments it panics you, you’ll have the skills to rationalise your thoughts and manage the anxieties.
You won’t have to do any of this alone either. You’ll fall in love with your soulmate and have the constant, unconditional support of her and all your family. You’ll find yourself sitting at her desk, pouring out your gratitude onto a Word document, surrounded by fairy lights and all the things that make you feel safest in the world, and you’ll breathe. Contrary to what you may think, you won’t actually be having the best day, but you’ll be there, armed with the knowledge that you have survived all the bad days before and you will get through this too.
You’re going to be okay little Mais, and you’re going to be okay present Mais and future Mais. You’re going to be okay.