Dear Amy; Don't Worry

Dear five year old Amy,

You are young and innocent and magic is the most wonderful thing in the world. You believe with every fibre of your body that Fairy God Mothers and Happily Ever Afters (and singing mice) really do exist. You believe it so strongly that when Santa drops off a Snow White dress at Christmas, you cry from the irrational fear that if you wear it the wicked witch will come and kill you. You are five years old, and you are already letting worries ruin you.

But you'll grow up, you'll lose that magic, and unfortunately carry those worries with you.

You're fifteen and you're smoking your first cigarette whilst hanging out of your best friend's bedroom window. It tastes like tar and you feel sick but you smoke it anyway. You'll go to parties and drink a disgusting mixture of blue WKD and whatever spirits your friends have managed to decant from their parents alcohol collection. You'll smoke more cigarettes and snog boys behind the wheely bins round the back of people's houses (sorry mum). You'll wear dreadful outfits, you'll wear too much makeup and you'll make mistakes. Some of those boys and your friends turn out not to be nice. They won't treat you as equals, they'll use you and humiliate you and you will cry. You'll feel belittled and ugly and insecure, but don't worry because in a few years a really nice boy will come along, and although at first he may just be another boy you've snogged behind a wheely bin at a house party, he will grow to become your best friend and your rock. 

You will grow up but you will continue to make mistakes.

 You'll become a straight A-student, house captain, form prefect, you'll run the year book committee, you'll help with the school play, you'll work towards 6 AS-levels, 4 A-levels and grade seven speech and drama. And you'll become terrified you're not good enough. Your insecurities will eat you alive, but you'll plaster on your two-shades-too-orange foundation and paint a smile on your face anyway. You'll be worried. All the time. But don't worry because one day all that hard work pays off and you are closer than you ever imagined to pursuing a career in the field you've always dreamed of.

When you're eighteen you'll leave home. You'll move to London, live in Shoreditch and attend Art School. You'll feel independent, like you can take on the world and you can do it single handedly. But you'll learn pretty quickly that you can't. You'll feel successful and accomplished. But you'll also feel lonely. You'll wake up at 6am to avoid traveling on the tube during rush hour because you're afraid of the people. You'll spend 13 hours a day at university continually filling sketchbooks and forgetting to fill yourself. You will exist off giant chocolate buttons and green tea. You won't really exist at all. But don't worry, because in two years time you'll look back on your time in London and admit that going there (and leaving there) were equally the best decisions you ever made. Life gets better, I promise.

When you're nineteen you'll admit defeat. You'll eventually let your worries, fears, anxieties and insecurities get the better of you and you're weak. You'll take iron pills and migraine pills and sickness pills and energy pills and pills for your stomach and pills for your throat and you won't want to take any more pills. You're tired. You're exhausted. You're lost. But don't worry.

Because you're twenty one and you're stronger than you ever imagined. You realise that Fairy God Mothers and Happily Ever Afters (and unfortunately, singing mice), don't exist in reality. You have learnt that magic isn't real, that bad things happen to good people and life doesn't always follow a smooth path. You have been foolish, you have made mistakes and you have failed. But because of this you are wise. 

As your grandad always said; keep going with your head down,