A letter to my younger self

Hello Leslie,

It’s me, your older self from sixteen years later.

For all your life, you may wonder why people are judging you, criticising you and ostracizing you and there are times you may wonder if the problem lies with your outward appearance.

There may be times whereby you will wake up with your fingers coated in blood, your wounds weeping and your mother berating you for not having proper hygiene practices and you may hate yourself for what you have done, but Leslie, it’s alright, do not loathe yourself for the circumstances you have placed yourself in. It is not within your control that you are born with an immune disorder that many people may not understand. Your immune disorder covers you with patches of lesions whenever you are exposed to heat and to succumb to the temptation of relieving the itch, is simply inevitable.

You may avoid going to school because you are terribly afraid of what others might think of you — visible scars and open wounds. You may be afraid, afraid of how these kids you encounter on a daily basis could be able to judge you so relentlessly. However, it’s alright, these are the people that you would not want to associate yourself with. You may have tried explaining to your parents why you avoid going to school because of your scars and the bullying that comes along as a package, yet, despite all of the explanations in the world, your parents could not understand your predicament no matter much you have tried. Instead of empathising with you, your problems got dismissed by your mother, with her citing that you have questionable hygiene practices and the scars on your body are solely the lack of mental fortitude on your part. There are times whereby you may secretly resent your parents for not providing you with the necessary emotional support when you need them but Leslie, being emotionally ignorant was never their choice as it was how they were brought up.

Leslie, people are going to judge you, criticise you in ways that you cannot fathom, but ultimately at the end of the day what matters most is your perception of yourself, never let others dictate how you feel and never forget to have more self-compassion towards yourself, after all, you are the one who deals with yourself every day.

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