Dear pre pandemic me,

If only you could read this on the first day of lockdown. Would you believe how you’ve grown since? While you’re still short af in your five-foot-tall body, your heart, soul, and mind have had a growth spurt of sorts.
Like everyone, your journey through the pandemic has not been linear so embrace what you learn and please be kind to yourself. Be kind to others too. While their struggles may not be identical to yours, empathy and compassion go a long way.

Due to lockdowns, you are alone for many of your waking hours in 2020 and early 2021. You will struggle at times, but I want you to know that when lockdowns are over and the world starts to feel like it’s turning again, there are three things that change your life for the better.

Firstly, it’s not as difficult as you thought it would be to talk to your doctor about how you feel. It turns out the mental health issues that robbed you of so much for over a decade can be treated. While you may not be cured, you’re healing. As I write this, you’re one year into being medicated with Sertraline and I can’t begin to describe the difference that tiny pill has made to your everyday life. Please don’t punish yourself for not seeking help sooner. Perhaps the courage within you to ask for help was only a seed before the pandemic. Given time, it became a strong plant; able to recognise needs and survive bad weather.

Secondly, you finally got your long overdue braces! Those ugly pieces of metal are expensive, but I can tell you they are worth every single penny for what they bring you. After ten months of life with a metal mouth, you say bye to your braces. In doing so, you also say bye to the physical discomfort of misaligned teeth and the insecurity those misaligned teeth caused you. Again, please don’t punish yourself for not doing this sooner. Perhaps the money that enabled you to make this happen wouldn’t have been available to you any earlier than it was.

Finally, your changed smile comes in good timing, because in 2021 you have another reason to smile and it comes in the form of a tiny little human, the child of your brother and his partner. Your nephew’s arrival is without a doubt one of the greatest blessings of your life. He is like sunshine: warm, bright, comforting.

So now you know, happiness to you is nurturing your life. It is regaining lost confidence, growth, and finding joy in every day. It’s your family and friends. It’s you. I pray you never lose sight of this.