letter to my younger self shona kaye


Hello, Past Me.

It’s hard, isn’t it?

Life. Growing up. Discovering so many versions of yourself that you cannot fathom who you actually are.

So, you took the easy route and have begun to reflect what you believe people want to see in you but these versions conflict with one another. They rub up against each other like pieces of flint and we all know what happens then.

You want—so badly—to fit in, to measure up, to be loved and like a chameleon, you change your outer self to suit your present environment, your present company, your present need.

Stop it.

If you sit still long enough, if you pause for just a moment and take a time-out from the chaos of your next romantic adventure or the next dose of peer pressure or this week’s round of rebellion, you’ll figure it out. Amidst all the many masks and guises you’ve fashioned, you’ll find you in there somewhere.

But you’re not in the business of listening, are you? So bent are you on independence and free will, that you feel if something isn’t your idea, then it isn’t worth doing.

You’re wrong. 

But you’ll have plenty of time to realise this and you will.

You’ll wake up one day and not recognise yourself. And everything you perceive as hard will get that much harder, become that much more difficult to make sense of. You’ll begin to fear what’s ahead of you.

Don’t be afraid.

Face it. Charge headlong into what scares you.

Except I don’t really need to tell you that because this is what you’ll do. You’ll spend so long in what seems to be a perpetual state of confusion, that by the time fear beckons at your door, the certainty of it will be the very thing that beguiles you. And when you face it, when you finally discover what drives you, what matters to you above all else—and you will, as unbelievable as it seems now—everything will fall into place.

That’s not to say it will be easy. When we say things fall into place, it isn’t meant to be taken literally. ‘Nothing worth having is ever easy.’  The things you desire will not land in your lap but finding out what you desire and owning that desire is the first step to building it for yourself.

Have patience and be strong.

Every hardship you are yet to face—heartbreak, abuse, loss, mental illness—will build the very person you’re to become. It will feel as though the opposite is happening, of course. As if with every ounce of adversity, you’re being chipped away, one piece at a time. But know this:

You’ll get through it.

Despite feeling weak, you will somehow find the strength to keep standing, and the pain you feel will give you insight and understanding. It sounds like a steep price—and it is—but without it, you would not have half as much self-awareness or empathy or compassion. You would never know the breadth of what you’re truly capable of; maybe you never will.

Maybe we all spend our lives thinking we know how far we can be pushed while underestimating our resilience. When things get rough—and they will because that’s the way things are—remember this:


You are resilient. You can withstand the storm. The sun will shine again.


letter to my younger self shona kaye
Photo by Lori M. Sousa on Unsplash