“You are not responsible for anyone except yourself. Ever.”

Dear 12-year-old Kate,

You are not fat. Even if you were, that would be okay. I hate that you’re looking at your body seeing imperfections that just don’t exist.

I hate that you’re going to carry that burden of self-loathing for a long, long time.

You’ll only start to tackle that in your 40s but when the opportunity arrives, grab it and don’t look back.

Life’s too short to spend too long wondering, and you’re going to spend a lot of time fighting to save your marriage long after it’s over. And the core of this will be your lack of self-worth.

But you’ll be ok. The ending will ignite in you the beginnings of finding yourself again, and that will be exciting.

Go for it! I hate that you’ve lived through a childhood full of loneliness, where you felt you needed to be the joy for a whole household.

That you’ve had to carry the burden of responsibility for parents that should have been the strength and guiding light to you all that time, but failed. Now listen, you need to know that you are not responsible for them. You are not responsible for anyone except yourself. Ever. Full stop. No arguments.

If I could give you one bit of advice about that, it would be to try not to let it infect your relationship decisions. But I know it will. Because well, it’s your path and it’s not a bad one. You’re going to have three beautiful children and feel secure for a long time. But secure does not help you grow. And wow, are you going to grow.

You know me, I don’t take advice unless I know I already agree with it, so I also don’t have regrets. Things will be hard from time to time – you will suffer. But you won’t die from your emotions. OK? Got that?! YOU. WON’T. DIE. It might feel like it but you won’t.

You’re a really good person. You love deeply and wholeheartedly, and that’s magical. People love ‘adult you’, they get drawn to you, they love your bubbly nature and as you find yourself, they’ll love you even more for your authenticity too. Allow that special balance to shine. It’s important.

Now, in short, don’t worry:

You’ll always be loved.

You’ll always be clumsy.

You’ll always be blonde.

And you’ll always be a writer.

And those that don’t see the special shine in you, who don’t want to cherish you and love you just as you are, let them slip through your fingers like water. Have fun. I’m proud of you.

Forget natural childbirth, take the free drugs.

All my love always, my beautiful girl,

Kate xx

Kate is a writer, based in Devon.

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