“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Dear Alice, 

One of the most difficult things in life is facing your past. I spend a lot of my time reliving previous actions I have taken, it takes up so much energy and worry – i am a huge bearer of guilt. Even for the most mundane of things. I can thank my OCD for that, it means I over think every little thing, no matter how small so imagine how it feels when something big occurs. Since my OCD has only got worse as I have grown older, mostly during university it escalated, it means previous words spoken and actions taken come back to haunt me even if I thought very little of them at the time. It results in a lot of strange apologies my friends can’t quite understand, because either it never mattered or it was so long ago no one remembers, the problem with me is…i never seem to forget, I relive and relive until I can’t cope with the guilt. Annoyingly my brain can be pretty rational at times so I can trick myself into thinking normally, ‘it was so long ago it doesn’t matter’, ‘you’re a different person now’, ‘people can change’ – but the truth is no one would punish me more than I punish myself.

Today I was faced with a lie I told when I was 14 – I chose to face it because it meant becoming closer to my best friend, who up until now thought she knew everything about me. I was 14 when I met her and stories were embellished to seem ‘cool’ – I never thought in a million years that it would come back to bite me on the bum. I lied about my virginity when I was 14 and I am now 22, i only told her the truth today, that I had never slept with anyone but my boyfriend who I have been with since I was 18 and have known since I was 14 also. I never a batted an eyelid when I told the lie, I just thought it made me look good – but 8 years later and I realized it created this barrier between us. She told me it explained A LOT about me and in turn meant I could tell her some other things…such as…when I lost my virginity, my boyfriend had thought I had been with others previously, because I never told him otherwise. He was a virgin too. I ruined our first time and for 2 years into our relationship I couldn’t bring myself to tell him. A little lie when I was young…destructive. I did tell him eventually. The truth is when I was younger I couldn’t fathom the idea of a future for me and my best friend or me and my boyfriend. I didn’t know she’d be like a sister or that i’d fall so deeply in love with him that one day we’d get married (I hope!) – I assumed we would break up, probably after uni, I’ve graduated now, and so my best friend would never have to know. I thought my boyfriend and I might not last because it was my first love…but we don’t live in a movie, life is real, this is real and I should have been honest from the beginning  I wish I had known better when I was younger. That’s a lie I could never hold on to because both parties I felt needed to know, as the closest people to me, no matter how embarrassing. 

Strangely I had let my best friend believe I had slept with others because I found that easier to explain why I thought I had HIV rather than explaining to her about my OCD – that I sometimes have irrational fears of HIV or Chlamydia from public bathrooms – so bad that I have taken 3 HIV tests regardless of only ever being with my boyfriend and him only ever being with me. I am sure I am going to be that ONE person in the world that gets it some other way and loses everything because of it. 

So, who am I now? A girl who hugely regrets so much but is trying to come to terms that some things have happened in the past that I will always regret but will never be able to change. That as we grow up we become different people and those things don’t matter anymore. Apologise for those things you can apologise for, ignore the ridiculous things because no one else can understand why in my mind it matters and move on, using everything you’ve learned to be a better person. I’ve made some stupid mistakes in my life, but I hope to carry the lessons forward and remember that I am what I am now, and i can not change who i was then. And let’s be honest, a lot of my mistakes way helped me develop into the girl I am today…and that’s good enough for me…now. I just hope I don’t look back here in twenty years and feel the regret I feel when I look back at my teenage years. 

Onward and upward,

S

“How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Dear Alice, 

As an adopted child I find it very strange when people ask me ‘what’s it like to be adopted?’ – the truth is, I don’t know how it is any different to anything else, I’ve never known anything else, neither do I desire to because I have a pretty fantastic family and a wonderful life. I might still be finding myself, but who isn’t? I only mention this because one of the most peculiar situations presented itself to me very recently. My employer asked me about my adoption, about my life, about foster care – something I am very open with. It is my life story, like anyone else’s, it is normal. It doesn’t make me any different to you. When posed with the question of why I was adopted I told the truth, I have no shame, I did nothing wrong, my parents were unable to look after me, there was abuse, it was no place for children. What surprised me the most was the reaction, my employer…cried. Hugged me and cried. At first I was a little bemused, ‘I’m okay’ I reassured her, ‘look at me now’ ‘it made me who I am today’ – and then I took a step back and realized, it isn’t just about me! It isn’t just about one child who had a troubled start to life and finally found a forever home, it was about every single child out there who is going without, who cannot escape, who cannot see hope. She was crying for each child that is still stuck, neglected, lost.

As someone who voluntarily mentors a child in care, and someone who has been in care, I am immersed in the knowledge. I’ve had social workers, I’ve worked WITH social workers, I’ve been in care, and seen people in care…but others, they haven’t, they aren’t used to this, it is a shock to the system. It is different, it is scary, it is sad. It’s all new, something people know but choose not to acknowledge in their everyday lives. 

That’s why I chose to share my stories when people ask,for all those people that asked me how my adoptive mum could in anyway be my REAL mother (something I find deeply offensive, OF COURSE she is my REAL mother, maybe not biologically but in EVERY other sense of the word), to every child in care that has asked me if things can change. I want people to know. I want people to understand. 

My life is no different from yours. 

I was just chosen by my mum. 

And I like it that way. 

Love

Sx

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” “I don’t much care where –” “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 

Dear Alice,

As a nanny I spend my time with very young children, children who are not yet aware of the self, children with no concept of what is to come in life. It is refreshing and uplifting to see them  amazed by the slightest thing, mesmerized by so many things we adults take for granted. The inability for them to over think every action they take, everything is so easy. I wish I could go back to a simpler time like that. I wish we all had that innocence within us.

I actually did a Law Degree and decided that my passion lay in teaching primary school children, I feel so enlightened when I spend time with kids. I start to believe anything is possible, that we could all learn from the way they interact, the way they love, the way they learn. Everything is new, everything is an experience! It’s something about the way they stumble through the beginning of life not concerned with what anyone else thinks, with such confidence and grace, with such belief in themselves. It’s truly amazing. And I cannot wait to start my teacher training in September!

Sx

`If I wasn’t real,’ Alice said — half-laughing though her tears, it all seemed so ridiculous — `I shouldn’t be able to cry.’ – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Dear Alice,

Every night as I lay in bed only positive things tumble through my mind, thoughts about how I can change, where I go, what I could be – but by morning these are all washed away and suddenly I feel hopeless, like no matter what I do, nothing will ever change. 

I want to talk to somebody, it isn’t like I don’t have friends, family, a loving relationship but things have been bottled  up so long I no longer feel I can be open about everything, no matter how hard I try. I spent my teen years starving and binging, losing weight until my mum got worried and took me to the doctors, the problem is, I was too good at lying, I was a master of manipulation. So when I started rapidly gaining weight I didn’t have anywhere to turn to and stood by the belief that no one would believe me now, I was too big too have a real problem. And now here I am at 22, no control whatsoever and an endless feeling of sinking. Little accomplishments in the day I cannot share with anyone, when I feel lost, I have to find my way home myself, on my own, alone. Is this how it is going to be forever? I get some relief by being as open as I can with my boyfriend but he always says the wrong thing like ‘If you didn’t talk so much’ ‘If you didn’t THINK so much’ – but I can’t stop thinking, i can’t stop running over the same thoughts in my mind until I do something about them. So that is why I am here, writing this blog, to no one, for no one, just for me. Just for me to find some meaning in this life that isn’t revolved around food, that gives me purpose…anything. 

Thanks for being there,

Sx

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then. ” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Dear Alice,

I cannot go back to who I used to be, but I can not keep on going the way I am. I have reached a point in my life where I need to be honest  and learn what it is to truly be myself. Both emotionally and physically I need to focus on being a healthy again. I have such good things in my life that I constantly ruin and destroy with my worries and fears, I let the little things in, until they become so huge, I cannot cope. I need to learn that I am too old for this to be the end but young enough for this to be a beginning. 

Dear Alice, today I strive towards a larger goal in life, I will think at least 1 positive thing everyday, I will thank God for everyday and I will constantly work to be a better person. I want to feel I’ve achieved something everyday.

Today I thank my lucky stars that I have the most amazing relationship with a glorious boyfriend who puts up with so much.

Today I want to start living my life, not letting food control it. I want to eat to live and not live to eat. 

Your loving friend,

Sx