Letters from Lockdown 16: Issy Steventon

Content warning: Abuse

Dear Issy of 2012, 

I knew when I thought about this letter, I had to write to myself in the past. Because, even though eight years ago, I was innocent and oblivious, I feel like some appreciation of my old self might have helped.

You are just a girl, eleven years old, and about to start secondary school. You’re excited, because you finally feel like a big girl, and finally feel like your older siblings, who are still in secondary school or have left. You’ve got your new striped shirt, the navy trousers, the jumper, the P.E kit, the blazer, and your new shoes. You’ve not had your ears pierced for very long, but it doesn’t matter.

I’m sorry that you will suffer for seven years, I’m sorry that your innocence and naivety will be wiped away instantly. I’m sorry that you’ll be lied to, and you’ll be treated like utter shit, and that you won’t know what’s the point in living. I’m sorry that even after five years and you leave hell, it becomes even worse. I’m sorry that you’ll become so paranoid and alone that you don’t know who you really are.

But I’m not sorry for the strength you have, that you’ve had since you were a little girl. I’m not sorry for building yourself up after the tears, I’m not sorry for your beautiful artwork that you will create when you need a way of showing how you feel. I’m not sorry for the diary you will have kept for seven years, describing things like your feelings, to your favourite films to even the moment you will have your first period. 

You will find your place in the world, like you once felt you had in primary school. You will be able to sing again in public, despite being told your eyebrows make a weird shape when you do, you’ll be able to have friends again, despite people manipulating you and lying to you, you’ll be able to love, despite the countless men that have used and abused you.

Issy, you will have countless arguments with your family, I’m sorry to say. You will have moments where you feel like no one else is there for you except your numerous fictional worlds you create with stories. You will wear scars on your skin to prove your hardest times, but sweet little Issy of 2012, you will become someone you will not recognise.

You will be funny, and kind, and love languages (not just French like it is at the moment). You will continue writing stories and start writing poetry, and you will draw and paint and discover your people. You will hate your body, and eventually learn to love its beauties and its flaws. You will love, and hurt and move on. You will find amazing jobs that bring out the best in you, meet amazing people and never forget them. But most of all, you will find yourself.

Even though the next seven years will feel awful for the majority of it, you will pull through, and you will become the woman you are meant to be. 

Love from 2020 Issy


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