Letters from Lockdown 19: Louise Chase

To myself,

Blimey, it’s been a tempestuous year hasn’t it? Weeks of university strikes, a pandemic that we couldn’t have anticipated when you turned 21 back in October, and that’s not even considering all of the stuff you have accomplished on an individual level. I know you felt as if you weren’t yourself since you returned from that event in London, and I believe that you’re right.

A loss of interest is something that happens to anyone, and as much as I know you love your degree, being perfect isn’t everything. Hell, you’re where you are because you aren’t. So own it. Nobody is perfect, and those that act like they have everything sorted out, are hiding something that you can’t see. It just appears more extreme for you as you don’t hide your emotions – which isn’t as bad as people say it is. Just because your marks aren’t as high as everyone else’s doesn’t mean that you’re stupid or not worth it.

Though, imagining what an alternative outcome would have been like is unlikely to help. Yes, okay maybe you’d still be at university now, and be thankful of the space, but you wouldn’t be that much of a different person.

But you wouldn’t be here. Writing. You wouldn’t have been invited to events to cover them, met some of the closest friends over a mutual love of the nerdiest of things. If you take it further back, and say that the UCAS mishap had never happened, would you be as accomplished as you are? You’ve been invited onto podcasts, had writing commissioned and even shortlisted for a national award (no doubt the first of many; you’ve got this, don’t worry.) You adore London, but would you have been as happy as you are in Southampton? The capital can wait, friends can’t.

You don’t feel like you deserve your achievements, that someone close, someone unexpected is going to one up them immediately, talk down, or just make you feel as if you can’t be proud of your achievements because you’re the wrong kind of different. But who said you have to pay attention? It’s difficult, I know. You just want everyone to be happy, and sometimes it meant that you’re putting yourself down to placate them. Just because you’re a nerd doesn’t mean that people get to put you down for that – towards you or behind your back. An achievement is an achievement, and you’ve earned it.

Whether you decide to re-read this in a week, a month, a year, or even not at all, know that I’m proud of you. You’ve done far more than you anticipated – even if you think that you’ve not done enough compared to the others. Mum and dad are proud of you, let them be proud (even if gets annoying at times, but they’re your parents. It’s kind of their job to do that). Give yourself time to fail, even if you don’t like it; if it means restarting or halting a project, do that.

The world is off kilter right now, so it’s perfectly alright if you need a bit time to find your feet. But you’re doing wonderfully, and while this path isn’t exactly the one which you believed you would go down, but it’s the one more suited for you nonetheless.

You have your laptop, you have games at your disposal. own your differences, they are after all, what makes you you.

So have that lord of the rings marathon, play video games to your heart’s content. Geek about Assassin’s Creed. Be you.

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