A letter to… My Best Friend

My best friend,

There’s a time in our lives when we come to realise that we have met the person who we are destined to be with for the rest of our lives. No no no, I’m not talking about a lover, a husband, a wife, I’m talking about a friend. We find that there is one person around whom we do not need to act, we do not need to put on a brave face. We do not need to wear certain clothes, or conform to certain ideals. At some point in our lives we meet someone who makes us truly happy. We kindle a friendship that makes our hearts flutter, and eventually, we realise that we will know that person until we’re grey and old, because now, they make us who we are, and without them, we are not complete.

Six years ago, when I first met you on a gifted and talented induction day at what would go on to be our school, I never thought that you would be that person. You know the story, I’ve told it too many times. Quiet little Alex went home and told her mum that there was a girl who could do everything. ‘She’s so clever and she told me to play a scale and I couldn’t and she just shouted that it was easy!’ I felt so intimated by you, and look where we are now! Can you imagine now if you asked me to play a scale which I didn’t know. I’d laugh in your face. How friendship changes things, hey?

French Exchange resulted in a friendship that nobody expected, and since then, we’ve just grown closer. You were the one that taught me to have confidence and be happy in my own skin. You taught me that I was worth it no matter what I was thinking and how I felt, so to always be myself. You’ve been there for me ever since, slowly knocking down my wall, one brick at a time, and shaping me into the person that I now am. From attending your sixteenth birthday party where I knew nobody and hardly spoke all night (but your mum said she liked me because I helped to clear up and it made me feel on top of the world!), to your eighteenth when we unexpectedly partied on a Sunday night, got just a little bit drunk, and came home giggling like school kids, I’ve never forgotten a moment of laughter.

I remember when we went to see les mis together at the cinema, when you got your head stuck in the Eiffle Tower, and when we queued for hours for Matilda tickets in London. I remember when I had my first glass of wine, we danced with a teacher, and when we met my Danish friend in Denmark. I remember when we sat in the library and revised the night before a GCSE maths exam, when you stood outside a teachers room with me at the start of year 12 for hours on end, and when you collected me from a few flute lessons. I remember when we got on the tube with our big camping rucksacks and tried to eat a cupcake, when we ran around the Bristol Science Museum like a couple of eight year olds, and when you fed me jelly cubes whilst mid panic-asthma-hypoglycaemic attack on DofE. I remember when we sat in Nero’s on strike day and I told you that my grandad had died. I remember when you first told me to believe, and I remember when I said it right back at you.

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I’ve said sorry far too many times over the past few years, and whilst I’m yearning to say it again, I won’t do. Instead, I wish to say thank you. Thank you for being the most amazing friend that I could ever ask for, and for always being a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for all the fun that you’ve provided me with, the wonderful knowledge, and always being my rock. Thank you for being so beautiful, for defending me when I needed it, and for listening to me ramble about complete rubbish when I didn’t. It means more than I can ever express in words.

I know that so very often I make you angry and frustrated with my ways. I’m set in stone, and I’m sure I’ve been a hard nut to crack. At the same time though, you’ve been just as hard. You’ve angered me so much over the past year, weather that be a petty little argument or a full blown rage about your current health and welfare. We’ve never really argued though, and that’s what makes this special. We only ever get annoyed because we care about each other, and I simply want you to be as happy as possible, and I don’t want to have to worry about you. Worrying is like putting a poison dagger through my heart, and the pain is unbearable, but I’ll do it a million times over if it means a better ending for you.

Something happened at leavers which changed us both, and I’m sure that we won’t ever forget that. That night was horrific, but at the same time, I hope it’s going to be turn out to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to you. It’s going to be okay. It can’t end until it’s okay. I don’t want to watch you die, it will kill me, too. Please be sensible at university, and make every effort to look after yourself. I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere. I’m always here for you honey, and you’ll make it through this somehow.

As I watch this eating disorder consume you, and I watch how everything that has happened in your life affects you, I find myself over and over wanting to scream that IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. Often, it’s very frustrating, but at the same time, I understand there are probably many times when you want to scream it right back at me.

I got an email that said that I should be proud of myself because you wouldn’t have gotten to where you are without me. Of course you would. The person who wouldn’t have made it is me! Because I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am if you weren’t around, and for that I’m so grateful.

In the future, I want us to stay in touch. I want to be at your wedding, I want to see your children grow up. I probably shouldn’t say this now, but I want you to be the godmother to my first daughter. I want us to wander the streets arm in arm at eighty, and when the day comes, I want to speak at your funeral. I want to be here for you, always and forever. Equally importantly though, I want you to be here for me. Knowing you’re there to turn to in times of need will keep me going, and knowing that there’s times that I will you see you and we will laugh the night away will give me something to look forward to. University is going to be fabulous, but with you around to share the stories with, it’ll be a thousand times better.

And I’m going to miss you. I’m going to miss you more than I can ever put into words. It’s just never going to be the same without you here by my side to keep me sane and make everything okay. It’s not going to be the same when you’re not here to laugh with, to watch movies with, to eat ice cream with. And I know that just sounds like the average ‘goodbye’ speech, but you know it’s more than that. You know I’m not good with words. I need you in my life. And I need to be in your life. I know you’re going to university, but please don’t go any more than that. Please please, I’m begging you.

I don’t want to say goodbye. Winnie the Pooh said ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’ But saying goodbye is scary. Let’s not make it the end.

I love you to the moon and back, three times over. Big hugs. Speak soon honey.

Alex xxxx

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*

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A letter to… My Flute Teacher

To my amazing flute teacher,

Wow. What can I say? For the past four years, you’ve been teaching me flute, and I have come on leaps and bounds. Just fourty minutes a week has completely transformed me as both a flautist and a person. I’m sure you remember just as well as I do the girl that first walked into your room four years ago, desperately clutching her grade five book, silent as a mouse, and shaky. The questions you asked me, and I couldn’t even answer. It wasn’t that I didn’t know the answer as much that I had been so afraid of my previous teacher that I just couldn’t answer.

Somehow though, you drew the confidence from within me, and four years on, four solos in four flute concerts, and two grades later, I’m a changed person. Okay, I’ll admit even the latest concert was daunting, and I don’t even know how I managed to make it through the second piece of my grade seven because I was shaking uncontrollably, but four years ago, I wouldn’t have even dreamed of trying.

Someone asked me a few weeks ago to list off the things that I have achieved outside of school lessons and exams this year. Of course, being me, I wouldn’t just say what I’ve done, but when the person in question asked about music grades, I couldn’t help but break into a grin. I’m so proud of my grade seven merit, and I certainly wouldn’t have done it without you.

In many senses, you were the first adult I ever learnt to trust. You’ve always had an amazing ability to figure me out, and to do exactly the right thing in each situation. That’s meant that I feel like I really clicked with you, I look up to you, and that I can trust you. I feel like you understand me, and so this year, I have told you things that I haven’t told anyone else. You know me a lot better than many people, and I know that you know what to say and do in each situation.

You’ve been much more than a flute teacher to me this year, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Thank you, so much. I’m sure going to miss you.

Alex

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*

A letter to… My Favourite Teachers

Sir, Miss, and Miss,

It seems bizarre to write it like that. You’re not that. Teachers with nicknames… I guess it is a little odd. My parents have never understood. They always felt that it was an indication of bad teaching, a lack of control I guess you could say. A few years ago, I would never have dreamed of it. Okay, sir, I would for you, but that’s because it’s simply how you introduced yourself. The others though, no chance. Now though, I like it. And I like it in a way that I shouldn’t like it. It makes you feel more like a friend than a teacher, and I guess that’s exactly why my parents hated it so much. Even now, after everything that’s happened, to an extent, friendship through a teacher-student barrier doesn’t sit with me quite right. Don’t get my wrong, I love it, but it’s a strange and guilty kind of love.

Whilst there are many things that I could say to you individually about the impact that you have had on my life, it would take too long to thank you for all that you have done.

You should know, however, that the three of you have helped me through school. Between you, you’ve helped me to cope with a lot over the past three years, both things that you know about, and actually, some things that I haven’t told you. Knowing that your lessons were coming up allowed me to keep powering on, and desperate to please you, I kept on working. You knew how to subtly suggest how to improve, and whilst at times I have been scared of you, or disliked you, I am now happy to call you my favourites. You didn’t spread on even more pressure, you just wanted me to do well, for me.

When my grandad was ill, it was good to have people around to distract me, and to convince me that it wouldn’t affect my grades. Recently, you have helped me with dealing with emotions and talking about my best friend.

Really though, that’s not what makes you my favourite teachers. Yes, I like the friendly relationship, but you’re also solid, worthwhile teachers. Okay, perhaps one of you wasn’t exactly fantastic, but you still understood ME and how I learn as an individual. You all know me, and you don’t make me feel like ‘just another member of the class’.

You all told me that I worked hard, and so my A Level results would be okay, and while I didn’t believe you, you were right. You believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself, and that was what allowed me to do better than I could have ever dreamed. That’s why you’re such awesome teachers.

I’m going to miss you all, even just seeing you smiling in the corridor. I’m going to miss school, because the big wide world is a much scarier place.

Thank you for enabling me to get into university.

Alex

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*

A letter to… Myself in Ten Years

Hey Alex,

I hope you’re happy, well, and safe. I hope that you’ve learned to cope with the world, and I hope that you’re not lonely. I hope you’ve developed your ability to integrate, and that you learned to cope with stress. I hope that you graduated from university, and are happy. I hope that you have kept those who mean the most to you close, because you’ll need them, I’m sure. They’ll need you, too, so don’t forget that. I have so many hopes for you, Alex.

I sit here now with dreams and ambitions, and I’m afraid that I may not be able to fulfil them. You will now know the outcome of many of those dreams, and you are probably sitting and laughing at your old self. As I write now, I think I have made progress, but I’m sure that you can see that the progress I have made is small, and that in ten years, I have made much more. Only you can know that.

I told someone today, a teacher of mine, that I’m not sure that I want to grow up. She was telling me that I don’t need to worry about hat my parents say now about my grades, because I’ve worked my socks off, and that I’m not a child anymore. I told her that I wasn’t ready to be an adult, and she told me that at twenty five, she’s still getting used to it. I hope that being a grown up is okay really. I know it’ll be so so much better if you’ve learnt to understand and deal with emotions.

I hope that by now, Alex, you’re curing cancer. I hope that you are working in your dream job, and I hope that you’re still doing amazing things in the world, even if that is just being a leader in Guiding, giving blood, and sticking on the bone marrow register.

Most of all though, I hope you’ve learnt from the mistakes that I have made and will continue to make. Life is going to be fantastic, and you only get one chance, so ensure that you make the most of it.

Much love, keep smiling. Don’t worry, be happy!

Yourself, ten years younger

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*

A letter to… My Childhood Self

Dear Alex,

Growing up is scary. There’s going to be birthdays in your childhood where you’re inconsolable because you’re worried that you’ll get old and die. It’s not dying that you have to worry about though. It’s going to be a long long time before you’re old and frail and die. Being an adult is a scary world, and you will come to realise how sheltered your life is as a child.

I’d like to say well done for being such a dedicated and truthful young person. It has got you a long way in life. Sticking through Brownies even though you hate it will allow you to develop, and one day, you’ll be a leader, and you’ll love it. You’re going to go camping, you’re even going to go on an international trip, and Guiding will provide you with so many memories.

I want to tell you to have courage, especially with your flute playing. When you go to high school, you will loath and be scared of your teacher. Try and continue to enjoy it however, because one day, when you’re older, you’re going to get a teacher who is fantastic, and you’ll learn to love playing again.

Keep working hard, it’s the best way. Don’t forget to play, and have fun, but working hard at school will lead to a good outcome for you, and you will always reap the rewards, as you do now. Do not, however, work for anyone benefit other than your own. You’re going to find that hard, but with the experience that I have now, I know that holding the opinions of my parents so highly has only led me to a path of slow self destruction over the exam period.

Try to speak out a little more. Now, friendships are easy, but when you’re older, you’ll wish that you spoke more as a child, because as an adult, friendships are much harder to make. It may be easier to hide, but you will soon know that just because it’s easy, it doesn’t mean it’s helpful or right.

You’ve done well, so far, little Alex. You will continue to do well, and there really isn’t much that I’d change about you. Your confidence will come in time, and you must remember to never loose that desire to improve. That is what will shape you into the person that you are in the future. Making mistakes is okay, as long as we grow afterwards.

But don’t worry too much, dear child. As you grow older, there will come a day when you meet the people that help you to be confident, to grow, and to believe in yourself. You’ll take on challenges, you’ll jump hurdles three metres above your head, and you’ll come out of the other side a happier and better person. Use your time now to laugh, to make friends, and to have as much fun as you can. Your years as a child will be the best years of your life. Keeping smiling that beautiful smile.

Remember that it’s always okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end yet.

Much love,

Your older self

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*

A letter to… An Alien

To Mr Alien,

I see you’ve come to earth today, but you cannot speak our language. I have however, noticed that you have a machine that allows you to interpret the written word.

Earth however, is a very strange place, and I warn you not to always take things as they may seem. People are not always kind, so don’t trust too easily. There’s a risk that they will break you with their deceitful ways.

Saying that, however, I also ask you to find those humans who you can trust, and they will show you the ways of the world. When you find that one, you may not know. It may be a long time before you come to understand the behaviours of humans. Even after all my years on Earth, I do not understand them all.

Blend in, try not to be different. Unfortunately, on Earth, different often leads to discrimination. This, for many, leads to sorrowful endings.

I hope, Mr Alien, that humans can learn from you, and that you can learn from us. Explore the world, it’s a large and fantastic place, and each area differs so much from the last. You will see war, you will see hurt, you will see disaster, but look closely, and you’ll find love, peace, and friendship. The greatest leaders are those who share these values, and are often go unnoticed, and maybe you aliens can learn from those who choose to make a difference to the world.

Good luck, Mr Alien, you’re going to need it.

From, a human.

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*

A letter to… My Ranger Leader

Dear my Ranger Leader,

You’re a crazy, amazing person, who has helped to shape me over the past four years. I’ve loved coming to Rangers, and it has helped me to grow, to develop, and to be confident.

When you started as a leader, I was apprehensive. I liked you, then I didn’t like you, and now, I love you. Once we got past the slightly awkward stage, you kept me attending Rangers at a time when I came home and cried. I hated it. But the Guiding spirit within me allowed me to hold on for long enough, and just as my fingers started to loose their grip, you appeared.

For the past year, that you’ve been leading on your own, it has been amazing. I’ve made decisions, I’ve fundraised, and I’ve done things that I never would have dreamt that I’d have been capable of doing. For that, I owe you a bigger thank you than I’d ever dare to say to your face.

Not only that, but we’ve done things! From the little things in that we now don’t just eat biscuits every meeting, to the big things, like you helping me to gain my Chief Guide Award. Now, that is something that I’m proud of. I’m ambitious, and I always wanted to do these things and work towards awards like that, but I never knew that I had the support. I didn’t know that there was anyone behind me, and with your help, I’ve done it! I’m so pleased, and I cannot wait to begin the next challenge, the next award.

Now, as I (hopefully) head off to University in September, that sadly means that I have had to leave Rangers. The next leg of my Guiding journey will begin, and once more, it’s going to be big and scary. It’s okay though, because you, and many others like you, have helped me to understand that we’re all sisters in Guiding, and you just need the confidence to say ‘hello, I’m here!’ and people will take you. Volunteers are not paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.

I hope that in the future, I can be just a good a leader to my girls as you have been to me. Here’s to that future, and don’t worry, I will sure be back to visit!

Thanks again, for everything that you have done for me.

Sincerely,

Alex

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*

A letter to… My Reflection

To my reflection,

You’re an interesting one, aren’t you? Difficult to figure out. I don’t think even I have managed to completely crack the code yet, although a few have come fairly close.

Right now, I’m standing and looking at you, and this is what I’m seeing. Big, disgusting feet attached to chunky legs, in desperate need of more running and toning. I see an upper half that I’m not happy with, I’m not confident with. But in some clothes, you look awesome. I like that you can see your collar bones, and I like the colour of your eyes. Your hair is an untameable mess, that looks so much better when you straighten it. But you’ve taught yourself not to care about what others say or think, or even what you think about yourself, really.

You’re crazy. You would never admit it, but you’re crazy. Just take a look at yourself! You have all kinds of problems that you just shouldn’t have. Get with the programme, get them sorted. You’re supposed to have a brain, aren’t you? Occasionally, people even tell you your intelligent. So why have you let yourself become this monster? What happened to having fun? It’s a shame really, you’re essentially a helpless case.

Your face is a mask, built up over many years. The last few years in particular have shaped you. There are some out there who think that they can see through your mask, but they can’t really, can they? People have told you so many times that you’re ugly, stupid, unwanted… Now, you tell yourself that too. In fact, you believe that. Deep in your heart you want to undo that, and that’s why you have a need for constant reassurance. Of course, you’re too weak to do it on your own. You’re always the helpless one, aren’t you?

You’re a hard worker. You want to achieve, and you want to please. You would work until your death if it meant high achievement. Again, maybe that’s for the wrong reasons. Maybe that’s because you know you will get the positive attention from your parents that you’ve always craved. But really, that self satisfaction and pride does wonders for you. And that work ethic should hopefully help you to go a long way.

You are one to cling onto relationships. Maybe that’s because you haven’t really had enough positive ones in your life. You allow yourself to be ruled by the fear that you will loose those closest to you, and you are a selfish individual. You’re needy, and you’re never going to be independent. That’s not fair on those around you, and you’re often one to ruin experiences. Again, selfish and unfair. Often, you’re a complete waste of space.

You do however, shape the lives of others. And when someone lets you know that you’re appreciated, you feel like you’re on top of the world, and nothing else matters. You live to feel wanted, needed, and appreciated, and although it’s clear as day to everyone that you’re crap at it, you try your best. People don’t always see that you’re trying, and that hurts you. You need to learn to be more positive, and draw on the happier experiences. Too often you are dragged down by the things that have hurt you, but in doing that, you’re simply hurting yourself further.

So to you, my reflection, I give my final words of advice. Please take note of the comments of those you love, but don’t listen to those who wish to hurt you. Take a deep breath, jump off every cliff, cross your fingers, and the best will come. Try to take chances, we only live once. Don’t let the mask go, it’s good for you to keep the truth inside sometimes, but make sure you never ever loose that sense of escape.

Sincerely,

Myself

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*

A letter to… A Deceased Person

Dear Grandad,

I miss you. I miss you and I think about you every single day. I don’t believe in god, and so I don’t think I believe in heaven, but I’d like to think that you’re in a happier place now. Deep down, I’d like to know that you aren’t just rotting away under the ground. I pick stars out for you sometimes, grandad. I’ll never forget you.

I wonder what you’d think if you could see me now. It’s not even been a year since we lost you, but so much has changed. I passed my driving test, and I’ve been driving for eight months! I know that would make you happy, and you’d think all your little tips from when you were an instructor years ago were what made me pass. I cut my hair off for charity, and ran 10K. I know you’d have sponsored me, you’d have been proud. You’d have loved to have seen the photos, and you’d have ruffled my new hair and made some kind of joke. What about my A Levels, grandad? What would you say about those? I’m waiting for my results, and I’m nervous! Wouldn’t it have been cool if you could have seen me go off to uni, and I could have written to you. I passed my grade seven flute, and I’ve just finished my last tour. Yes, I can hear you now, taking the mickey, but proud all the same. I’d play my pieces for you grandad. I regret never having the courage to come to the care home and play before you died. I regret even more not playing or making a speech at your funeral.

I turned eighteen, grandad! I’m an adult now, how cool is that?! I spent a few days in London, and I had a fabulous time. I’d have loved for you to be here to celebrate, it wasn’t the same without my whole family.

You’re always here with me grandad, I wear a locket with your initials on my wrist, every single day. You were a mardy old sod sometimes, but we loved you. We still love you. And I hope that somewhere out there, you’re thinking of me, too.

Lots and lots of love,

Alex xxxx

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*