22 June 2020, with some edits in December 2021. A while ago someone suggested I write a letter to my younger self. I couldn’t think what I would possibly want to say. But today, cuddling my big Appaloosa, Indigo, I thought at least I should tell younger-me that she does finally get a horse.
I hope you get this when you’re around 12 or so. Just before the shit starts hitting the fan.
First and foremost. You suffer from anxiety. Your whole family does. You have a genetic predisposition to it so you’re not going to be able to exercise/meditate/drink your way out of it. The family will deny this and will never seek help and will take it out on you – it’s not your fault – please listen to me! and professionals probably won’t listen to you (yet), but try to find someone to prescribe you a low dose of chronic medication. Find a psychologist you like (and no, dominees don’t count. On that note, you figure out that religion is a scam around 18 but if I can save you some time with all that, yay.) Get ways to look after your mental well-being; you will save yourself a lot of admin, lost time and bad memories. Don’t do the Roacutane for your skin; it doesn’t help and messes with your hormones. The hormones are pretty wild anyway so as soon as you can, get a Mirena – NOT the copper coil, that makes you haemorrhage. Insist on the Mirena. Apparently you can demand getting sterilised as a constitutional right. They never listened to me but maybe this vision from the future makes you fight harder.
At the same time, the world has indeed gone to shit. Totally fucked. So the things you worried about were worth it. You have good ideas. Pursue them. Nevermind if people call you only a dreamer. NB: DON’T listen to your dad and DO invest time, effort and money into solar power. (Actually just stop listening to your dad altogether. I don’t want to stress you out but maybe just … leave home.)
Don’t be so bloody conscientious. You don’t need a 100% school attendance record, nobody cares about that. You’ll probably do all your homework as well as the extra examples anyway, but know that I told you it’s not needed. Do other stuff instead. Microprocessors are pretty cool. The biotech thing you’re so keen on is cool but needs a DIY approach because it’s too expensive. So get cracking on that. Coding is also cool. I don’t think you’ll love it but get some basic skills. You’ll save your future self (aka me) some frustration.
OH YA. On that. People will keep telling you the whole bloody time to focus. Don’t listen to them. Your mind doesn’t work that way. You will focus at times and you will be great at it. When you need to. But mostly, that’s not what you’re best at. So screw ’em. Your most special thing is the connections you make between wildly different things and that is beautiful. Maybe take some social science subjects in varsity. I dunno,I’m in two minds about it, but check it out. Doing aaaalll your extra credits in science seems a bit short-sighted, in retrospect.
You maintain a life-long obsession with horses. Don’t worry about it, you will get some someday. Maybe try ride and train earlier – not all horsey people are dicks. Oh ya, the miniature horses get to look a whole lot nicer – you’ll get a few of them too and they are impossibly cute.
No big deal if you don’t yet, but check out chickens, they’re totes amazing.
The varieties of guinea pigs get even more amazing, I can’t wait for you to see them!
Hold on to your passion for growing and building things. I know your parents keep trashing your stuff, but keep going. Maybe go find somewhere else to grow and build more safely (and don’t worry, they’ll come around. … Well, sort of).
Don’t spend the money on the Apple stuff. (Although if you get in early and invest you can earn stuff. I don’t know if you/me ever really sort out this aversion to all things money though, lol). Look at the open source things instead – Ubuntu, Linux, Debian, and so on. Right now I’m playing with Blender and QGIS, you’ll love it.
People will keep telling you you don’t know what you know. They’re weird like that. Like that time the dentist told (or will tell) you that your adult incisor tooth did in fact come out, it’s just the root that is so prominent, when you know the bump is the damn tooth. Push for x-rays; it will save you wearing braces in matric and varsity. Sometimes don’t bother convincing them, just go ahead and do your thing.
Read up about Apartheid. Your high school didn’t (just) let black students in because they needed to boost numbers. It’s embarrassing to grow up ignorant about this.
But overall, you’re fine. In all your weirdness, you are absolutely good enough. You’re better than good enough, you’re fabulous. Trust me. You. Trust you.
P.S. I don’t think you ever get into wearing shoes 😉 Funky dresses though ..,. oh yes.