I’ve been meaning to do a “Dear younger me” post for a while like I’ve seen going around Instagram from @childmindinsitute for some time now but for one, I’m not a celebrity and two, I’m not great at videos nor do I have much attention span to watch them in the first place. Still, I’ve learned a lot at some pretty steep prices and I’ve often thought, Wow I wish it hadn’t taken so long for me to get that through my head. But when it came to facing my angry younger self I suddenly balked and could think of nothing to say. Or maybe it was that I knew my younger self wouldn’t listen.
But I thought long and hard about the things she struggled with, and while I knew throwing some wise words around would get nothing but a torrent of swearing in return, I found one commonality between the then and the now I felt was a sure connection; an in.
It’s me, or you, from the future. Not the far, far future but, well. Spoilers. And I remember being you and all the things you struggled with and I’m here to tell you it does get easier and it is worth sticking around for. Some things you’re just going to have to go through to make me possible, but I’m going to let you in on something you didn’t figure out until just recently and if you’d have noticed it years ago, things would have been a lot more tolerable. You would have been a lot more tolerable to live inside of.
Remember this lady?
This is Peachy- your Peachy that you got with the My Little Pony Pretty Parlour playset in 1984. Remember all those My Little Ponies you had? You loved those things. Well here’s a spoiler I’ll give you: eventually My Little Ponies become collector’s items for grown men and women and you start collecting a ton, like a ton more than you ever had as a kid. But Peachy is the only original that makes it through with you to adulthood.
That’s funny, isn’t it? Because you never really liked Peachy. She isn’t very special, is she? I mean, she doesn’t have wings or a magic horn; she doesn’t change colour or have rainbow hair or any glitter. She never got played with very much at all once you started getting “special” ponies. But when you started collecting ponies again and you loaded up on all those fancy versions, you found you couldn’t get rid of her. And you realized what was actually so special about Peachy.
Take a good look at her and I hope you’ll see what I saw one day when weeding out ponies to re-sell (yeah, it’s a thing these days!). She’s a bit short, a bit round, sturdy and content. Who else fits that description? Well, you minus the content. And try not to take that as a negative observation because I know your eating disorder will have a field day with that one.
Unicorns and Pegasuses and sparkly horses are fun and glamourous but they’re not real. Ponies are real. Ponies are a bit short and a bit round and very sturdy and that’s how they are made. No-one says to a pony, “If you just exercised a few more hours your legs would stretch and you’d be a thoroughbred.” No-one says to a pony, “If you watched your grass intake you could grow some wings and fly off.” Of course not. A pony is a pony. Nothing it does will ever make it not a pony.
The same goes for people. We’re shaped the way our own kind is shaped. We carry the shapes and physical features of the people in our families who came before us. We may lose some weight or cut our hair or get a tattoo but nothing we do to ourselves will ever make us not ourselves.
So, what I want you to remember when you’re looking at other people and feeling like they’re shaped better or they look prettier or just that you’re all wrong in every inch of your skin is that it’s ok to be a pony. If you don’t expect yourself to be something other than yourself, others won’t either. Because nobody says to a pony, “Stop being a pony and try something else.” They take is as fact that a pony is a pony and doesn’t need to be anything else. And when you’re comfortable being a pony, you won’t be so weak against the words of your eating disorder that will lie to you and tell you that you are trapped in a pony’s body when the world is full of unicorns and until you become a unicorn you will be worthless. When you get to that stage you will be able to say back to it, “Of course I will not be a unicorn, I am a pony. I don’t even want to be a unicorn, because I am already a pony, and I am the only pony just like me.”
Certainly so. Ponies are it.”