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“Dear Mandy, you will experience joy”: A Girl’s Letter To Her Former Self

Dear Mandy,

The worst has just happened. You are facing the unimaginable, the unthinkable. Your mother has lost the battle against cancer. No longer can you talk to your number one confidante and best friend. She will never be able to watch you graduate from law school, as you always imagined. For the first time, when you board the plane to return to the United Kingdom at the end of the summer, you will not be able to say goodbye to her.

Except that you probably won’t board the plane at the end of the summer, will you? You are the only child, and now it's just you and your father. It only feels fitting, it only feels right, that you stay with him and provide emotional support. You have decided that you are going to take a gap year. You just needed the gap year to sort out your thoughts.

Little did you know and never did you expect that processing all of your thoughts would be so hard. Wait a minute, did you grieve over the fact that your mother was even diagnosed with cancer in the first place? What did you do when you found out from a third party that your mother hid her true medical diagnosis from you? Did your parents even know how you felt? Did they even bother with what you thought and what you were going through?


 

You brushed all your innermost thoughts aside and were gaslighted, over and over again, by your extended relatives, whom you tried so hard to believe had good intentions, even though you knew in your heart that they had hidden agendas. However, you were too afraid to explore the truth on your own. It was no better that the only parent you were left with was completely emotionally detached and continued to embitter you, regardless of the pain and struggle you were going through.

The thing about your life, Mandy, is this: It has been fraught with trauma, extreme anxiety, and tremendous stress. You just did not realise this. You were conditioned from a very young age and had to take up numerous responsibilities that were never yours to bear in the first place. Religious beliefs that your family held were inconsistent with their behaviour, leading to the confusion and misconceptions you now have toward the Christian God. You are hoping that during your gap year, you would be able to resolve these misunderstandings and experience a real and authentic relationship with this God.

It is hard. More than hard. Heart-wrenching. Tormenting, in fact.


                 


I’m not going to lie or sugar-coat it––the year ahead will bring some dark times. But know that these experiences will grow you in empathy, compassion, and understanding. They will help you realise that there is more to life than law, especially the people who will walk with you along the way and touch your heart with genuine sincerity. They will be people whom you will treasure, cherish, care for and love deeply. With more conviction and passion, your words will be able to truly touch the hearts of your readers.

But how will you experience breakthrough and come to these realisations?

Counselling.

Through counselling, you will realise how toxic it was for you to be a people-pleaser for the past 26 years of your life. You will see that it is okay to not be okay, and that setting up emotional boundaries is essential in life.

You will come to accept that self-care and self-compassion is vital, and that it is alright to be your own person. Counselling will also enable you to deal with future challenges. You will embrace your true identity, own your voice, and express your views appropriately.


Through sheer dedication, hard work, and most importantly, through a newfound, spiritually vibrant relationship with God, you will experience joy and inner healing in many areas of your life, which you never envisioned to be possible.


That is a glimpse of “Mandy 2.0”.

I know that your past may seem shocking and overwhelming right now. But your story will hold power in time to come, for you who tell it, and for those who will read it.

Take heart, Mandy, for life is truly an adventure to live! Go ahead with confidence, valour and hope! As you persist through the challenges ahead––as the pieces of your life unravel––you will discover the ability to frame them positively and regulate your emotions healthily. Most importantly, your most genuine self will shine forth!

Much love,
A happy Mandy

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