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Last year we shared the most amazing letter from Miss J. It really blew our socks off. Well, shes been back in touch, and she’s doing amazing. So here she is with an update….

Dear Shona,

It’s me again! I should be more specific, given that you probably just stole a hasty glance at my email. It’s XXX again, though I’m anonymous on your website. Basically I’m that girl who wrote the Pretentious Letter thing (I’m bad at titles) that was like the size of a small novel (I swear this won’t be as long)  and I’m sorry you had to read all that aaagh but thank you! I checked on it recently and over 700 people have read it. That’s the size of my SCHOOL. It’s not the number of views that really made me feel happy, it was just that you 700 are actual people. You’re actual real life people who read my story and that to me is incredible, so thank youuuuu 😀 (For all the advice you sent in response to my last email too, I really appreciated it.)

I wrote last February about the last three years of my life and my sorta inner battle with anxiety and my sexuality, but then I started to get tired. Trust me, I’ve learned harsh lessons and benefited from those three years but I was recounting the same story over and over to myself and eventually I said – what comes next? So naturally I started thinking about my future. Lots has changed for me now. So this is where I am at the mo.

I’ve started regular appointments with my therapist again as my anxiety has started to swallow me again, and I’m finding being social much much harder because I’ve been far more honest than I’d usually be.

You see, I came out as gay last month, and this was not only to my entire family (and now every random distant relative I’ve never met knows) but my friends, school, and myself. I hid behind the idea of ‘bisexuality’ because I accepted the idea of others being gay that I refused it for myself. It felt like it was tying me to a label that I would never be able to get of, basically ‘I’m gay and now I can’t change my mind!’ But identifying as bi wasn’t me. I’m right now still finding it very, very, hard to accept that I am gay, which is mainly ol’ Anxiety’s fault, but I know that this is really how I identify as. I’ve spent my whole ‘Sexuality Experience’ (sounds raaaad but mostly saaaad) telling myself that ‘I can’t, I can’t, nONoNo’. You can’t pretend to be something just in case it changes sometime in the future. My English teacher gave me some wise (unrelated, but still) words: Change Is Inevitable, and Time Is Transient. (like my use of capitalising the quotes because I’m totally not drowning in junior cert poetry themes aha) Basically, phases are a part of life, and you’ve got to let them happen. I couldn’t pretend I was bisexual just in the off chance I marry a guy in like 10 years. Life’s honestly too short to pretend. I might write again to go into more depth about this because I think it really needs to be discussed more and also this is too long already lol.

Those girls I cut from my life haven’t attempted to come back into it, and it’s now been like 7/8 months? I’m not even sure. It took me a while to stop counting but I did. Part of me is still angry because I never got closure, but if I never do then it won’t matter too much because I made the right choice. Every now and then I remember something they said to me and I think ‘how did I allow them to say that?’ Summer will be difficult, but perhaps less difficult as I won’t have to worry if they’ll still want to associate with me tomorrow.

I have a girlfriend. Yup, that actually happened. At first I was fairly terrified OF my girlfriend, which sounds ridiculous, but when you’ve had absolutely NO experience at all and neither has she, it is the most awkward and stomach wrenching thing ever. There’s doubt, saying ‘you’re not gay, you don’t like her, she feels sorry for you, you’re not genuine’ and then there’s who she truly is. She’s the kind of person who calls you everyday to see if you and Anxiety are ok. She’s the kind of person who tells me she loves my literal hobbit hair and pats it. (which is hard given I’m now the size of a small tree) She’s the kind of person you want to talk to for hours and hours for no reason at all, and even if you both fall asleep in Home Ec the next day it was worth it. So we’ve got this awkward thing about touching where I always miss when I’m trying to hold her hand so we sorta do like ET and I can’t reciprocate her hugs very well just yet. But then she also makes me feel like fizzy cola bottles and somehow I make her feel nice too, so we figure stuff out. Our ‘romance’ consists of our friends pushing us together in conveniently small corridors and laughing over pig teddies but in the end it’s ok because we’re utter messes that somehow got together despite our horoscopes.

But the reason I wrote is because I was thinking about my future, as in what I want to do. I always had a plan for what I wanted to do with my life, and then suddenly it didn’t fit. Nothing fit. Not even my appearance fit anymore because I wasn’t 12. My story was just a part of me now, and I wasn’t letting myself move on. And so I did, but it took a while. I redid my entire bedroom and tossed most of my clothes out and replaced them with ones for my ‘neutral’ days and ‘feminine’ days, and just things that I can be comfortable in. I went and had all my hair cut off into a pixie cut and honestly that was THE BEST decision I’ve ever made. (If you are lazy, or bored, get a pixie cut at least once in your life. It’s liberating, my dude.) I stopped wearing much makeup, which wasn’t cuz I had ever been insecure, but I feel more confident without it. Some days I wear it, some days I don’t. Phases. They’re everywhere, my dude. And also appreciation for sports bras? (I don’t sport, but seriously why did I ever wear anything else)

Once my appearance wasn’t ‘I am 12 and also I wear shorts with rainbow leggings and blue lipstick’ anymore I decided to think about what I wanted to do for work experience next year. You don’t need to know what you want to do in life at my age, but it’s nice to have some ideas. And I had zero. Zilch. Nada. I assumed I’d become a teacher as that’s ‘practical and safe’ but I’m not so sure I’d be happy there. I wanted to be a voice for people who related to me, because there is nothing that helps a person more than knowing that they are not the exception to the rule, and they are not gross/weird/going insane . I want to normalise all these thoughts and feelings and experiences because Wikihow can only take y’all so far! Then it sorta hit me in the middle of a mental breakdown at a therapy meeting when my mom was like ‘ah yes she’s going to be a teacher’ and me, in tears and shouting, said ‘nO I wANt tO WRITE.’ And then a few hours later it registered what I’d said and then, ‘oh. Yeah, that sounds pretty good.’

I want to write. I always have. I want to relate to anyone, I want to tell my stories, I want to hear others, I want people to read my work because as someone said ‘if you fall in love with my writing, you fall in love with my mind.’ I can actually make people feel with my writing. People ask me to continue short paragraphs of stories I do for homework. I’ve filled 6 journals with my raw, uncensored feeling and I actually think that it could benefit someone. I’m hoping to get some work experience in Waterstones (the best bookshop everrrr) or at some small publishing place or a local magazine place. These are all little hopes, obviously, but I reckon the worst they can say is no.

So I’m trying to put myself out there as I am now and not worry about how much things will or won’t have changed in a year or ten years. Right now this is me. Right now I’m just reading as much as I can – poetry, people’s stories on here or other places online, young adult novels, books about art, history books, Romeo and Juliet theories. Just everything! (and pretending I’m not drowning in stress over junior cert lol I’ll get back to you on that when it’s  over)  I’ve finished a short story and I’m on the lookout for some writing competitions or ideas. I’m also thinking of starting a blog or joining some online thing that just does what you guys do here, share stories. I’m literally just trying to put myself out there. (So if you have any advice on things I could do I’d be open to suggestions)

I’m just fascinated by people and the stories that they never tell you about. In History you get the facts and the events, but it’s the first hand accounts and backgrounds I’m so interested in. The theme of universality (that every human experiences the same emotions, even the same as someone who lived centuries ago) is just really interesting to me. And I want to capture that, in writing, and so reading and writing and English class allows me to do that. I’m rambling again, and this is too long. I’ll stop now!

It’s always a pleasure to write to you guys on here, and to see all your posts and other people’s experiences. As always, thanks for giving me the outlet. Maybe someday I’ll learn to summarise! Keep doing what you’re doing, and I hope all continues to go well for you!


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