Recently I received an email from another chronic illness warrior Nay who had heard about what we do here at skindeeply. Nay suffers from the autoimmune disease Lupus. She explained how she was a literature teacher back in Brazil so self expression and writing in her own language was her forté but she has found it difficult to properly express herself through English which has impacted her self-esteem. As we emailed back and forth she told me about a letter she wrote to her younger self which was published on a Brazilian blog. Nay had previously translated her article from Portuguese for an English class which I then provided simple editing to for a beautifully written and heartfelt piece which you can have a read of below.
Letter to me: If you could give any advice to you as a teenager, what would you say?
Dear 15 year old me,
I would like to start off by saying these two things: wear more sunscreen and keep on doing what you are doing, our future is beautiful!
In our future we will develop an autoimmune disease, Lupus, and in our case the sun is our
biggest enemy. We will get some marks along our body and face. We will be insecure time and time again and ask ourself questions like “how can someone love us?”. For quite some time we will wake up before a date and apply makeup to hide the little spots on our face.
But take it easy, there will come a time that you will insist on going on a first date without makeup so he can know immediately who you are and you won’t prolong hiding those insecurities for another second.
You are beautiful at age 34 and that is not even your best quality, you cook very well too and you do this to take care of your friends, it will be your special way to say that you love them the most. You will leave home at age 15.
Adry is the person who will be there for you most of time, you guys will live together in a very special house. You will laugh many times and cry other times, share relationship problems, dreams and disappointments. He will be your family so please, be patient with him and remember that you are not always right.
You will be fine.
So many others friends will come along to stay in your life and they will be in part
responsible for the person you’re beginning to build. Ah! accept Pris' invitation to go to the cinema, after the first "yes" you will never know how to say "no" and it will be so good (I have so many names for you).
You will meet Lázaro at work and you’ll live together many times in various places. One day you will be walking the streets of London like home. We did everything that we wanted to do, we had no regrets. And pay attention to this, he will leave us sooner than you can imagine.
I’m sorry but I need to say he won’t stay in our life for long, or in this world. Your last
words to him will be “we’re family, love you”.
I can only conclude that you are special, this can be proven by how many good people you have beside you.
Relationships for us will be a disaster for a while. I won’t say names but you’ll have a relationship in which you will fall in love quickly and it will end badly. You will have too much pain and you’ll need leave everything behind you: the house, the job, our family and friends. I wish I could be there to help you handle these dark times, I need you be strong because this suffering will be fundamental in assisting you to winning the world.
You will suffer but you will develop the ability to transform pain into a trampoline (which is something that I love about us) you won’t allow yourself to suffer for too long and will use the pain as a pretext to get to know the world and then you’ll meet many interesting people.
I promise everything will be fine.
I’m writing this now after we have travelled to more than 15 countries. Besides being a Master of Literature, we now speak Spanish, English (and we are just starting to learn Hebrew and Italian).
We will be so happy but we will have to go through these bad moments.
If you allow me to bestow one more piece of advice I would say to share a little more of how you feel, We have good people around us that love us.
At this point we also miss our old friends very much.
I'll finish this letter by telling you a little about where we are at now:
We are now in London and we have big plans! In only two years we have already learned 2 new languages and are studying 2 more, you’ve been in more countries than you can count on your fingers. Nepal, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar are your wish. Brazil? we’ll start planning our next trip. We also want learn to swim, drive and play the ukulele. At 34 we still have so much time.
We were hospitalized for 7 days and it was very serious. For sure you’ll think back and miss the time that you were only suffering for a guy. But again, you’ll be better than before. Shit happens all the time and it happens to everybody but we’re survivors, don’t forget that.
We needed to go too far from ourself and then re-create ourself and then have an honest meeting with ourself; Life doesn’t workout like we planned and it plays with us all the time.
Please remember that you are so strong and brave, you’ll have a beautiful adolescence and I thank you for your courage, everything that I am and what I am most proud of about us I owe to you and your ability to challenge the world.
I admire you so much and I am fucking grateful.
With love, Nay.
I would like to give the lovely Nay a huge thank you for sharing her story here on skindeeply, it was a pleasure to craft this post with you and to everyone reading I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Feel free to give it a share, sharing our stories unites us.
If you suffer from a chronic illness or condition and would like to share your story here don't hesitate to get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) on my instagram (@marzi_murphy) or through the contact page right here on the site.