If you are on my Instagram you’ll have seen that this month I celebrated my 30th birthday. I thought what better way to reflect on my condition than to write a letter to myself… a la Victoria Beckham. So, here’s what I wish I could tell my 18 y o self:
Hey Lauren or L as you’ll be known,
I’m going to try to keep this short, leave out the lessons you’ll learn. You need to make those mistakes on your own! BUT… If there’s 1 thing I could say to you, it’s this. You’re life isn’t going to turn out like you thought it would. You go through the normalities… graduate with a degree in English Literature, you then work in Housing Benefits and a PRU before graduating with a PGCE in Secondary English Education. You don’t have an easy ride though. Although you aren’t going to be married owning a house and kids at 30… You will meet the love for the rest of your life at 28. By 30, you’re planning your life abroad, together. You’ll never guess, but you’ll be a relatively successful blogger in the Lymphoedema community… practically a household name. The best part is that you’ll have made the most amazing friends who have the condition too.
In terms of your Lymphoedema, it’ll fluctuate. It will be larger than you’ll ever expect. This will be because you got lost in the system and will be left without garments. BUT, you’ll eventually get a referral to a clinic in Newport where you’ll receive Multi Layer Bandaging. It’s here you’ll meet the professionals who change your life, attitude and leg. They are fab, they become like friends where you swap details of each other’s lives at each appointment. This will mark the start of your confidence. You start a trend of cutting 1 leg off your jeans for bandaging. It will be the start of you wearing dresses and heels for nights out instead of knee high boots. You’ll give up your palazzos and give up caring what people think of you. Your leg will eventually stabilise after a lot of hard work. And you stop noticing the stares as much.
You go on holiday to Costa Adeje and take a photo of yourself in a bikini. This photo will go viral around the LE community of Facebook. You’ll be called inspirational and will trigger confidence in others. Your life completely changes over the last few years of your 20s- you finally take pole lessons and become rather good, you train in SHORTS at the gym, you drive an Audi TT convertible, have hand luggage always packed, a purse with 3 different currencies, a constant tan (real, not St Tropez) AND you go Brunette!! You change so much. So much so, you bump into your bullies and they don’t recognise you.
By 30, you are so resilient and proud of yourself, you should be!
You are a jetsetter… every school holiday sees you jet somewhere exotic- Dubai, Bahrain, Bali, Singapore, Paris… at one point you visit 7 new countries in a year. The places you travel are a little different to Ibiza and Magaluf with the girls. You eat at the most amazing restaurants- for Valentines Day your boyfriend books the Tasting Menu at Ossiano at the Atlantis in Dubai! Yep, you have so much to thank him for. He is amazing. You are so lucky!
I’m sure you’re dying to know what you do for your 30th!? Put it this way, it’s so much better than your 18th! You wake up to huge, bright pink 30 balloons and banners through your kitchen. You have a Tasting Menu booked at Moksh, you have a Patisserie Valerie cake. Your gifts are insane- a Mulberry double Bayswater, tickets to see Lady Gaga in Zurich, a holiday to Mexico, an Olympus PEN camera… to list a few.
Seriously, don’t sweat the small stuff. Your life turns out amazing. Better than you had EVER imagined! Just let all the rubbish that occurs never dull your sparkle or your hope.
Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017