I write this after coming across a post on Facebook by Carly Findlay titled, "To my Unborn Daughter". I've decided to write a letter to my future self because well, I don't want to dwell on my possible lack of longevity, I'd prefer to look forward and pray to God that I will live as long as I allow myself to. Does that sound odd?! Heaven only knows! Imagine I'm much older, for dramatic effect! This may be a bit confuzzling, but it's my way of taking to my future self. Take heed.
I am your younger 22 year old self and hell, I've got the time, so I might as well jump straight in. Firstly, congratulations on reaching 35. For someone who wasn't supposed to live for long, you've certainly managed to excel yourself. You've proved doctors wrong with your stubborn attitude, you've got a good life and I hope, you're happy. I want to explain to you a few concerns and my reasonings.
I'm consciously choosing not to have biological children, despite the advertisement of big boobs and lookalikes. I am aware that people with ichthyosis have got biological kids and I applaud them. But it's not for me. My body already works a gazillion times faster than the average person and to throw a child into the mix would be overkill. I am a relatively healthy and fit person now, but I credit that to all the activity I do. I already get tired from just an average day, imagine that with a pregnancy. Plus, do I really want to risk passing the Harlequin gene onto my child? Would that be fair for them? To have to suffer? No, I, along with my medical team have worked hard to get me where I am today and I would like to keep it that way. I won't rule out adoption though, I come from a family where adoption is kind of de riguer so I suppose it will happen and any man I choose to marry may just have to accept that biological kids are out, and adoptions are in.
Secondly, be more open with yourself, be gracious in receiving others, be confident in yourself and know that with pitfalls, people will have your back, mostly. Go out there, you didn't survive this long to be a sad lonely tosser. Know that when bad things happen, it's okay to cry, it's okay to rant, because you're human. Know that just because you're already a strong person, doesn't mean you have to be the strong person all the time, it's okay to let your guard down sometimes. And learn to laugh naturally, don't force it.
Boys and men. Huh. It's either gonna happen or it won't. Don't push it too hard. You're going to find mr Right one day. You don't need Tinder and you don't need OKCupid. "Nuff said.
I hope that by the time you read this, there will be more research into the Harlequin gene, though I can't imagine that happening just yet. I can however, imagine more creams, more steroids, but also less of it. Don't pump your body with unnecessary things, you'll be immune to it soon enough and that would suck.
I hope people will become more tolerant of you and those with visible differences. It's a tough world out there. I hope the public will be more tolerant of us and won't have the audacity to throw around random bits of abuse at people they deem to be different. Remember, if people hurt you because of being you, know that it's not your fault and you should never blame yourself, it is their problem and not yours.
I hope that by the time you read this, you'll be doing what you love and if it's anything like 13 years earlier, you'll be refereeing some damn good rugby, and hopefully setting the stage overseas. Be prepared to seek guidance, be prepared to fail, be prepared to whip out the cards once in a while. Listen to your coaches, don't be complacent, you don't know it all and you need to learn as you go along. You should at least be at ARFU or World Rugby level by now but if not, get to it!
I've said a lot and I hope it resonates when you read this later on.
Remember, eat, smile, laugh, look after yourself and enjoy life, you've made it this far, so don't bloody stop now!