I love reading these. Especially from those that I admire & those who have grafted their own way into their dream. It feels surprisingly cathartic to do this and I encourage it. I didn’t delve into the really tough and bad times because I think it’d have a reverse effect… Yet, I still got so much out of this.
Dear Eleanor/younger me/when people called me Ellie,
First of all, don’t worry! Your failed attempts in Year 3 to get your classmates to call you by your actual name will eventually turn into a reality when your impromptu move to Sheffield happens when you turn 19. No one knows you there so from then on, you’ll be known as Elenuuh (or Eleanooor when you get to drama school ((I know!! You get to go!!)) )
One of the coolest things to happen is that Nickelodeon base a whole show on you! They call it Dora The Explorer! Okay. That’s a lie. Basically your huge cheeks never decrease in size so you’ll forever look like a cartoon and you’ll still get I.D’d even though your younger sisters don’t. Soz.
Hey, don’t get upset at those kids in year 4! Let them mock the size of your lips because in ten years time they’ll be tragically drawing them on.
Sure, being a ‘floater’ at school may have it’s cons (“who shall I eat lunch with today” or “I want to hang out with A and B but C, D and E don’t like A and B”) but it will stand you in good stead as you’ll find it easy to make friends and you won’t rely on anyone else but yourself.
Know that all of the crap you and your family go through is a blessing in disguise as you’ll learn lessons and gain strength that only hardship can gift you. Your sense of gratitude will become one of your fave traits and you’ll realize that happiness is something you have control over and no one can change that.
Some Teachers at your Sixth Form will try and convince you that “there’s no point in drama school” because “everyone wants to be an actor” but sod them cause after a few gap years trying to earn a living and a pretty successful Edinburgh Fringe show … you go to drama school! You actually get to train as a professional actor…. I KNOW?! It’s the best 3 years EVER and that’s where you’ll unleash your inner nerd and flourish. A word of advice though – don’t get so worked up about the fact that some people think you’re a middle class actor just cause you don’t have a Northern accent. There’s just a bit of a thing where you’re automatically seen as really privileged if you’ve got a neutral accent? Maybe take some pictures of the places you’ve lived so when you get annoyed, you can show people that you’re a working class actor too. ” A council estate? In STRATFORD UPON AVON?! What?!” teehee
You’ll become a ‘grandma’ at 20 as you spend all of your teenage years on some bands guest list or being in some cramped green room. You’ll often skip school to hang out with bands but it’s okay cause you’re a school prefect so teachers don’t suspect anything.
You’ll look back at those friends whom you don’t often speak to (or never speak to…) and your heart will still be full of love for them. You’ll still think of them and you’ll still want the absolute best for them.
Importantly, one day you’ll stop caring what people think about you and instead, you’ll focus that energy on achieving your own goals.
You’ll meet someone at drama school who you will call your sister. She has been through much of the sh*t that you have and you’ll finally meet someone who understands. You’ll both support each other and both plan to change the world (and eat a lot of chocolate at the same time). You’ll also meet a lot of other crazy, amazing people at drama school. You’ll finally feel like you fit in because as it turns out, all other actors are complete weirdos too.
Know that you don’t have to help everyone. You’re only responsible for yourself right now and if helping others all the time becomes detrimental to yourself and your mental health then it is okay to take a step back. Just because you’ve helped and given your time and advice and whatever else – it doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically receive gratitude.
On the flip side, you need to know that it’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t weaken you, in fact it makes you stronger because you accept that there’s something wrong and you want to fix it.
Oh and don’t worry about the cellulite cause the man you want to spend the rest of your life with doesn’t even know what cellulite is and is more impressed with how yoga and cheesecake makes your bum bigger. He’s also your best friend and is even more of a weirdo than you are (so you can be safe in the knowledge that he won’t dump you for being a bit of a loon – like that kid did when we were in Year 8)… SCORE!
Keep on dreaming, keep on grafting & keep on following the golden rule. You’ve got an amazing family & an equally amazing group of people in your life and most, if not all of them bring you lots of cake and madras. xxxx
Now I want to read YOURS!