Woman, have you come a long way. I look at you smoking your second cigarette of the day, hair in a bun, spot cream on your face, in a tatty shirt, afraid of the silence. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re not here to discredit your progress.

Would you say I’m in denial if I told you that you have not disappointed me in awhile? I mean, were there things I wish you had done differently (like, maybe, not get Depression at 18 years old?) — sure, but they’re all a part of you. Have you seen yourself lately? In the middle of a pandemic, spending all this time in your own company, AND NOT ALLOWING YOURSELF TO SPIRAL DOWN BACK INTO THE DARK PLACE YOU THOUGHT WAS YOUR HOME FOR YEARS? THAT’S … MAJOR. If you could only see the way I would clap at you when I’d see you listen to your body, to take all the time you need when you do find yourself in a rut, because we’re entitled to feeling those feelings. You’re no longer fighting it, you’re no longer stressing yourself to figure it out, to feel ashamed or rush to get back up. You understand your emotions now, even when you don’t.

I’m so sorry you felt the need to do the things you did in the past to get the pain out of your system. I’m so sorry someone who means so much to you had to see you in that state, to make them worry that way in one point. I guess that was your wake-up call, wasn’t it : seated across him during lunch as you deleted those tweets that ruined his day. I know you don’t want him to feel responsible for something so major to you (in the sense that he made you want to not only feel, but BE better), and all it took was that look in his face that said everything he couldn’t put into words. You knew you had to help yourself. And you did.

I’m really … proud of you. You’ve stood your ground when people in your family tried to manipulate you into feeling bad for living your life the way you wanted, as an Adult … in your 30s. I’m proud of you for trying to heal the parts of yourself they never fully apologised to your face for, all those times you were beaten and slapped as a child, all the way to your teenage years — you didn’t deserve that. You didn’t deserve to be hit on the face repeatedly for getting your homework in Math wrong. You didn’t deserve to see your Mother get hit in front of you, to have her lock you both up in your Room just so you don’t get a beating, to hear her wailing behind a locked door, your Grandparents outside, not doing a single thing to help her … you have to forgive yourself for not being able to do anything about it, Abbie. You were 6 years old.

You’re really lucky to have been able to spend that time with your Mom, the way you did. I know it was only 23 years of your life when it could have been 60, or 70. If there’s anyone who understands the person that you are, it would be her. You know she’s still here, anyway. You have siblings, you have an Aunt who looks and talks just like her and is around to call you “Silly Billy” when you’re being your weird self, even if it’s just through WhatsApp.

There’s so much love inside of you that I know you just want to give. You’ve heard this a lot when you stepped into adolescence : pour all that love in. Which I know does not make sense, considering it’s all in there — but trust me, it does. When you got your heart broken in 2008, one of your mentors sent you an e-mail (she was partially responsible for your Seventeen career), saying, “When Mia and I saw you at the Audition, I wrote a note to her during your interview, saying, “She has a lot of light inside her” — do not let anyone ever dim your light“.

(You have a gift for noticing that light on other people, too. You’re barely ever wrong about that. You have a pretty good judgment when it comes to others, you’re a natural, heh.)

I’m glad you can feel and see how loved you are, and how blessed you are that you have a solid handful of people around you who are there for you. You brush the devil aside when it says “you’re alone, you poor thing” — you now know you truly aren’t.

If you have days where you feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, remember to look within. How can you doubt what’s ahead of you when you have been gifted moments like these?

And the best part is — your most favourite, most precious moments aren’t even in this video.

Chin up, Abbie. The best is yet to come. You’ll see.