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Sarah Hollebon's Extract "A Note To My Teenage Self" for "The Body Hoax"

Trigger Warning: This post talks about mental health issues relating to self harming. 

Self Harm Awareness Day took place on 1st March and I would like to share with you an extract I had the privilege of writing for Emi Howe’s Book “The Body Hoax: How To Stop Believing in Fantasy Bodies” which is all about body image, body acceptance and the complex relationship we all have with our own bodies.

My extract I wrote was “A Note To My Teenage Self”.

As a young person I often felt alone and invalidated. I was bullied by toxic people close to me for years. Age 14, I found comfort and escapism in certain behaviours that were unfortunately self-destructive, one of them being self-harming.

This quickly became an addiction I would continue for 4 years. It was my way of coping with the deep emotional pain. The self-harming really negatively affected the relationship I had with my body. I felt shame and embarrassment often when I would look at myself in the mirror. But because it was an addiction I couldn’t stop. Instead I felt like my mind and body became disconnected.

I went into therapy for self-harming which helped me acquire some tools I still use to this day. In addition to this, part of my healing, which is an ongoing journey, is creating beautiful and meaningful garments. The tactile nature of using cloth and a sewing needle is one of the most cathartic experiences for me. It is a way for me to express and release the build-up of thoughts, emotions, and feelings I experience on a daily basis. Replacing self-harming with creativity and fashion, has been the most beneficial tool for coping with my mental ill health.

Today, I no longer self-harm, nor do I feel shame and embarrassed from it. "My scars are mapped around my body. A map of my journey through life so far. I am no longer ashamed of my scars. I was involved in a mental war between me, myself, and I. They serve as both a reminder of the dark days I conquered and, with the right tools and support in place, the future days I will carry on to conquer."


·        I am curious to know if you have ever written a note to ‘your younger self’? If you have, drop it in the comments and let me know how it felt writing it. Was it helpful for you? 


·        If you have not written one, what one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?”

Sometimes doing this exercise may bring up difficult feelings so please do carve out time for selfcare and do something gentle that brings you joy, as this can be an emotive experience.

Please leave a comment below if you have written a note to your younger self, or if you decided to give it a go after reading this post. I would love to read what your experience was like when writing it out, was it helpful for you? 

Sarah Hollebon x


If you would like to purchase "The Body Hoax" by Emi Howe, you can here

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17 mar
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Very good and helpful for me

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