Gurls Talk is a community-led, non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of adolescent girls and young women. Following Adwoa Aboah’s personal experience with mental health, Gurls Talk was formed with the goal of creating safe spaces – both on and offline – where gurls can access mental health resources, share their experiences and support each other so they never feel alone or have to reach a breaking point.
Gurls Talk recently launched a campaign inviting community members to write a letter to their pre-pandemic self, as a a way to process what we've endured, how we’ve changed through adversity - and who we've become.
Here, Grazia cover star and Gurls Talk founder, Adwoa Aboah, shares hers...
I’m writing to you on the eve of your 30th Birthday. It feels strange even now to think that you were 27 when this all started.
It is hard to put into words what these next couple of years will mean or even feel like. They will be a mixed bag of emotions, full of challenges that I’m proud to say you will bravely walk through, however uncomfortable it may feel like. You will consciously take agency over your own life, revalue and find a new sense of responsibility and protectiveness over your life and the people in it. Sometimes Adwoa, we need these moments of pain and discomfort in order to understand who we are.
Please don’t worry, your career isn’t over. Through the stillness you’ll have the opportunity to achieve such new and incredible things. This is a privilege, do not forget that. You will have the chance to show up in your relationships and friendships in a way you’ve never done before. You will be there as they go through heartbreak, grief, love, loss, isolation, pain, happiness and sadness. You will be intentional about the things that you do, who you spend time with and where you invest your energy. It is through this that you will finally realize what is important.
Sometimes we need these moments of pain and discomfort in order to understand who we are.
Your story is always evolving, you are a work in progress. There are parts that are raw and painful, others beautiful and joyful. Continuously ever changing and evolving and that is completely okay. Right now, I am almost certain that you think you’ve figured it all out but there will always be a lot of messiness in life, so please stop trying to fight it.
The space will give you the time to examine who are and to control your own narrative. Connect with your community, it is through their stories that you will be able to form a deeper connection with them and others. Lean into Gurls Talk as it will be the driving force of your journey of self. The community will be a saving grace throughout it all.
And lastly look after your friends and family, they love you so much and will need the support more than ever. And let the fuck go, try not to be too scared about falling in love.
Go back on your medication, you are not a failure because you need it. There will always be bravery in helping yourself and asking for help from others.
And be curious! What is it at the end of the day that brings you joy?
Thank you for carrying us through the last couple of years, what a journey it has been.
I don’t want to give too much away but you did the work, life to a certain extent makes way more sense and you know yourself better than you ever have before.
To support Gurls Talk and their work you can donate here
WANT TO WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER?
CHOOSE A DATE Identify a specific day before the pandemic (for example the first day of quarantine or the last 'normal' event) and write a letter to be received on that day.
ADDRESS THE LETTER TO YOURSELF and write it as you would a real letter. It can help to physically write the letter.
USE THESE PROMPTS
Honour the challenge: I want you to know the first three months will be… Days will begin to feel… You will lose… The hardest part will be…
Reflect on how you've changed: You will learn to appreciate… Moments of peace will be found through…
Celebrate your resilience: Care for you now looks like... Even though bad days will continue, you must remember... With time, you will recognise that quarantine brought meaning to...
WRITE / RECORD Once you have written your letter, record a short video (30-60seconds) reading it out loud or post a caption with the written letter
SHARE Spread the word with friends and family to encourage them to sit down and write a letter to their pre pandemic self
Main image: Photographer - Danny Kasirye. Styling - Kusi Kubi. Hair - Jaz Lanyero. Make-up - Mary-Jane Gotidoc at One Represents. Nails - Michelle Class at LMC. Stylist's assistant - Nicole Gray. Lighting assistant - Neal Jackson. Digital -Jamie Sinclair. Shot at Laylow, 10 Goldborne Rd, London