By Zoe Jessica Dawson
SCA time machine, part 1
We’re halfway through the course, so I hopped in a time machine to talk to past and future me. First, let’s go back.
Dear Day One Zo,
You’re about to embark on the best few months of your life. They’re also some of the hardest. Embrace that, because the combination is working very hard on something you love very much. There’s nothing better than that, and you’re lucky. I know you’re excited to meet all these new people, but let me tell you, every single one of them will smash your expectations out of the park. They will teach you things. Listen. Jemma will teach you the value of true friendship – don’t leave her in a bar in central. Ruby will teach you how to walk the fine line between an argument and a productive discussion – be less defensive about your ideas but remain passionate about everything. Sophie will teach you to have fun and to be yourself – great work comes out of a great playlist and a hardworking partnership. Lauren will remind you that you don’t have to be centre stage to be great. Phil, that quantity does lead to quality. Tom, that all emotions are beautiful and inspiring. Etc ad infinitum. Learn.
You will also have at your fingertips a motley crew of mentors that have already kicked the butt of the industry you’re running at kicking. Use them. If you only take one thing from this conversation, let it be that. Use. Your. Mentors. You’re scared of them. Alex Taylor makes your bones quake, and so you don’t get her help until January. Your art direction has improved exponentially since. Should’a been September. Dusty is your favourite, make you his favourite. Show him more scamps. Let Pete kill every baby you push out. Give him the knife. Strategy is your weak link so you hide from Olly. Seek him out instead. Vikki will see your potential and it will scare the shit out of you. Make her an ally. Show your writing to Caz and your art to Ian, they’re not going to think less of you if you show them rubbish, they’re going to help.
Because that’s your problem. It always has been, and you know it. You’re so desperate to be seen as perfect that you won’t let anyone see imperfect. Firstly, realise now that perfection doesn’t exist. Be desperate to be a better Zo tomorrow than you were today instead. Secondly, you’re only going to be a better Zo if you take on criticism and accept help. So, ask.
There are more gems to give you, but they’ll come from masterclasses in the first few weeks anyway. Hard work beats talent. Manage your time or your time will manage you. Opportunity is now here. Be an x amongst o’s. Squirrel. Trust the process. Scamp. Get off google. Know your history. And it’s cool to start sentences with and.
So my advice is to listen.
Marc will also push things you’ve always thought were wanky, like mindfulness and gratitude. You’ll try and fail. Keep trying. For you, running, writing, drawing and taking a deep inhale of a fresh packet of coffee is mindfulness. That’s cool. You don’t have to meditate. But make time for those things, because they’ll help your mental health when stress gets the better of you. Gratitude is actually great. ‘Sorry, thank you, please’ is a good way to live. Accept your mistakes, be grateful for what you’ve got, and set goals for the future.
You’re going to gain weight. Apparently, everybody does but you can only see it on yourself. So other people probably don’t care. This will be the first 6 months of the last 4 years that you have something more important on your mind than food. You eat bread now. Bread is incredible. You are incredible. Recovery isn’t linear and you’re going to slip up but SCA has given you freedom from your eating disorder. If there’s anything to be grateful for, it’s that.
Okay, I’m rambling, but I miss you. I’m jealous that you have time ahead of you that I can’t get back. I’m so excited for you. You’re going to learn more by your 23rd birthday than you did in 22 and a half years. What a privilege. Please, relish it.
Day One Hundred and Fifty Eight Zo.
The copy scores 82.9 in the Flesch Reading Ease test