I wanted to share my letter addressed to Malala Yousafsi with you because A) I want you to join me in London on the 13th of March for the 'Million Woman March' to raise awareness for Endometriosis- it is the first worldwide campaign, in over 44 countries (Including places such as Iran!). It is not just supported by women, but also men and children. Not suprisingly my grandad and boyfriend have been blackmailed into doing it! B) This is a slight insight into what it is like to be a teenager with endo and C) I view this blog as more like a diary, rather than something that people actually read...
I am unsure whether you will ever get the chance to read this, but I hope with every inch of faith that you do. I have recently undergone an operation that I have been waiting for for four years. During my recovery I read your autobiography- one of the things I asked for at Christmas. I am compelled to write to you because I feel such an afinity with you and your message and you are my inspiration. If I may now explain to you my story and how I have arrived to be writing this message.
My name is Alice Smith, I live in Leicestershire and am eighteen years old. Although I am lucky enough to be born in England; into a society that facilitates every opportunity for young people, I have always had to fight for my education. Thankfully, like your parents, my mother and father have always valued education and started me off in life with the best chance with a fantastic diet and lots of educational games and exercises which I always loved doing as a kid. Aged 7 I was diagnosed with dyslexia which I have since grown up with. My dyslexia has many gifts, however I have always had to work slightly harder than my siblings to be able to reach my potential. I, in my quest to turn every adversity into a positive, am thankful for this challenge as it means I fully appreciate the importance and gift that education is. I am grateful for the skills I have and fight hard to improve those that I lack. I know education will be at the centre to my children's upbringing and that goes beyond academia, life is a learning process and I want them to be equipped to learn with an open mind as I have.
Beyond the dyslexia, I became ill around the age of twelve. We did not realise at the time however this was the start of my symptoms of endometriosis- a gynaecological condition where the endometrial tissue grows outside of my womb and inside my body, meaning I internally bleed. I had major pain daily and when I was fourteen I was rushed into hospital fortnightly for pain relief. I would have a lot of morphine and it would take me two weeks to recover, at which point I would be back in again and the cycle would continue. This meant my attendance at school plunged dramatically and the fight for my education began again. This has continued throughout the rest of my schooling career, and my qualifications quickly became my focus. Even during my final year of A-levels I decided to sacrifice 'normal teenage' things to concentrate on achieving the results I strived towards. Unfortunately I didn't get quite what I wanted, however that is not stopping me as I have unconditional places at all my university but still continue to re-sit for my own happiness of mind.
Although I cannot identify with the magnitude of your struggle and fight, I like to think I contextually understand the importance of education to ones life having my own experience of the desperate need to fulfil my minds potential. I have always spoken openly of the importance and privilege of education and how ones mind is our most valuable tool.
I am currently undergoing a 'gap year' between my A-levels and studying 'International Development and Politics' at university to finally have the operation which I have been putting of in order to complete my education, allowing me to live a normal student life, a luxury I have dreamed of. The operation has been a success and I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to have behind me with university finally becoming a reality. With my spare time, I am campaigning to raise awareness for my condition, Endometriosis. There is currently no cure and oppressive taboos surrounding it. As the official 'Young Advocate' for the 'Endometriosis UK' I aim to educate and empower and I wanted to share with you your inspiration towards my campaign. You affirmed within me just how important education is and that it is the first way to disarmer ignorance and instigate change.
You have always been the girl campaigning for education in my eyes, never the girl shot by the Taliban. I followed what I now know to be your blog for the BBC as I am fascinated by the eastern world, last year I toured the North of India. If you ever get a chance and you would like to see what I do, please feel free to read my blog. It has even reached to places such as Nigeria, Iran, India and South Africa: www.endo365.blogspot.co.uk
I am also a county captain for the British leg of the 'Million Woman March' on the 13th of march in London. I am sure your Callander is full of far more busy things, but just incase and for being cheekys sake, I thought I might as well mention it. http://www.endometriosis-uk.org/news/register-million-woman-march-endo-37163#.Uw0dsn8gGSM
Also, I wanted to let you know reading your autobiography, the way you speak of god and love and peace, reminded me of how a younger Alice used to feel and inspired me back into faith.
May God bless you Malala,
If you can not come, I will be eternally greatful if you could just tell one other person about it. I am off to Amsterdam this weekend and knowing me will be singing about it on saturday night to everyone foolish enough to listen.
That is all for now,