This is for you.
You, fourteen years old, in the aftermath of your first breakup (but certainly not your first heartbreak), becoming acquainted with the lonely white of your bathroom walls because they’re the only place to release your panic in peace. How many nights have you stayed up all night with your back pressed to the bathtub, a hardcover copy of Twilight in your hands, absorbing Bella’s world and wishing for a vampire boyfriend who would protect you instead of diminish your worth? How many times have you struggled to squeeze Breaking Dawn into the space between your desk and the tops of your thighs, trying to hide it from teachers and disappear into this world of fangs and immortality as you please?
I’m glad you had a place to tuck away your panic when the world pushed down on your chest dangerously.
You, on the brink of turning fifteen, hoping that at the stroke of midnight you’ll transform into the kind of girl who speaks her mind, who doesn’t get her heart broken, who has the courage to talk to the person she likes. It’s terrifying, and it will take you years to be able to do all of those things, but you will do them all.
It’s going to take you years to understand not who you need, but what you need from those people. It’s going to take you years to understand that some people are meant to be in your life, and it won’t be for romantic reasons. You will have to disentangle yourself from the idea that you need a kiss to be saved, or to be saved at all. It will hurt, but you will rise from it stronger than ever.
It’s going to take you years to undo the hurt from your home life, and to trust your family again. I promise they love you; there’s just a barrier between you, and you’ll learn how to break it and begin to understand one another. Communication won’t always feel like blindly walking through the dark.
This is not the first time you wished everything would end, but it is the first time you’ve felt it so completely, so absolutely. It is the first time helplessness shoves its way down your throat and tints your vision gray. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I cannot reach back in time and help you off the floor, collect the broken pieces that remain from every stretched out silence, every lingering scent of alcohol. But you are going to continue, sometimes with painful clarity, sometimes stumbling through the haze of dissociation. You are going to keep going.
At 16, you’ll think, “I won’t live to see the end of high school.”
At 18, if somebody asks you where you see yourself in 5 years, you’ll say, “I don’t.”
Even at 22, you’ll think there’s no end to a particular nightmare (but there is).
It’s not going to be easy. But you’re not going to wither away; you’re going to go to the places you’ve always wanted to visit, see the people you’ve always wanted to see, learn things you’ve always wanted to learn, try things you’ve always been curious about. You’re going to grow, and change, and forgive, and understand others as well as yourself.
And now, at 25, you’re going to be ready for the rest of the amazing adventures and opportunities that will come your way.
So, this is for you, 14/15-year-old me, teetering on the edge, wondering if you will ever know what happiness feels like. You will. I promise to take a deep breath and keep going, to speak up whenever I feel like I should, to make connections even when I’m terrified of reaching out, to take the first step into the dizzying darkness. I promise to get up out of bed and keep surviving.
I promise to choose life.
This is for you.