A Letter to my Younger Self

Life is hard. It beats you up. It leaves bruises on your skin that no one can see by just a quick glance at you.

But why am I telling you that? I know you already know that. I know what you’ve been up to. I know you feel like your heart is being ripped from your chest. I know you’ve been leaning against the wall of the bathroom holding back your sobs because you don’t want anyone to know you’re as broken as you are. I know you cried tears to the ceiling of your bedroom every night and hoped for a different outcome than what you got.

Let me tell you a few things I’ve learned, though. Life has shown me a lot since I was the young age of 13 and I know it’s bound to teach me so much more than I know now at the age of 18.

You’re cracked, not broken. There’s a difference. I know you feel completely unstable and like you’re one pebble away from crumbling into a broken pile of glass, but you’re not. There’s going to be a bunch of pebbles kicked your way, quite a few stones, and even a few boulders that you can’t seem to get away from. You’ll get through each one. You make it to see another day. You have more strength than you think.

Death is going to take a few people from you. When it happens, you’re going to feel like it reached its hand into your chest and ripped a piece of your already bleeding heart. When you find out, you won’t be able to find your words. Your mouth will open but you won’t be able to get anything out for a while. You won’t really know what to do with yourself. And then you might cry yourself to sleep for a while. But the pain becomes less agonizing over time. It’s so gradual, you don’t notice, but it happens. I don’t know if the pain of losing someone will ever completely disappear.

You’re going to get your heart broken. You’re naive and I don’t think you know it yet. Please don’t fall for words as much as you’re prone to. It’s not going to happen just once, and I know it hurts. Some heartbreaks hurt more than others. But I think that’s what happens when you trust people and their kindness more than you should. You have broken pieces in your heart, but you can’t fill those with other people. You can give someone so much of yourself, but that doesn’t mean they’ll give you any part of them. You’re going to hit a point when you give up letting people in, but please don’t do that. Locking people out also locks the sadness in.

You’re going to hate yourself for a long time. I can’t tell you how to fix that, because I’m still working on that. I know you feel like an outsider. I know you hate that. I know you feel like you have to change every part of yourself to get people to like you. I know you cry about it. But not eating won’t fix anything. It makes you feel in control of your body but it makes you anxious. It makes you more aware of the things you hate about yourself. No one else really sees any of that the way you do, by the way.

Finding comfort in a blade isn’t comforting at all. Opening yourself up doesn’t let any of the bad out. It makes you paranoid. Somehow, you get addicted to something so destructive. People care about you. People don’t want to see you that broken. They love you even if you don’t think they have a good reason to. It’s hard. It’s so so hard. But you’re going to find comfort in something that isn’t a lifeless piece of metal. You’re going to get better. You have to believe that or it won’t happen.

Like I said, life is going to beat you up. But it won’t kill you if you don’t let it. You make it to year 18 when you lived every year not thinking you were going to make it to the next. Being able to look back on that will make you cry, but it will be the kind of cry that has a little smile going along with it.

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