Letter to Who I Was

Dear 13 Year Old Me,

Right now, you are in pain. Right now, you are trying to understand how people can be so cruel. The ground beneath your feet was ripped out from under you so quickly, it will take five years to process and begin to heal. And it will be a long five years.

When you’re 13, the world seems so vast, but it never really gets any smaller. It just gets more manageable, because right now, you feel so alone. But one day, not too far from now, you will meet people who have walked paths parallel to the one you walk. You will meet people who understand exactly what you mean when you say, I feel numb. I don’t feel alive, even though right now, you have no idea what I’m saying.

Because one day, not too far from now, you will look in the mirror, hate what you see, and you will become so consumed with self-hate you will be unable to feel anything else. In that moment, you will find sweet release in a razor. As the warm blood trickles down your skin, you will cry, because for the first time in a long time, you will feel something.

Right now, you’re wrestling with the concept of God, because you blame yourself, but you’re mad at God. But I need you to remember faith is believing in what you cannot see. Because down the road you will reach a canyon, and you won’t know how to cross, and life will seem so daunting. That is not the time to test gravity. In that moment, when you find your parachute at the bottom of the pill bottle, you will hear a voice—not much louder than the whispering of the wind, but still a voice. Instantly, you will understand what faith means.

When you’re 13 and getting ready to start High School, people will tell you it’s the best time of your life. Don’t believe them. High School is horrible if you’re even the slightest bit not normal, because the world is full of the wrong kinds of people. When it comes time to graduate, you will be ready. You will want to say, “Master has given Dobby a diploma. Dobby is free.” Don’t.

Because when you’re 17 and ready to leave High School behind, College doesn’t seem so bad. And it’s not, but it also is.

You will meet people who will make you hate yourself. You will meet people who inspire you. You will meet people who make you want to be a better person.

You will learn more about yourself. You will learn how to manage your time. You will learn that every place is a bed if you try hard enough. You will also learn people who drink decaf coffee are not to be trusted.

13 year old me, don’t forget you’re beautiful. There will come a day when you cannot believe that anymore because society tells you otherwise. But there will come another day, 5 years from now, when you realize that if society’s idea of beauty is being thin, you want nothing to do with it.

13 year old me, don’t forget about the scripture you’ve learned, because one day you will forget how to form a prayer. And the scripture combined with the book of Help Me, Jesus will be the only reminder that you have that you are the Child of the King.

Right now, you have nothing figured out, and that’s ok. 5 years from now, you will have just a little bit more to just enough figured out. But you will have found your purpose.

So I just want to tell you to keep your head up. Because one day you will realize this life is beautiful. One day you will know what you want to do with your life. You will know how to make a difference.

Love,

Your 18 year old self, AKA, who you are now

 

 

 

 

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My Being

My body is a battlefield. Home to the never-ending war between hope and survival; it’s a cemetery containing dashed dreams, lost hopes and broken hearts. My veins are meandering rivers; a crisscrossing map outlining every place I’ve been, illustrating every face that has sunk into the deep recesses of my memory. They carry blood that was formerly red for anger back to the heart. Though the skin around my veins is scarred, they are blue for the ocean, for sorrow, for pain. When it rains, pieces of the sky collect on my skin. No dream is too high. The shedding of my skin is akin to the falling autumn leaves and to the sunset—a fresh start, a new beginning.

My heart is a seashell; my heart beat is the waves that kiss the shore. The delicate red flesh is wrapped in the blood of loving too much, knowing too little, being and becoming. The walls are scattered with names; the atriums are filled to the brim with the little pieces of others collected along the way. Each beat is an old memory floating to the surface of my conscious—music, movies, dead pets, dead relatives, laughter, friends, and family. The memories floating through my veins collect in my chest and in my wrists, which is why I give hugs. New memories can be made, and old memories can transfer, proving that I’m alive.

Sewn into the walls of my lungs are the remnants of everything I’ve experienced, everything I’ve breathed, and everything I’ve lived. Scrawled in the leftover spaces are the notes of every breath I took, no matter how high or low its song. My lungs have been witnesses in moments that took my breath away—a flower growing in a garden of weeds, a sunset after a storm, a smile despite the cruel behavior, and by words that were read, spoken, and written.  The soles of my feet have crushed dreams; but they’ve also matched the stride of broken souls, reminding them that they are not alone as they walk this journey.

My shoulders contain the leftover pieces of what once were wings; although sometimes, my arms collect feathers, and for a moment, I believe that I am almost strong enough to fly once again. My fingers contain the touch of creating. Like windshield wipers, my eyelids have protected my eyes. But, they too have broken. My eyes become oceans as they witness the darkness of life. My knees kiss the floor during bed time prayers, they give way when I need them to stay, but they also stay strong when I want to collapse. The mending and unbending of my spine has more courage stringing through its bones than I have strength. Sometimes, that makes all the difference. My tongue has tasted the most beautiful days and the most rotten nights. It has choked on cruel words while it has spat at my own soul. Sometimes, my lips crack as my self-esteem is drawn out of them with the straw of a hurt soul. There are days when the rumbling in my tummy never goes away; there’s fat on my body to prove it.

My soul contains an angel and a devil fighting for my self-respect and worth. Sometimes my self-esteem can be measured out in teaspoons, mixed in the words I write, and still not fill up the need to believe in myself. But that’s life, and that’s me. And I wouldn’t change for anybody.