Today I was honest
This was the “if I’m gonna do this I might as well be honest about it” post that I put up on my personal tumblr today (5/20).
To My 13 Year-Old-Self,
It’s been almost ten years and I want you to know that you made it. This will have come as no surprise to anyone but you. It’s been almost ten years, and despite the many cumulative hours you spent in the shower, staring down the razor, before setting it down, dressing yourself and leaving for school, you won’t give in. Now you have beautiful works across your arms as a daily reminder that your skin is as much a work of art as the photographs and painting you plaster your walls with. To my 13-year-old self, you will make it.
But it won’t be easy.
You’ll have your first heartbreaks, but you will have your first victories. Your mother will break down in front of you repeatedly, always in the kitchen, always after work, and always with a beer in hand. When you are 17, you will turn and walk away from her pain so that you can explore your own. You will both cry, for a long time, and you will be engulfed in guilt, but do not hesitate when the time comes. This will be the greatest thing you ever do for your relationship. You will heal, and you will laugh together again.
You will try to fix yourself by any means necessary aside from asking for help. When you are 18 you will begin to smoke, to drink, to experiment. Do this. You’ll vomit in friends’ hallways, you’ll lose hours laying in comfy chairs trying to calm your whirling head, you’ll be so hung-over you won’t move for days. You will learn from all of this that moderation is your weapon against the demons your parents carried and always claimed would someday be yours. It’s been almost ten years, and those demons are still at bay.
When you are 19, objects and substances will not be enough, and you will turn to people. You won’t say “help me,” you’ll say “kiss me,” or “fuck me,” or “drive with me to the mountains until the sun rises and we don’t feel alone anymore.” You will come for the first time at the hands of someone you know won’t be yours forever, but frankly you don’t care. You will think you won’t remember your entanglements for years to come, you think you’ll forget him and you don’t concern yourself further. You will spend every waking moment together before your first semester of college. You will let him talk about your future and pretend you don’t hear. You will let him berate you for leaving him behind. You will move forward with your plans. You will stay with him because you think he fills that hole in your core.
Don’t. He doesn’t.
You will be together. You will say “stop,” you will say “don’t,” you will say “no.”
He will not listen. You will tell yourself it’s fine because you wanted it,
When you are 19, objects, substances, people, will not be enough. You will say, “help me.” You will have known no pain like that you are about to experience after uttering those words. For the first few weeks, you won’t even get words out, you’ll just sit on that ugly couch and sob uncontrollably for an hour a week. When you finally start to speak, don’t be surprised at the amount of strength you find in your core. It’s been lying dormant for so long that it will take some practice to learn how to use it, but like a weakened muscle, it will remember how to work.
New skills take a long time to master and new lifestyles take adjusting to. You will stay up all night staring at your skin and scrubbing the inside of your oven to keep your hands from idling along your veins. You’ll chainsmoke and wake up in the morning terrified at the amount of weight you’ve lost. Don’t be afraid. Opening yourself up to fix what’s broken inside can be almost as damaging as the past itself, but you’ll push through it. And it will be worth it. Remember, you’re not alone that summer. Your friends will check in on you, will bring you cheeseburgers when you feel like your insides are pulling at your seams, will sit on the back porch and smoke with you and hold your hand until you can breathe normally again.
Remember, you’re not alone.
When you’re 20, you’ll leave. Everything you were or were in the process of becoming. Everything that you surrounded yourself with. Everything you and those you love survived. You’ll take the hand of a new love and move forward at 60 miles per hour for at least 400 miles. You’ll find a valley covered in life where if you inhale just right you can taste the ocean. You’ll start cuffing every pair of pants you own so that your ankles aren’t continuously soaked by the constant downpour. When the sun comes out, you will love it like a childhood friend.
But don’t think you’ve solved everything with one summer of therapy and a move across the state.
When you are almost 23, you will slam your way through the ranks at the institution you spent two years working to get into. You will be invited to work on cutting edge publications. You will do pro-bono work for animal shelters in the community. You will ace your courses. You will enjoy your lectures.
You will realize you hate yourself. And upon that realization, all the passion and love you have for the life you are building for yourself will begin to collapse inward.
It is most important, 13 year-old-self, that you do not give up. Not now. You have made it. You have made it this far.
Do not be proud.
Do not be afraid.
Your skin is still beautiful. And you are not alone.
With all the love that I can fake,
Your almost 23-year-old self