To My 14 Year Old Self:
It is your birthday. Maybe not a very happy birthday. You’re a little grumpy. You’re always grumpy on your birthdays. Well… you’re grumpy in general.
But I know it is a good day, in fact. I know that despite everything- mum and dad made you smile. I know you won’t admit it, but you’re having fun. The cake is delicious, just the right amount of sweet. It’s only the three of you, but it isn’t as quiet as you’d thought it would be. Dad is in a decent mood, and mum is having fun. She’s putting cake on your cheek even as you scream at her not to. Now they’re having a cake fight- mum and dad. Both their faces are covered in cake. The camera is on the tripod, recording everything.
And in a while, when everything is cleaned up and you’re sitting in your room- probably watching a TV show- dad will ask you to come to the room where the computer is kept. You will go- quite reluctantly pausing your TV show- and find them watching videos of the cake fight. Mum is having the time of her life, and despite yourself, you can see a smile creeping upon your face as you watch her put cake on dad’s face just after she promises she won’t.You will want to tell mum how cute she looks, but you won’t. You don’t know why, but you just won’t.
You will know you had fun.
But you won’t admit it.
This year, a lot of disturbing things will happen.
A lot will change- inside and out.
You don’t know it, but this year- your mild sadness will turn to real grief. People will hurt you, and they will take advantage of you. You will face high expectations, and high criticism. Your self doubt will drown you. Everything will happen at once, and for the first time- you will feel like you are not in control of your life. Life will test you, a 14 year old, in cruel ways.
This is the year that you will lose yourself trying to keep pace with everyone else.
In a few months you will be rolled up in the space between your bed and the cupboard in your dorm room, when no one else is there, and you will cry. You will cry harder than you have in all your life. You will cry, but you will stop yourself mid-sob and get up and wash your face and pretend like nothing is bothering you.
Don’t stop crying. Because the second you stop your sadness from pouring out, it will get trapped inside your chest, and it won’t leave. It will grow like cancer, suffocating your lungs, numbing your thoughts, and making your skin cough out blood, one little droplet at a time.
I want you to stay there, between the bed and the cupboard. Stay and cry.
Cry your heart out, and don’t care about who sees. You have a right to be upset. I want you to throw the sadness out.
But I know you, and I know you can’t let anyone see you cry. You have ego. You will get up and go about like nothing happened.
But that will be the time you will first notice the crack in the ceiling of your perfect life.
Yet you will make this mistake again- and again and again- because you don’t realize that you’re thawing at your own ceiling.
And soon, the ceiling of your perfect life will crumble and come crashing down on you, falling to pieces.
And you will not know when, or how, it happened. Not until three years later, when you’re sitting in Chemistry class, numb- trying not to think about everything that has happened.
I hope this reaches you in time.
You could save us both from a lot of disaster and broken relations.
Stay, and cry.
-Your 17 Year Old Self.