CW: Self Harm, Suicide Attempt
I am writing to the twenty-two year old crying in her student room in January of 2013.
You think you are crying because you’ve just drunkenly fucked a good friend, and in the middle he told you not to tell anyone – because anyone knowing he fucked you would be an embarrassment. You think you are crying because you were wanted and simultaneously rejected by the guy who had a crush on. But that’s not why you were crying, really.
You were crying because three months before, the childhood love of your life text you to explain he had met a girl at a club the night before, and that is who he wants to be his girlfriend. After almost 6 years of on again, off again. Long distance love, challenged by poor mental health, crippling self-doubt, falling for anyone who would show you attention. You’d let it all go. You’d lost something so good because you never let yourself believe you were ever deserving of good.
This seems like the end of your world, but it’s only the start. In five years’ time, he will help you through your current broken heart. This is awful, it will pass, and it will happen again. You made mistakes, but mistakes you will (hopefully) never make again. And this guy, the guy you wanted to spend the rest of your life with, will continue to support you, as will his family. Because you are not a bad person. They will invite you and your family to their house for Boxing Day festivities, and will take you for meals to celebrate your new job. You won’t lose them. You never will, and you will realise that when they latterly explain that some people are just not meant for each other, and that you are a good person.
This is to the twenty four year old, crying alone in your new room in 2015. Knowing your partner- the best friend who supported you through your last break up, who you just relocated your whole life 200 miles for- has just text you to ask which coffee shop of your liking you would like to be broken up with, in not so many words. You will laugh about this in years to come. You will harbour a not-so-secret hatred of that coffee shop chain. You will laugh as you don’t even like coffee, really. As your whole world seems to collapse again, you convince yourself this will always happen. That you are not enough, and your whole self is an impossible subject of love.
Your story with this one is far from over. You will have more kisses, some when you should, and some when you definitely shouldn’t. He will write a letter from a hilltop to tell you he still loves you, then choose someone else over you, before you let him back in again. You’ll have more adventures, more hurt, and when a year later – as you are lying in a bed with wrists slashed to pieces- he tells you he can’t be with someone like you, he was right. And it was the best thing that could have ever happened to you. He will come back and apologise on your doorstep, and you will experience happiness elsewhere again. But this time even better. Even more than you ever thought possible to feel. And for the first time you’ll get a glimpse at what you think real love feels like.
This is to the 27 year old girl, crying alone in her room. It is 2018, the year you’d convinced yourself it was all going to be okay. The girl who had to make a hasty phone call to be brought to safety, after feeling inconsolably desolate and utterly convinced she was unlovable. That she’d been a girl crying in her room alone too many times for her short years. That this time she’d been told she was wonderful, caring and capable (everything she believed she wasn’t) – but it was something inside her that was unlovable. Something they were unable to put their finger on- it must be deep, flowing inside her veins.
To that girl, and all of the others, it is not the case. You are loveable. But this message isn’t for you to believe you will find love, or perhaps indirectly it is. You are loveable, and you must believe that. Because you must believe that to love yourself. You must believe that to take care of your mental health, and to give yourself the opportunity at life. Accept yourself, and your flaws. they make you unique, and you, and are not a reason to quit this life.
In three months, you will be back living with your parents, recovering and growing, working all hours of the day for your biggest solo adventure yet. In three months, or three years, there’ll be other lessons for you. As you feel yourself falling in love, perhaps you’ll be crying alone in a room soon- you are certainly preparing for it- but you will be able to say you at least tried.
I tried. I tried my very best, and in the end that’s the only thing we can really do.