Dear Amy at 16,
Out of all of the letters this may be the hardest to read and write. It isn’t easy mentally being us at this age. You will hear a lot of “it gets better,” and it does, but it is hard for us to see it. Our friendships are weird, our relationships are weird, we don’t have a strong understanding of life or why we are here, and everything seems to be a popularity contest.
Someone will toss around the term “queen of the uglies,” but try not to take anything to heart. People won’t want to be your friend, they may threaten to kill you, they may not like you the way that you like them, they may cheat on you – but we are stronger than that. You will hear a lot of “you must be bipolar,” or “you’re a headcase,” but we have a valuable ally with Mrs. Hand. She’s one of the counselors and quite possibly one of our closest friends. It’s weird to think of that now, but we will go to her whenever: when it gets overwhelming, when things are weird at home, when we want to rearrange classes, when we need to complain about a teacher, or just spilling our emotions. She’ll tell you that you shouldn’t say some things or she’ll have to take action, but open your ears and heart to her. She’s quite possibly the reason we are still alive.
I’d tell you not to do it. That it won’t work. That it is not worth the hours of getting sick, getting shots to stop you from throwing up since your stomach has been emptied thousands of times already, nurses talking about stomach pumping, or how much Mom blamed herself after she found out. That we never really wanted to succeed since we told Sean, who told L, who came and interrupted the last batch; I think we subconsciously hoped that one someone would. I’d tell you that its not the solution, and neither is the “scratching” that takes the place of our thoughts after the fact.
People will say or do things without thinking or caring about consequences, but its not our fault and we shouldn’t blame ourselves. We are strong enough to get through this and anything that comes our way – and if we stumble there are people to help. There always are. I’m crying just writing this because I feel bad for you. We never feel this way again, I promise you that, and I am sorry that we ever felt this was the best case of action.
People today probably wouldn’t believe that we went through something like this – that’s how confident, quirky, and persevering we are. We are emotional, but for good reason. It keeps us in tune with those around us and makes us approachable and human. We are good at hiding our real emotions with other emotions, a mask if you will, but don’t be afraid to let someone in. When in doubt – Mrs. Hand. She retires eventually, as people do, but reach out when you need to.
It takes time, but we’re good at patience (especially the card game).