Dear 13-year-old self,
You will think about that day, the one Father’s day, you wanted to take your life away. You will think about it a lot. You remember the sun, the freshly green cut grass. But you won’t remember what made you feel that way. You will remember being called stupid by your elementary school teachers. Perhaps it was that. Still, it doesn’t matter because you will be thankful your sister walked in that day and asked you what is the matter. You won’t remember what you said to her but you will remember being in emergency. Then, the ICU for many days. You won’t remember the day you left the hospital or how many other times you tried after that day. But it won’t matter though—you are here today.
You will go on to high school, away from all your friends. You will feel alone and isolated but you will make new friends. Your life will change drastically after the car accident: you lost friends and gained new ones; you will be in that small room receiving support from the specially trained teachers; and you will graduate with honours (even though the doctors said you wouldn’t). Your family won’t know how to live with the “new” you—you look the same but you don’t feel the same. And like that one Father’s day, you won’t remember what happened that day you were hit by a car. Were you walking? Running? Biking? You remember, however, the sun. The same sun you remember the first time you almost killed yourself.
The sun, the earth and the moon will always be there in your memory and your present.
The life you go on to live is shamed by many. You will have a voice telling you that there is nothing wrong with you… it is society. Always listen to that voice. And always nourish that inner voice.
The people you meet, doing the work you do will inspire you. The two strong Black women who you meet at both clubs you worked at, who taught you some of the best tricks in the book. You will struggle, though. You will continue to feel isolated and alone, in a brand new city with no family. But you will make new friends. A lot of friends, who come and go. Friends that you will continue to think about long after you left, especially your best friend who killed herself.
Still, the sun, the earth and the moon will always be with you.
You go on to university. It’s a very weird, strange place. And, you will make new friends. These friends teach you many things about life. You continue to do the work that you do and you continue to feel shame for some of the things you do because of what society tells you … about the things you do. Then, you meet other women who do the same work that you do and you realize that these women, having just met them, will continue to inspire you. They will inspire you to write and share your story too.
People will share with you in private that they share a similar story as you. You will thank them for sharing their story with you. You will carry these stories and honour these stories.
You worry a lot about what the future has in store for you. You hate that feeling of unpredictability. If there is one thing I could tell you then what I know now: embrace that uncertainty and unpredictability! It makes life beautiful. It makes you beautiful. Forget about not knowing…just go with the flow.
And always remember, the sun, the earth, and the moon will always be with you.