Dear teen me,
It's me. You.
I often think about how I would change things if I could go back in time, or what I would say to you if I did. I think the most important thing I would do is give you a hug. You really need one.
Right now you're probably incredulous, how could I be from the future? Is it really you- er, me? I have breasts and an average amount of body fat, so I would be suspicious as well. Alas, we have graduated from being a plank of wood and have become a woman. But can I prove myself? Well, if we were face-to face right now, I'd direct your attention to the birthmark on my (our) left buttcheek. Of course it is me (you). Our butts match.
I know that things are feeling seriously bleak right now. You don't have any friends, mum & dad are too busy with the divorce to connect the dots, the incessant bullying, the blind eyes cast by teachers, the plummeting grades, the seemingly endless despair. Almost all of the adults in your life tell you you're simply going through a "phase". It's not a phase. It's called mental illness. You're afraid of everyone and everything, and if you would only realize you are worth standing up for yourself, you'd save us a lot of suffering. Oh and the goth thing? Not a phase either. Do us a favour though and retire the bondage pants. You will thank me later.
During the darkest years, you will almost kill yourself a few times but you'll be glad you didn't, because despite how negative everything seems right now, you hope life will get better. And trust me, it does.
You will see a therapist for the first time when you're 16. She will diagnose you with a handful of disorders. You will tell her things you've never told anyone else. She will make the appropriate faces and comments such as, "Oh, you poor thing". Already this kind of thinking is beginning to chafe you. You will realize that you actually do not want to be pitied, you just want people to understand. Things could have been worse for you. This is the start of your journey to acceptance and forgiveness. It's very important.
You'll fuck up quite a bit. You still have a while to go before you start becoming as responsible and mature as you think you are. You'll do reckless things, and land yourself in the hospital one scary night- don't panic. You break hearts. You get your heart broken. Sometimes you do or say things at other's expenses because you think it's funny. In reality, it is cruel. These are important experiences. Through your many failures, you will learn the value of patience and kindness.
You will begin to wonder if you'll ever find someone who will truly love you and all of your strangeness, but also be able to keep your attention. I'm afraid you've been in a string of long-term (1.5 years is a long time for a teenager okay) relationships with boring boys who don't have an ounce of creativity in their whole body. It's a mistake you will make over and over again and it will leave you feeling shitty and broken. There isn't anything wrong with you; they're just not your type. You need to figure out the difference between guys who want you because you're a novelty of sorts, and guys who want you because they can actually understand the way you feel and think and are. One day you will talk to a friend of a friend online, a musician from Belgium. Almost two years later, you are engaged.
I know, you don't want to get married and you don't want to have kids. We still agree on the latter. Kids are gross. You will find this out soon enough; we've been working with children for years now. As for the former, well, to take a leaf out of mum's book, you'll understand it when you're older.
Even after all of the awful things he's done, you forgive dad. I know you have a lot of anger and hatred toward him right now, and it's completely justified. Believe me, things get even worse before they get better. But you will feel much lighter once you learn to let go.
Please, please, please: appreciate your loved ones as much as possible. Some of them are gone now. Eventually you will come to loathe cancer more than anything on this planet. It will take a lot of people you care about away before they were ready, and certainly before you were. Tell people how much you care about them before it's too late. Spend more time with the dog too, because in the span of two weeks, your best friend will get sick and die way before his time. You'll figure out that life is full of things that hit you like being suckerpunched with a brick.
Our future isn't easy. In true, independence-craving Chelsey fashion, we have moved out with a roomie at the age of 20. We work as much as we can, and finally we're starting to make a bit of money with our art. Still, we barely get by. We spend a lot of our downtime drawing and chatting online to our fiancé, who still lives in Europe at the moment but he visits when he can and we enjoy what little time we have together. We have a rat that we adopted from a friend and there's a stray cat that comes around every night for a bowl of food, some cream, and a nap, before she's on her way again. It's difficult but it's worth it. One day you will have the peace and quiet you need, and do things the way you want. Things could be a lot worse.
Be good to yourself.