I know how you’re feeling, and I know how many people have said that to you and been wrong. I know you, because I was you. I am you. And you have that feeling that no one understands, that no one will ever exactly understand, and maybe that is true. No one will ever be you. No one will ever have that privilege of getting to call themselves the person that you are, and yes, it is a damn privilege. You are beautiful in ways you don’t even know yet. You have layers of yourself that you haven’t even begun to discover, and there are people in your future who are going to love you in ways you can’t even imagine right now.
The future will be better, and you’ve heard it all. It gets better, and there’s more to live for, and you have your whole life ahead of you. But right now? Right now, it fucking sucks. That’s valid. You feel trapped, like you could never run far enough, but you have nowhere to run even if you wanted to. You try so hard to fit in while feeling terrified of being the same, being average. You live in fear of not being good enough, of failing. You grew up with your family telling you how special you were, and you live in constant worry of waking up one day and realizing that it isn’t true, that you’re just another bug on the windshield, or whatever bullshit metaphor you prefer.
Then you get that weird feeling that something is just a little bit off, that you’re just a little bit different from everyone else. However little that little bit is, and however much you look in the mirror and tell yourself that you have two eyes and one nose and a mouth and that you’re really not so very different, it doesn’t matter. You feel like you are, like it’s written across your face.
So you keep looking in the mirror, and instead of loving all the freckles across your cheeks, or how much your nose looks like your grandmother’s, or how you have the same wild, curly hair as your father, you pray that it will all change one day. You wear your foundation like a mask, paint on contour lines like war paint, flat iron your hair with a vengeance. You stare at yourself, and your eyes that should sparkle with life are sparkling with tears, and you watch yourself and hate the way that you look when you cry.
Don’t do it. Don’t you spend one more damn second wishing you looked like the girl down the street or the woman you saw in that magazine at the drugstore while you waited in line to buy everything you needed to paint yourself into the right picture.
Stop training yourself on the right things to say. Stop torturing your hair and sacrificing sleep to make yourself look like every other girl you go to school with. Embrace the girl who likes the music no one else has heard of and who reads entirely too many books (as if there could be such a thing). Stop pressuring yourself to fit into a box that no one really even understands. Even the girls who are in this box don’t truly know the dimensions.
All those girls who are mean to you? Who look down at you over their noses, who whisper comments to their friends while they side-eye you, making sure that you see? All of those girls who make fun of the way you are made, as if God could ever make a mistake piecing together such a treasure? They aren’t worth it. It hurts, sure. And you probably won’t ever really forget it. But the memory of that girl in the tenth grade who called you disgusting will be followed immediately by the much stronger memory of all those nights laughing with your freshman year college roommates, and you’ll say fuck her, because I have better, and I’m worth more, and you’ll mean it.
But still, the sad truth is that you will lose more friends than you are prepared to, and you won’t know why. The days when you believed friends forever would always be a reality were the good ones, and the day you will discover they aren’t will be one of the hardest. It royally fucking sucks, and sweetheart, it doesn’t make you any less brave to believe that. One day, the people you once called family you’ll barely call friends, and there won’t have been a fight, or a betrayal. You’ll just drift, and you’ll both wake up one day and wonder what the hell happened. It’s okay to be sad about it, and it’s okay to miss them, because who knows what you would have become without them?
It’s okay to have good times. Those people you spend those four years with, who you graduate with, who you love more than you loved yourself? They will always be there in some way. They are cemented into who you are, and you carry pieces of them in all the facets of you. You stand there, sure that no one has ever loved each other this much, or that there has never been a friendship this strong, and you know that you will be friends forever. Maybe you will, but maybe you won’t, and it does not make you a bad person if you all grow to be different. Some people come to stay, and some only come for a visit, but both are okay.
Your friends have loved you, and have wanted nothing more than for you to love yourself. So do it. Stop hating yourself for things you can’t help. You’re fucking beautiful, and you are a fucking miracle, and I’m telling you this because I want you to believe it so badly.
Stop hating yourself, and for the love of God, stop hurting yourself. I know it’s hard, and I know there isn’t another way right now, but there will be. So put it down, your blade, or your shard of glass, just put it down right now, and don’t you make another mark on your beautiful skin. I’m not foolish enough to think it’s that easy; I know it isn’t, but I’m telling you that there will be more to your life than this. It may be hard, unbearable to quit, but it will be so much harder for your mother to choose the outfit she wants to bury you in. Is that harsh? It might be, but I wish someone had said it to me when I was your age.
I promise you, you will spend today wishing you would cease to exist, and you will spend the same day ten years down the road laughing alongside someone who loves everything about you that you hate. All your pain and discomfort and fears of being different will be scars and memories and building blocks. You will look back and realize that you were a goddamn warrior, and you earned every single one of your battle scars.
As you grow, as you realize how much more there is to you, you will think back to everything you’ve ever learned. You will think of everything you’ve ever wished someone had told you when you were young, and you will vow to yourself to teach your daughter someday. You will vow to tell every young girl you see that she is beautiful, and that there is more to her life than this, and that she really isn’t so very alone. One day, you’ll realize that you’ve grown, and that you’re a beautiful, brave fucking hero, and you need to congratulate yourself. Pour yourself a big glass of wine and put on some music and dance in your underwear, because sweetheart, you made it out of the rabbit hole.