TO MY 16-YEAR-OLD SELF
I am writing to you to say that it will get better,
But things won’t be perfect.
You’ll sit and sob when you think back to the boy who hurt you,
a boy who seemed like a man,
But now seems like a child,
Wearing his father’s shoes,
His small feet swallowed by the bigness.
It will seem oddly comical,
And strangely heartbreaking
To remember the authority in which
He was able to hurt you so deeply.
You will eventually be with someone better,
Someone that loves you for you,
Not just how you serve them.
You won’t live at your parents home forever,
Someday you will live on your own,
It will be both freeing and lonely.
You will still cry so much.
I hope that a letter will come back to me soon,
A letter from my older self,
Much like this one,
From me to you.
Maybe that is all that hope is,
You trust me to take care of the memory of me,
I trust that my future self will take care of me,
Because all of myself is in this together.
You worry about if you will fit in at school -
No, you never will,
And someday you will realize that is okay,
That being liked is not the most important thing,
Especially by those
Who you don’t even value.
Someday in the future,
You will unfriend them from your Facebook,
Removing the option for validation
From the people who don’t matter to you.
Yes, you like women,
And that is okay.
Yes, you like men,
And that is okay, too.
Someday you will find that
Is not unheard of,
Is not being “selfish,”
Is not asking for attention.
Your sexuality is a part of your identity,
And it doesn’t give you a new identity,
Because you are the same person you always were.
You are still bisexual
Even though you will ultimately
Marry a wonderful man.
This heterosexual relationship
Will not strip you of your queerness.
You will make so many mistakes.
You’ll sleep with the wrong men,
You’ll fall in love with women
Who will never love you back.
You’ll accept the unacceptable,
Then resent yourself for it later.
Your mom is not your best friend,
And never has to be.
Things will get better,
And they will also get worse.
It is important for me to tell you -
Your value is not contingent
On your beauty,
Or your body.
Your body is not something at an auction,
Available to the highest bidder.
Your body is not a vessel
For someone else’s pleasure.
My hope for you is that
When you do your makeup in the morning,
When you put on your clothes,
When you walk down the street,
You do it for you.
My hope for me is that
I can eventually reclaim our body,
From the men who
Think they own real estate
In our hearts and
On our flesh..
Perhaps I shouldn’t say
That it gets better.
It gets confusing.
It gets messy.
It gets painful,
But it certainly doesn’t get worse.
Perhaps I should say,
It doesn’t get better,
But you will grow.
You will grow from this pain,
And you will grow stronger.
You will grow from this loneliness,
And find yourself better connected.
To My 16 Year Old Self,
I will never stop
Being here for you,
Just like my 30-year-old self
Will always be there for me
In the future.
We are not alone,
Because we will always