To 13 year old Marie (me)

I know you feel different. Shh, stop, you don’t need to tell me you’re okay, or that you haven’t really though about being different. You don’t need to put your armor up. I know that you feel different. And it’s okay. Don’t worry about me knowing. You can trust me. And by the way, I feel different too.

You don’t know me, and I think that if you met me you wouldn’t put your trust in me. But Marie, that’s not because I’m not trustworthy, or because I don’t care about you. It’s because you don’t trust anyone. But even if you don’t, I wanna tell you this: that you can trust me! I care about you, and I know you, and I see you. I swear that I’m here looking out for you, and I believe that you need to let someone in. I believe that you need to trust someone. Someone. Because letting someone in will never mean that you’re weak, it means you’re strong.

You know all these nights, the minutes before you fall asleep, and you worry that something bad is gonna happen tomorrow at school? Don’t. Don’t worry. Or all those nights, the minutes before you fall asleep, and you cry because of something bad that happened at school? I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry that you have to go through this. But I’m gonna tell you something, and you have to listen real close, okay? It’s not true. What they are saying, and the feelings you get about yourself after it happens, and when no one is there to help you or see you, those feelings they’re not true. Not at all. You are valuable. You are so valuable. To me. And I know that since you don’t know me, those words probably don’t hold any merit. But this might: You are so valuable to your family. They are caught up in their own shit, and they don’t see how much you’re hurting, but believe me when I say that it’s not because they don’t care. It’s merely because they are hurting too. But, and this is very important, tell them! Tell them what you are experiencing! And I know, I know that you’ll say that they should know without you telling them, or that you’ve already told them, but tell them again. Tell them again and again until they hear you, and until they help you!

Someone loves you, Marie. And I know what you’re gonna say, that everyone hates you, and that you know that for a fact. Well, I’m a grown-up, and this I know better than you. I’m insufferable right, thinking I know things because I’m a grown up? I know, I know, I’m partly teasing you, but mostly I know that someone loves you. And what more, I know that someone likes you. And one day you’ll figure out that it doesn’t matter whether or not all your classmates likes you, what matters is that you’ve got friends that’s there for you. And you got that! And hey, it’s OK to love books! It’s OK to love the puppy, and spend time with her, and with your family. I can promise you’ll never end up regretting not going to parties or being popular when you were a teenager. I know you miss it now, wondering why you can’t like it or want it. But what if I told you that you don’t miss it because you long for it, but because you think that somehow that would make you feel less as a fuck up, Marie, sweetie, it won’t. Because that feeling doesn’t come from not going to parties, or from anything true, it comes from the lies people have been telling you. It doesn’t come from you being a loner, because you’re not. It doesn’t come from you not having a life, because well, truthfully I don’t know of any other 13 year olds that lives as much as you do. You don’t need to do as much as you do! You don’t need to be the best at everything. You are good enough. Pretty enough. Thin enough. Perfect enough. Simply, you’re enough. Give yourself permission to stop up and breathe, and give yourself the opportunity to figure out what kinds of things that you actually like! And then when you’ve figured out what you like, do those things.

I wish I could make you live a little more based on what you want, based on what you like. But I’m not sure this letter can do that. I wish more than anything that I could make you believe that you are worth something, not just something, but so much. I wish I could force the people around you to give you the help you need, so you won’t have to grow up to become like me. Or so you wouldn’t have to grow up suffering as much as I have. But I’m sorry, I can’t. But be strong! I know you are. You have always been. You might not see it, but one day you will. And then, one day, you and I will meet. And maybe I’ll know how to tell these things to you in person. I believe in you. It’s gonna get better.

Yours truly,
Marie