Dear Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A letter to my younger, naive 16 years old self, hoping to shed light in her darkness.

Submitted: July 09, 2016

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Submitted: July 09, 2016

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Dear 16-year-old Gray,

I’m sorry.

I wish I had a brimful of wise advice for you, something more encouraging and positive that will make you look forward to the future but I only have a sad, but meaningful, few. I apologize and I know that if you had the chance to read it; if I could magically send this letter back in time, you would be disappointed and even more dejected than you already were back then. The prevailing phrases of “everything will be okay” or “you will be just fine” or “just be yourself” is just so cliché and such a lie. You deserve better than to be fed those banalities. You need to know that the twenty-year-old Gray is just as lost and lonely as ever, but trying.

I remember when I was sixteen like it was yesterday. You’re a naïve sophomore, desperately, trying to blossom while the other students in your grade had already blossomed into competent and quite beautiful individuals. You were behind and you didn’t quite understand it. No one took you seriously; they all stared at you like you were some brain-dead idiot, who did not belong in the IB program. They made snide remarks when they think you weren’t listening. They thought you were too weird because you were so quiet, never speaking your mind. They laughed when you were forced to state your opinion because they thought it was too stupid. I know you feel as if you just aren’t up to par with everyone and unable to defend yourself against disparaging comments.

If you thought that was bad, the family just found a way to cut it a little deeper. They sometimes doubted you. They made you feel as if you could do absolutely nothing right. They looked at you like you were some kind of idiot. You were the apple that fell miles away from the tree. You were never the favorable one because you were too introverted and reserved. You knew that they have always favored your older brother. Why wouldn’t they? He’s smart and outgoing and outspoken.

You felt imprudent, insecure, weak and unworthy to be in the program. You felt like an outcast, a fraud. You undermined your abilities. You cried yourself to sleep some nights, wondering what was wrong with you, asking god or whoever, why did you create me? Why did you make me so damaged? What did I do wrong? You thought of yourself as nothing but a waste of space, a worthless individual who should just stop trying. You thought that you were useless and undeserving of love and friends. You thought you deserved to be alone where no one could hurt you or vice versa.

These detrimental thoughts and feelings that bombarded you day in and day out, you kept hidden from the world, always putting up a good-natured façade, faking happiness, and faking being okay. While on the inside, you were digging your little hole, deeper and deeper, with loneliness as your one and only companion. You were burdened with all your self-inflicted hatred and you were so tired.

No one needs me, not friends, not family, no one. I’d rather be alone. They’re better off without me. You would say to yourself constantly. You found a home in the thought that being alone is the only option and you let it shelter you.

Then, you wondered what your purpose was in the tiny little hole and realized you have no clue; you have little knowledge of life; your life is in shambles; you’re anxious and paranoid and each day you’re winging it.

You have no idea who you are.

You have no idea what you are doing and you’re drowning, unable to ask for help.

Then, after a few years of many struggles you will face shortly until now, the twenty-year-old you, is still trying to blossom, still trying to unravel her life, create it; life got somewhat better. Life is in less disarray, at least I know what path I want to take in college, but I’m still trying to figure things out and try new things. I’m still trying to find who I am and still trying to stand up for myself. I’m fighting off the demons in my head and it's going swell. I’ve successfully let more people in and it feels fantastic. So far, so good.

I’m sorry the road to get here hasn’t been easy. I’m sorry I can’t tell you that it’s okay. I’m a work in progress.

There are a lot of things I wish I could have changed, like being more confident and speaking up, telling mother my true feelings, or letting people in instead of shutting them out. If I had, then you wouldn’t be so bruised. I’m sorry for the scars.

Soon enough, you’ll understand that scars are okay and you’re going to keep on living.

Like I said, I may not have an array of advice to give, but I do have a few.

  1. Please, be kind to yourself. Just know that as long as you try, you can never fail, even though it feels like it. Treat yourself to a Boba tea or buy a book. I know it’s a struggle to not have everything figured out but trust me, not a lot of people do. It’s normal. Just give it your absolute best shot, okay? Just please be kind to yourself.
  2. You can’t fill the hole in your life by yourself; that is what your friends are for. If you just let people in, unafraid to be vulnerable, the right people will stay and will support you.
  3. It’s okay to fall down, as long as you get back up. Life isn’t fair and it will punch you down, but the number of hits you take doesn’t matter; standing up, despite the pain, does. Persevere and believe in yourself to keep going. It’s never going to be easy, but hey, that’s the game. What can you do?
  4. Tell yourself that you are smart and you are beautiful because you really need to hear it once in a while. You truly are.
  5. To those who might say that your problems are nothing compared to what others face, just know you have every right to feel pain and that is perfectly acceptable. Pain is pain after all. (This brings me to a quote I read somewhere: “Telling someone that they can’t be sad because someone has it worse, is the same as saying that you can’t be happy because someone has it better.”)
  6. Fuck what others think and say. They’re wasting their time focusing on you instead of getting along with their own lives. It’s petty and vapid. You don’t need to waste your energy on those fools.

I wish I had more to share but these lessons are what I learned so far and I’m still growing to become the best possible me. Just know that right now, you will be surrounded by friends who love you and make you laugh. You will have the ultimate best friend right beside you who will never let you go or let you fall on the wrong path. You’re in good hands. I know the way life is going for you is not the life you pictured it would be. You’re going to realize when you’re twenty that you may be exactly where you need to be. Ignore the negativity and let in the light. Please don’t do it alone. You have the power to be who you want to be and be proud of yourself.

You’re never alone. I love you.

With Love,

Gray C. Dalton


© Copyright 2017 Gray C. Dalton. All rights reserved.

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