Dear 14-year old me,
Breathe. I know it’s hard to right now. Everything is falling apart. Is dad coming back in the picture? Correction – step-dad. Temporarily, but you know right now that it’s not something that’s meant to last. Seeing it all falling apart right in front of your eyes, the only thing you want to do right now is focus on school.
It’ll get better, it really will. Hard times lie ahead, but there is a reprieve in there. 10 years from now, you’ll be in a much happier place, trust me. If there’s one thing I wish I could tell you right now is that I understand. That’s the one thing you lacked at this time in your life. Is someone who truly understood. Your friends are your saving grace right now. Even your online friends.
Don’t take to heart what mom says either. She’s going through her own period of heartbreak, and she doesn’t really understand your point of view because she has so much worry of her own. She’s just trying to take care of us, her husband left her, the guy she met on a whim turned out to be an asshole. It’s just not a good time. With the electric off and money being tight, I know you understand she has a lot on her mind right now. She doesn’t know that this is the period where you really started to feel down and alone. That she pushed your friends away because we only had each other – I wish I could tell you that she was wrong. She was afraid you’d leave her when you needed her the most.
It’s a lot to expect out of a 14 year old. The only time you feel a break is when you’re by yourself. I know you’re struggling with school right now, Mrs…. you know her name. Your biology teacher. She’s not very helpful with your situation, and that’s the worst class you have right now. I remember how much I hated how cheerful she was and then she’d give me a D on the report card. English was starting to be a struggle, too. Everything was.
My point with this letter, is that things won’t always be like that. Freedom is coming – at least a lot more than what you have right now. There are things I wish I could tell you to not do when you get older. There are things I wish I could tell you to focus more on. But you’re me, and things just have a way of happening because you’re scared of moving forward. You don’t know how, look at what you’ve been surrounded by for years.
So much hypocrisy, you’re young and don’t fully understand yet, but you will. There is so much bullshit, but you’re too young to do anything about it. Yet, she expects you to be more grown up. Every time she puts you on the phone as mediator between him. Two grown adults screaming in your ear, yet you’re expected to keep your sanity? And go to school as if nothing is wrong. To put on this facade like you’re happy, and let’s face it, we’re happy when we’re not home.
He will come back, and he’ll leave again in a few years. So much happens, I can’t even begin to describe it to it’s fullest extent, but you know, you’ve experienced the worst of it already. In a few years, it’ll get really bad again, and then after that? It’s over. There’s a different kind of drama that’s around, but… you have so much more freedom.
My advice to you is to cherish being young. And stop stressing, you have too much stress for a kid. It’s your problem, but at the same time? It’s not. School is the most important thing right now. Stop letting mom tell you what’s good for you and what’s not. You can’t stop the situation, but let yourself toughen up to all those screams and yells. To all those fights you’ve constantly had to hear. To her throwing your door open and screaming at you for not doing anything. Why didn’t you call the cops? Should you have? We were always so frozen in place, wanting to hide and pretend it wasn’t happening. Denial.
The older you get, the more you still need to focus on school. It sucks, your friends will drift from you. And it gets hard to focus on what you need to do for yourself because you’re so damn lonely, yet you don’t do anything about it. There’s a job opportunity you could’ve had when you were 18. But you never took it, because you never mentioned it to your mother. And you never did, because for some reason, we were always terrified to approach her about these things.
Why were we so scared? Of everything? Looking back at who you are right now, why were we so scared to open our mouths and say that we were hurting? Instead, the tears would fall and the words would escape us. And she’d just yell at us more for not talking. Maybe that’s why. I think I’ve blocked out many of these memories. So 14 year old me, it won’t always be painful. We will find our voice. I wish I could tell you to make that start right now. But even I know that’s not that easy.
Keep writing. You know those silly stories you come up with? Keep it up. Keep reading – books have always been our safe space. Now that I’m older, I feel sad I haven’t spent as much time reading.
Guys will come and go later on in life. It’s funny, because even then people told us this. But guys in high school are dumb, and they really aren’t worth your time. So don’t let yourself be upset over that silly ordeal. There is nothing wrong with you. High school is a shit show. It turns into an alright experience, but trust me, years from you right now, it eventually all turns into a blur. I barely remember so much.
So breathe. Just keep breathing. This pain is temporary, this hurt goes away. You’ll find a better happiness, even if it’s fleeting. So cry it out, let yourself go. It’s okay. And it’s okay, because I understand you, and the best feeling is to have someone on your side, supporting you. Future you is there. You just have to hold on.
Your future 24-year old self
November Writing Challenge #4