Dear 15-year-old Julia,
I haven’t written something worthwhile in much too long and with everything I read on the news, it has come to my own attention that I need a break. Granted, I will refrain from using textbook terminology in saying this is a time to reflect upon and better understand, yet I may dip my toes in it a little bit. Thus, the decision to write my 15-year-old self a letter as if she read it and would foresee anything I tell her may be abrupt, but it seems to fit perfectly fine.
Dear 15-year-old Julia,
You quite literally know absolutely nothing.
There isn’t much quantifiable input I can insert here that you will follow because I hope to God you don’t. I hope you do the things you did exactly as it was meant to, otherwise I would have never been able to write this down. Where do I start… it’s been an adventure. More specifically, almost six years and it makes me feel both young and old. Both sad and madly elated.
I still struggle to forgive a mountain of your choices. Of people you chose to influence your perspectives, to hurt your soul and body, to turn everything they said and did into gospel. You are so naive it stopped being funny a long time ago, yet you will be laughing. My mind cannot even begin to comprehend how much of a kid you are, with life raving inside of you, wishing to give your energy to anyone who accepted it. You felt happy, you truly felt like the world was designed to be easy for people like you. Enjoy it while it lasts. You hated highschool.
For some reason unbeknownst to me, I still feel like 15 on the inside. For some reason, I am. The way my heart crumbles when another person breaks my heart resembles when you were struggling to get over your first breakup. The details are somewhat vivid and it seemed overwhelming for a 15-year-old to understand why it physically hurt when a person you loved left, but it gets easier in time. I think. I might be lying. It still is confusing.
There is a note of exacerbation in every letter of the kind because we want to offer our younger selves a way out. I do not. But I want to offer that 15-year-old empathy, since God knows she lacked it. And when my 27-year-old might be thinking to write my less mature and organized self a letter of the kind, at least she won’t do it tongue-in-cheek and I will refuse to read it regardless. Overall, nobody wishes to know what is coming, otherwise we would be scared to open our eyes every morning. Here goes nothing.
In 9th grade, you will listen to your then boyfriend talking high and mighty of attending MIT as he is actually fit for the school. Your sister just got accepted in the States, so it made so much sense for you to search for an average school to follow both. Actually, you will attend the best historically women’s college in the world with an almost full ride. You will also be working at MIT in a top lab. He won’t.
The breakup will hurt like you just got stabbed, but you will experience depression and suicidal thoughts soon enough in college. They are, indeed, morbidly painful. It seems like any plea you have for a way out falls on everyone’s deaf ears and your attempts to take your own life several times are digested by your loved ones as calls for attention. Even you start believing it’s something performative and cowardly, as if you wanted to, you would have done it during Spring Break of freshman year. Your sister calls you frantically until you calm down and for one week straight, you debate whether you should tell your therapist or not. You cannot afford hospitalization. It sounds like a deleted scene out of girl, interrupted, but being an international student so far away from home, falling asleep for days on end with the only sounds of your stomach screeching of emptiness, it does eventually get to you. It is not only dripping honey as I may have started it. It’s alright, keep reading.
You do get better. And no, not through pills and maybe not even therapy, but by running back to your country in an attempt to reconcile with yourself. Anyway, this is a long and somewhat run story, thus I will move past that.
Julia, for the life of me, I do not understand how you will build yourself to overcome so much pain. To be in awe of your own grit in such situations should probably be personal, but since this will get posted on my blog, I renounced personal space a long time ago. Yes, you will have a blog, I forgot to mention. And yes, people will love it. You know it, too, even then, that maybe your ultimate goal in life is to help others. I am here to help you for once.
There is a pandemic ravishing the world right now. I do not wish to scare you away and have you count down the seconds until it hits, but let me just emphasize that it will torn everyone apart and innocent people will die. Just as you thought your life will never be the same, it truly won’t. You begin to regret not taking those chances or enjoying the moment more or kissing that boy harder, but as the quarantine persists, your routine begins to settle in.
God, I wish you never started smoking. You hated so much the idea of it. There will be countless nights when you reek of hard cigarettes, liquor, and broken feelings. Nights when you will run away from home or within yourself and wonder why there is not a single soul for you out there. Not to spoil the current ending, there isn’t, but a sea of people assured me (us) that we will not die along thinking if somebody will walk through your door. The vernacular of it all is that, indeed, your suffering sometimes only revolves around the people you choose to spend time with. They do change all throughout high school and even a great portion of college, but you will experience the epitome of friendships and what they mean. You will feel the warm shoulder of a friend and a hard truth delivered by another in the middle of the street drunk on regrets and promises. By yourself or others. It is a bit odd for me to reiterate all of these memories as if I could change something, as I know this letter is purely fictional. You will never get to know what will happen and neither will I. And at this point, I do not know if the idea of it deeply scares me or should come as a comfort that it will be alright. I wish I could say it will be alright. Truth of the matter is, I don’t know. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, I don’t know what happens whenever I get into my car and drive away from the safety of my home, I don’t know what could happen if I do this instead of the other. I wish I knew.
There is an insufferable part of me that wants to tell you about the good things. You know, the lists of achievements you will have, the innocence of some summer nights thinking this is it or the acknowledgement of the freezing winter and short days that life is truly magical. The concept of me keeping my foot on the gas regardless of whatever is in front of me sounds dramatic, yet it is nevertheless, accurate. There is no way you can break it in reverse. There is no way you can turn back and start over. I promise you, no matter how many times you will wish to change the past, the past will smirk right back at you. But only if you look at it.
I want to renounce all the pain you will cause me in these six ungodly years. I want to kick it in the marrow, in the deepest and most irrational part of it and simply conceal it as a bad dream. How I wish you weren’t manipulated by the greatness of others and see that you, too, are just as wonderful. Because, let me tell you, it will haunt you and, consequently, myself. The judgement penetrates and your call for attention will be tattooed on your brain for good. Oh, yes! You will actually have some tattoos! But don’t let this airtime I bought and sold to you as common law. Live your life as it is, I will weep over the regrets later. Whatever it is I am telling you right now is a basic echo chamber, where I am speaking to a girl that died six years ago. I buried you so deeply inside of me, I just scratched my entire body to make you listen to everything I need to tell you.
Julia, Julia, Julia, please. I am begging you to listen, though I know it is in vain. Life may not seem like much but I am waiting for you. Everyone is. There is an enormity that awaits in a transparency you are so oblivious to. Just like you, I still cannot seem to enjoy a moment of silence and inner thoughts without criticizing myself for wasting every precious second. Maybe it was your mom’s idea of though love reaps extraordinary rewards, but please take a break. I should take that advice.
This letter is becoming more agonizing than I initially thought.
One thing I want you to remember is that it will not be your fault. You will know what I mean when you will, unfortunately, get to it. Every single time it happens, it will not be your fault. Hold onto that thought and I want to apologize for it now. It doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t break you just as much, but I wish I knew how to protect you better. How to protect us better.
Anyway, time is ticking just as always. The sky’s still blue and you will grow an obsession for a certain sauce. You will cut your hair a billion times and dye it in the most horrifying colors. You will do all the things your mind is cultivating right now, Julia. I think, at the end of this letter, all I want to say is that this, too, shall pass. Please, don’t change. Otherwise, somebody else would be writing this letter.
Sending love from the future,
An almost 21-year-old Julia