A Letter to My Younger Self

By Kenzi RomeNovember 23, 2015

I see you crying at night. I see how alone you feel. I see you struggling to make it through each day with a brave, determined smile. Then I see the façade break down in the privacy of your room and the torrent of tears take you down to the floor. I see you clasp your hands and pray for the strength not to harm yourself, eventually falling into an exhausted sleep. You are too young for this.

Others don’t see this hidden despair. They see a beautiful young woman: successful, popular, brilliant. They see someone they know they can confide in, someone with integrity. Did you know that so many wish they were you? That they idolize you, thinking that if they could be even half of who you are that there would be meaning in their life? Don’t you see how much hope you provide them?

I know you fear yourself, I know you hate yourself, and I know you often question if waking up each morning is worth it. I know of these thoughts that go through your mind, and it makes me so sad and angry. You shouldn’t have to feel this. You shouldn’t have to fight so hard to make it through each day. You deserve to do the things girls your age do; you deserve the excitement of your first kiss and the exhilaration of your first prom.

I have seen some of the things that you have done, the things that you are ashamed of, the things that you didn’t want to do but were too scared to stop. You don’t deserve that degradation. Little girl, do you see that you don’t have to destroy yourself to gain control? Your body doesn’t deserve the torment you subject it to. You are so scared, so lost. Please believe me that you do not need to find validation through your body. You are beautiful as you exist.

Oh little one, I wish I could hold you as you cry and tell you that you do not deserve the pain that you feel. Please forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the marks on your body, the acts of desperation, the things you have done while afraid and lost. Know that you don’t deserve what has been done to you.

You will win. I promise. You will start to heal. The pain will become tolerable. You will learn how to exist on life’s terms. Just please hold on a little longer, OK? I want you to see how many lives you have touched already. You deserve to be on this earth. You have a story to tell. Please never stop fighting.

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Comments (31)

  1. SJA

    I’m almost a year clean and the last month has been excruciatingly difficult. Thank you for this post, it puts my life into perspective and really helps me to realize that even though I’m still recovering, I’m doing so well. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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    1. taylor

      i know we do not know each other, but i’m beyond glad to hear of your recovery and that you are still here. never stop fighting. you are stronger than you know ❤

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  2. Claudia Johana

    This is a beautiful letter. Honestly. I’m glad you have overcome your fears and you are being happy and comfortable on your own skin. Everyone who’s in this deserves better.

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  3. Thirza

    This is written so beautiful. Thanks❤
    It’s like it’s written to the younger me.

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  4. Katie

    Thank you so much for having the courage and strength to not only write this, but share it with the world. I can relate to pretty much all of it. It’s as if I wrote this to myself. Know that you are not alone. <3

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  5. Cj

    This made my day.

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  6. Smith

    This hit such a target spot of where I currently am in life. Looking to find forgiveness and validation for myself. On the outside I am a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician on the inside I am still a young woman fighting through life to find the right spot I belong in. Some days are hard, but I know the joy comes in the morning.

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  7. Anon

    Someone was told me that she wished she had my brain, because she somehow thought I was smart, and all I could think was that she had no idea, and that if she did, she really really really wouldn’t want my brain even if you paid her.
    I’m older now, but I’m still as messed up as I ever was.
    Thank you for sharing this. I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to speak the same words to myself, but your words have touched me deeply. Please know that you have made a difference in one life.
    Thank you again, and all the best to you!

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  8. B.

    I needed this today. Thank you.

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  9. anonymous

    You have really touched me with your words. I can relate. Although I wish I were where you are in recovery, I still struggle with relapses. I have not been able to find a way to forgive myself when I do. Each time is harder because I know better. I just can’t seem to shake the shame no matter how much therapy. A lot is the stigma I know. I admire you for being able to accept and love all of you, also for sharing with us. Thank you.

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  10. Kayla

    I can’t believe how much this speaks to me… Like as if it was written out to me, except I’m 20 and not in high school. This morning I just ______ the words ‘______’ into my arm. I hate myself so much and often I wonder if it’s worth it to keep waking up each morning. But this letter has given me a little hope. Thank you.

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    1. taylor


      your 20s can be a difficult time. i know, i’m there too. please never stop fighting and always remember that you are loved and hope is always there, even in the darkest of times. ❤

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    2. Kim

      Stay strong! My 20s were some of the hardest years! I’m 41, by the grace of God. You are worth it!

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  11. Madison

    This captures a story so perfectly and it’s a very powerful piece. I love it, well done!

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  12. Amk

    I’ve seen quotes from this post a lot, and have been too afraid to read the whole thing until now. I was afraid of the memories and the desire to have had someone say these things to me. But your voice not only speaks to your younger self, but to mine also, and I thank you for that. So much of this I still long for, but I know that God has amazing things for me if I would just keep holding on and fighting for myself and the life beyond all this.
    Thank you.

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  13. jen

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it

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  14. taylor

    this was unbelievably powerful and hits so close to home. i hope anybody who reads this finds solace and knows that harming yourself is never the answer. hope be with you, always.

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  15. Lisa M Bigelow

    Thank you for this. It is like I wrote the letter to myself. Thank you.

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  16. Maria

    This post touched my heart im in tears. im over a year a clean and as the holidays come the depression hits and the pain and uneasiness comes down on me and then there is the late night of feeling alone that the only thing im yearning for is not longer there and i fight to remind myself how far ive come there are stories like this that i come across that give me the strength and its also my reminder that im important and my story and most importantly that im not alone. Thank you for the hope!

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  17. Chary

    I felt that this letter was in a way, meant for me. It’s been 4 years since I stopped self-harming and there were 2 years when I thought I wouldn’t need it anymore, but I wasn’t right. After all those years I still fight against traumas and I can’t overcome the pain. Sometimes I still wonder how I can get through every single day and this reminded me that there’s more behind that pain, that I’m more than the pain and the emotional and physical scars. Your last paragraph made my day, no matter the nights I go to sleep crying and the mornings that I can’t get out of my bed, if I hold a little longer, as you said, things will get better. Thanks for giving me the strenght to keep fighting.

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  18. Ashley

    This. This is a valiant demonstration of strength and hope and surrender. Thank you for writing.

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  19. Amber

    Often I find myself in the fetal position crying because of the pain I cannot feel. The pain I refuse to experience is almost unbearable. I’ve been “clean” for 22 months now and every time I have a horrible day, I look at my last ___. The mark that almost ended my life. The mark that is slashed down my thigh 9inches long, and was so deep doctors were amazed I healed. These are not my shame, but my testament. I am strength incarnate.

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  20. Ren

    26 years old, and I still need to hear this every day. I wonder what my 36 year old self would say 10 years from now. This doesn’t stop just because you get older. In fact, it just becomes less accepted because you’re supposed to be “an adult” and “grown up,” and “too old for teenage angst.” Depression doesn’t know age or time.

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  21. Arielle

    Thank you for writing this. As I read this I felt as though you had lived my life. I’m in a place now where my life is more than the pain. This is what I would say to my younger self and to those who are still struggling. This is what I now have the courage to say to myself on the days when I am struggling. Thank you for the reminder.

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  22. sydney neal

    This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. I so needed this. Thank you so much.

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  23. Anne Davidson

    I read this about 5 hours before getting hospitalized for the fifth time (two outpatients, three inpatients). This time it was my third inpatient hospitalization, for the scars, ___, and bruises all over my body. For the suicidal thoughts and plans racing through my head. I got to say, this article is a HUGE reason I accepted help. Right now, I am 13 days clean of my self-harm situation. I have been self-harming on-and-off for 4 years, and 13 days clean is my record for the past few months (since I would self-injure on a daily basis).
    I hope this is true; that it applies to me, too. That I am beautiful, that it gets better, that one day I will not have urges to self-harm, and that I will not have to drink myself to sleep.
    Thank you for the inspiration and hope!!
    Love this article SO much!! <3

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  24. Atlas Beck

    Thank you for your words and sharing your story. I have felt alone for so long struggling with the weight of the shame and pain of my past. I had started self harming when I was young and couldn’t get it under control by myself and honestly it took me years to see that I needed to get it under control. Fearing myself was an incredibly accurate reality, but it is so important to remember “You will start to heal. That pain will become tolerable. You will learn how to exist on life terms.” Learning how to exist and truly live through life is essential to recovery. Thank you.

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  25. D.

    This resonates so much with me. I am that girl, the one who everyone seems to like. One of my friends, who knows that I struggle not to self harm says that, even knowing that, she can’t imagine me sad. I hope that, when I’m older, I can get myself composed, and write something this inspiring for other people. This is amazing. Thank you.

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  26. Anna

    This was me. That second to last paragraph, “Forgive yourself for the marks on your body, the acts of desperation, the things you have done while afraid and lost. Know that you don’t deserve what has been done to you.” That is my struggle everyday in the six, almost seven years, since I have stopped self-harming. And when you can’t love yourself, let others do it for you.

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  27. TC

    What about us older women?

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  28. Stephanie Jacobs

    I look at all my scars too and wish I knew back then what I’ve learned now. Therapy and self love and self worth have helped me immensely. It’s been almost 14 months since I’ve hurt myself and honestly, I can say with 99% certainty maybe even 100, there’s no way I’ll let myself ever do that to my body again. I’ve learned too much in therapy to ever get back to that spiraling out of control sad lost place. I too wrote a letter to my younger self. Yours was beautiful. Thank you so much.

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