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.