TW: allusions to self-harm, sexual assault
Dear Younger Paige,
There are so many things that you have yet to learn. I promise you that not all of them are as scary as your mind makes them out to be. Life is beautiful, and the moment you accept that, you will be able to experience some of the most incredible things that the universe has to offer. I understand that you want to know everything and that it’s scary to not know, but you will come to terms with the fact that sometimes not knowing is okay. You don’t have to be perfect.
You will one day become content with existing in between joy and sadness, and right now you have put so much pressure on yourself to pretend like you are not hurting. So, when you feel as though the entire world is crumbling down around you, let yourself fall apart with it. Then, put yourself back together—no one else can do it for you. Here’s what you need to do: Fall in love with being alive. When you want to scream, fill your lungs with as much oxygen as they can hold, and then just do it. When you forget what being alive feels like, stand in the pouring rain. Love unapologetically, and don’t let anyone tell you that you love too deeply.
In your first year of high school, do not kiss the older boy who seems to be interested in you. I know you’re lonely, and you want love, but I promise you that he doesn’t love you—at least not in the way that you want him to. He will break your heart. You are still young, learning about what it means to feel, and he will take advantage of that. He will make you believe that you are only beautiful if you’re quiet, and will only care about what you have to say if you are naked. Then, when he has broken you down to nothing, he will leave—and your body will pay the price. You are too beautiful to hurt yourself like that.
It’s okay to leave someone without an explanation. Your heart is responsible for your feelings only.
Learn to say no, and learn to stay grounded in that singular word. When you have already said no to a boy, don’t let him convince you to change your answer. Tell him no as many times as it takes for him to stop asking. Don’t let yourself say yes. He’ll get over it. If you say yes, you will begin to resent yourself. You will scratch at your body trying to remove his fingerprints from your skin. You won’t be able to look at yourself in the mirror for months, because wherever you look, you’ll see him. I promise you that he doesn’t want you in the way that you wish he would. It is up to you, and only you, to decide if someone is allowed to see you in such a vulnerable way. Your body belongs only to yourself.
I hope that one day you will love yourself in the same way that I love you now.
Always and forever,