Dear 14-year-old Elm,
I spoke about how I was two years ago today, and it made me think about you. Or me. Or the me that was you, I suppose; I’m not a separate person but I’ve gone through so many changes that I don’t consider the qualities that you have to be all the ones that I have, and I don’t think we have the same outlook on life.
If I could warn you of all the things that are going to happen, and if I could go back and change them, I wouldn’t. If you knew how I was now, how sad I was but also the amount of happy shit that’s gone on, I don’t think you’d understand and you wouldn’t believe it, for sure. Then again, maybe I’m not giving you enough credit, but the character development I had to go through to become the me I am now, you haven’t had yet. Identity’s a weird thing, because it’s almost like I’m separating myself from you, but where does the line blur? We are the same, but I’m fundamentally different from you in how I think.
I won’t think about that, because I want to explain something that I wish you’d known. I don’t know when I started to respect myself, but it certainly wasn’t 2 years ago: yes, you’re a good person, but you have also and will also be awful. Back when you didn’t know who you were, you were just becoming the person I am, I I guess, but before that was two years ago and that was just shy of the turning point.
In December 2014, I was in love. You are, and you think that he is amazing, and back then he was. But tell me this: when he ignores you for days, when he tells you that his mental health is so bad that he can’t talk – do you deserve that? You think you do, but you don’t, and it makes me so sad that you – I – couldn’t see that. Ash, though you won’t know him as that for at least four months, isn’t your world and you are not his.
It’s so hard to realise that he’s not the centre of everything. It feels like he is and I get that; I won’t deny that at this time, you need him. He brought you one of the best friendships you’ve ever had, but he brought and is bringing you pain, and feelings of panic and paranoia. That’s not healthy, because you aren’t just alive when he messages you, and your heart shouldn’t just beat for him. He is human, and has awful parts to his personality; you may know that but you don’t know that enough.
You’ll blame yourself for so long after. If you knew that he would break friends with you in a horrible way, maybe you’d take stock of things more, prepare yourself for eventual heartbreak. It’s lucky you didn’t, though, because it’ll make you realise a terrible flaw in your personality: you expose people’s privacy, and it’s not cured by a pledge in the dark.
I think that now is one of the periods that he’s ignoring you, and you let it get to you. No, I don’t blame you, but you should realise there’s life outside him. You once compared him to a part in your machine that was so specific that you couldn’t replace it with any old part, but sometimes, you can live without a part. You find new parts that works better, more fluidly, helping you run rather than sapping away all your energy. Even now, I don’t blame him, because I can’t get swallowed up by anger. It’s been 2 years, after all, but remember that you have the right to be angry.
When I look on it, you were consumed by him. You had your friends, and they were and still are brilliant people, but you were always worried about Ash. Maybe the future has distorted the past, but I clearly remember cold days where you’d feel more freezing than the temperature saw fit. It’s not that you couldn’t have an independent thought, because you were happy – remember in lessons? But even then, your mind was a web of Ash and confusion and worry.
You’ll make mistakes, and you have. If I told you you’d kiss S that summer, you’d sob with laughter; if I told you the first time you kissed a girl was over a year ahead, you’d question me but not realise that it was a possibility. It is, and she’s a great person; none of the people you will ever have feelings for are disgusting people. It’s good that you don’t know the future, because though it brought me so much self-hatred, I needed to go through it so that I could grow up.
I need you to know that Ash’s secret is not an excuse for why he’s ignoring you. These late night conversations will be in your mind, that time you were on the phone in the cold with him which must have been just a month ago. All of that: the lovely words, the trust, the heart-stopping feelings you have for him – doesn’t make it okay for him to treat you like that. At that point, nothing is your fault, but if I told you that you wouldn’t listen. We are similar, after all.
I’m you, but I’m a you that’s had her heart broken three times, whereas you’re a you that doesn’t know how that feels. Getting rejected 8 months ago was nothing compared to what will happen, but whenever you’re going through pain, remember this:
You’re fucking beautiful and don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t. Your body is your own, and don’t do something just because you think it’s right for them, and not for you. Hold your friends close, and look to the future with hope; nothing’s as dark as you think because there will always be hope. Ash isn’t the end, your heart isn’t unbreakable, and all of the happy memories will get you through.
I love you, in a way, because you ARE thoughtful despite your apparent carelessness. You know what qualities you have, why people like you, so grip onto that and don’t let go. I may not respect some of the things you did, like telling people about your and Ash’s messages, but I understand.
You’ll start a blog, and love people and cry, but you’ll also laugh. You’ll find some beautiful friendships, lose them, and find them again. You already have them, and they will be there for you.
You aren’t alone and you aren’t a terrible person. I’m not, either. The one thing that’s definitively the same about you and I is that we will always help people when they need it. I’m proud of you for that.
Love from Elm 🙂