A Letter To My Teenage Self: “What would she think? That girl.”

TW: Self-harm, mental health.

What would she think? That girl. The one who spent hours on Tumblr, creating a mood board for the life she dreamed of. Black and white photos of girls lifting their tops up on a bridge, of couples kissing in the rain. Re-posts of poetry that made life sound romantic.

What would she think? That girl who spent every night crying, cutting, feeling that no one else had ever felt this way before.

What would she think about the way you swim in the sea at every opportunity? What would she think about you moving miles and miles away from your home town?

What would she think about you experiencing a two-year period when you weren’t allowed to leave your house–with people who made you feel like that 16-year-old that was bullied, but you survived?

The way you can call a restaurant on the phone to cancel a reservation now-what would she think about that? Would she believe you could finally do it?

Would she believe that a boy finally liked her? Not the right guy, not the right guy then either, but finally the right guy. Would she believe she found someone who loves her? Who adores the body that she has a love-hate relationship with? Who loves her despite her broken brain and the 150mg of sertraline every day or else?

Would she believe that you get to see the bands she idolised way back then, at the click of a button and the noise of the Northern line? Would she believe that bands don’t just exist on a CD player in her Citroen Zara Picasso?

What about meeting up with girlfriends over a bottle (or two) of wine and setting the world to rights? Would she believe that you could cultivate a brilliant, scary, depressing, happy, rollercoaster life for yourself in a city you’d visited once aged eleven?

Could she imagine having a good relationship with her parents, even after it all? What would she think about the fact that you go to Columbia Road flower market on a Sunday and pick out plants you want to give a home to? That you wander around Stoke Newington and buy stickers for your work laptop because it reminds you that there’s joy even when you have to work to pay your London rent?

What would she think about the way you look at your face in the mirror, and for the most part, aren’t disgusted by it? What would she think about the way you know you have a right to be? To live? To enjoy life–and not just muddle through? What would she think about the fact that people ask her for advice? That her friends ring her in times of crisis because they know she’ll listen and try to help? Would she realise that she isn’t all bad, she isn’t a failure, and maybe she even deserves love?

Because I do, I believe that young girl deserves love, and I wish I’d given it to her. 

From me to you,

Sara

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