"What a thing to be sitting here remembering."
–ANN BEATTIE, "Coney Island"
INNER CITY STORIES
Dear Younger Me:
Well, you’re 15 now and not much has changed. You’ll be turning 16 soon and you still don’t want a party. It’s never been your thing. Being the center of attention. Maybe it’s because you’re so used to always being in the shadows that having to step out into the light scares you. Even when little you’d never take that chance on getting noticed. You’d always be the one in the back of the class sitting by herself, all quiet. Afraid of raising your hand because you might get the wrong answer, and you didn’t want to take the chance of getting it wrong and having everyone else laugh at you. Or maybe it’s because of all the secrets you’re forced to keep. One wrong move and it’s game over. People have left your life. Especially the ones you thought would stay forever. But as soon as one leaves a better one walks in. It might feel like the end of the world now, but trust me, it’s not. You still have trouble communicating with people. You’d rather sit in your room with the blackout shades closed and your music loud to tune the world out. You’ve tried interacting with people since you reached high school. You joined JROTC, which makes you speak a lot and be in a leadership role, which is funny because you always said you’d never be one to give orders. You’re in Cane-ettes – yeah, I know you always said you’d never dance, but you actually like it. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that you still like to block people out. You can’t tell them the truth when something’s wrong. You’re still so scared from what happened that it makes you clamp up whenever someone tries to enter. It’s made having a boyfriend pretty hard. It’s been the main reason they don’t stick around for long. You had one guy who tried his hardest to make you open up to him, but you were so scared that you couldn’t and you ended up pushing him away. You have a new guy now though; don’t mess it up, you really like him and he might actually be one to stay and put up with your crazed self. Those scars all around your body are still there, but they don’t bother you as much anymore. You’ve learned to deal with them. You stare at them from time to time and it transports you back to when they happened. Like the one on your knee cap from when you were biking with dad and you had a pretty bad spill and it left a pretty bad scar. Or the time when you went behind mom’s back and shaved your legs and ended up cutting badly yourself on the back of your ankle. Even the one where Alyssa dropped the lamp on you and pressed the light bulb to your calf and it ended up burning the hell out of you. Those you don’t mind looking at; they weren’t that bad, unlike the others. Like the one near your left ear or the cuts on your stomach. Those still do bother you and you wonder if they’ll ever stop bothering you. You’ve come a long way from where you were before. You don’t cut yourself anymore, and things have gotten a little better at home. Everything isn’t rainbows and sunshine, but it’s not like before. You can actually stand to be home now. You still deal with what happened that day, and it does bother you most of the time, but it’s not that bad. I just wanted to let you know that although your life seems shitty right now and you just wanna say “fuck this” and “I’m done” -- don’t. Things will get better at some point, just don’t give up. Trust me. It’s not worth it.