Dear Teen Me

Dear Teen Eli,

Do you go by Eli yet? You might not. That’s okay.

I’m close enough to you right now to remember how you feel and think for the most part. Even if I couldn’t actually remember, you left enough evidence everywhere. You left it on your body and in notebooks and on scraps of paper that sometimes randomly resurface, as if by design. I will never regret the scars or the half-filled journals or the notes that cry out for help. I don’t want to come back and tell you that everything will be okay. Mostly because I know you’ll hate me for it like you hated everyone else who said it to you, but also because I know you know that it’s inevitable anyway. You’ve long known that everything will right itself in the end. You live by the family motto, “This too shall pass.” You write it on your arms, your pants, foggy car windows, any surface you can find. But I know how often you replaced “this” with “life”. I know you’ve thought that dying might be what rights everything in the end.

But I also know you make it. I know that through the years you’ve probably made as many poor choices and you did good ones. They aren’t things to regret, though. These are the stories that connect you to other people. These are the strands of your life that inexorably twist together to make the strength you cover yourself in now.

I don’t have much of a message for you. I just want you to know that I understand. You’ve always been afraid that when you grew up, you’d forget.

Well, you haven’t.

Love,

You (Me)

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