Dear me at ages 4 through 20: Don’t put your fingers down your throat. It wont make him love you. And he’s wrong, even if you’re fat, other people will want to be with you.
Dear me at age 6: Just because everyone in the girl’s bathroom screams at you to get out because your short hair makes them think you’re a boy, it doesn’t mean you have to live the rest of your life never feeling feminine enough.
Dear me at age 8: This is the first time you hurt yourself on purpose; using a piece of broken wood to saw at your wrists while your parents fight, as they always do. You’ll do some version of this for the next 10+ years and sometimes this will be the only way you’re able to survive. Right now, that’s all you need to do: survive.
Dear me at age 10: You want to die so badly and can’t stop writing poems about death. I want to hold you so tightly and promise I’ll protect you forever.
Dear me at age 10: Fat camp was a very bad idea. You’re the biggest one there and no one allows you to forget that. You still feel like an outsider. You’re not just fat, you’re too fat. You hate every moment you’re there but you’ll go back next year, so desperate to have an acceptable body. Remember, these people are assholes.
Dear me at age 13: Just because no one believes what he did, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean you’re “crazy” or “imagining things.” Don’t doubt the truth, even if no one else can see it.
Dear me at age 13 through 17: High school sucks. Just do anything you have to in order to stay alive.
Dear me at age 16: Please, just hold on a little longer, things will get better. I know these words mean nothing but you will get through this.
Dear me at age 17: When your closest friend asks if you were molested and you tell her the truth, and she responds with, “Ew! That’s disgusting! Why did you tell me that?!” And you whisper, face burning with shame, “Because you asked me.” And she responds, “Well you should have lied.” When all that happens, tell her to go fuck herself.
Dear me at age 19: Going to industrial and bondage clubs and finally allowing people to touch and kiss you is totally okay. Don’t ever feel like you’re doing something wrong by embracing the sexual part of yourself.
Dear me at age 22: You have a very nice therapist and a therapy group that does nothing for you. This is a good start. Being put on a psych med for the first time is going to change your life for the better. It doesn’t make you weak, I promise.
Dear me at age 23: He doesn’t deserve you. He won’t change. Him being ashamed of you is about him being a fucking coward, not about you being too disgusting to leave the house.
Dear me at age 24: Be careful. This job is everything you’ve ever wanted but it’s going to change. No matter how many times they say so, they aren’t your family. Please, don’t let them fuck you over.
Dear me at age 24: He still doesn’t deserve you. He won’t change. Him being ashamed of you is about him being a fucking coward, not about you being too disgusting to leave the house.
Dear me at age 25: He still doesn’t deserve you. He won’t change. Him being ashamed of you is about him being a fucking coward, not about you being too disgusting to leave the house.
Dear me at age 26: I’m so proud of you for breaking up with him and I know you think you won’t be able to survive the pain and loss you’re feeling now but you will.
Dear me at age 26: New therapist, new psychiatrist, new psych meds. These are amazing things.
Dear me at age 28: Weight loss surgery changes everything. For good and bad.
Dear me at age 29: You’re (voluntarily) put in a psych ward after months of drinking alone and watching MST3K to keep my suicidal ideation at bay. You want to die. No. You just want the pain to stop. You need to be somewhere you can’t hurt yourself. I know you’re terrified. I know you don’t want to go but you will anyway. And I am so fucking proud of you. You spend eight days there. With books and videos and exercise equipment. You feel safe and hopeful and when you go home, you’ll be on new drugs and you’ll realize your life means something.
Dear me at 29: I know he hurt you for three long years. I know he proved your father right, that no one could love a fat girl like you. I know it’s terrifying but it’s time to let this shit go. But it’s been three years. Three years and you still haven’t moved on. It’s time to date and fuck and go on adventures. Eventually he will be nothing more than a blip on your radar when you examine your past and try to understand why you stayed. Why you believed that he was all you deserved.
Dear me at 30: Fuck who you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. One thing, though. Demand orgasms! Ask for oral! Tell them what you need. Demand what you need! Now go have some fun!
Dear me at age 30: You’ll never forget the smell of gun powder or the visual of his body or the open eyes with no life behind them. He hurt you for so many years and it’s okay to feel confused and angry. It isn’t your fault. You will feel safe for the first time in your life.
Dear me at age 30: You’re a fucking mark and he’s a con-man who says he loves you. You believe him because who would lie about that? This ends in four months and he sucks you dry; taking everything you have and feeling zero remorse. You deserve someone better.
Dear me at age 31: He loves you and you love him. He’s kind and amazing and wants only to make you happy. When he commits suicide, don’t blame yourself. I know it destroys you but try to remember this isn’t your fault, his pain was too deep and he was tired of fighting. Love him, understand him, and forgive him. And forgive yourself.
Dear me at age 32: I know it doesn’t feel like it but moving to Alabama is going to be the best decision you’ve ever made. You build an amazing family, you realize that your uber-kinky desires don’t make you an awful person, and you have incredible doctors who listen to you and help you in ways you never thought possible.
Dear me at 33: Mama dies. You’re not a bad daughter. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life trying to make her proud. You’ll always remember the way her hands and arms look. All she ever wanted was for you to be happy and to go out and create a life that brings you joy. Because these are things she never had.
Dear me at 33: You’re going into the psych ward again and it’s just as terrifying as last time. Mama’s death caused you to rapidly spin into severe depression and wanting…planning…to die. I am so proud of you for calling your therapist and telling her you want to die and don’t know how to stop yourself this time. This place is nothing like the one you stayed in when you had private insurance. It’s you and nine people with schizophrenia in a maximum security lock down ward. You’re the only one there voluntarily and not having hallucinations. These 10 days feel like hell on earth but you survive and walk out feeling better than you ever have.
Dear me at 34: Too many guys will tell you that they like fat girls but you’re just TOO fat to be attractive. They are assholes. Your dating hiatus helps you in innumerable ways so stick with it. Date yourself, spoil yourself, focus on yourself. Have a lot of awesome sex and kink play. It’s a good year for you.
Dear me at 35: We’ll meet in December. I know your life is nothing like you imagined. You were supposed to be in a long term relationship, have a PhD, and live a wonderful life. It’s okay that these things didn’t happen. I know you don’t believe that yet but it’s true. I promise.