To my younger self,
Hey, it’s me. I know that I look a lot older, but I promise that it’s still me. I am here to talk to you and help you out, because I know how tough life can get. I know that throughout the years, you have cried over and over about how unfair life is. It seems like endless challenges have been thrown your way, so I’m here to tell you that it will get better.
Six years old is pretty fun, huh? You love reading in your room on your favorite yellow stool. You go to the park a lot, because going on the swings makes you laugh so hard that your tummy hurts. You go to the temple with mum every Sunday, because it’s nice and calm there. You love every day, because you get to see your friends, and you get to tell stories with them. I know your absolute favourite thing to do was figure skate. That is, until you had your accident. My love, I know it hurts, but I promise you that you will heal, and later on, you’ll go skating with your friends every winter.
Ten years old. You’re in Grade 5, which means you’re the oldest, and you feel the coolest. But be nice to the younger grades. Remember, they’re scared too. I know you’re wondering if what’s happening at home is normal. I know that you feel confused, and lost, but baby girl it’s not your fault. You are hurting, at home, at school, and at taekwondo. I think that’s why you’re so good at it. It helped you take all your anger away. I know you wished someone would’ve helped you. You prayed for a different family, a different mother. But no one came to your rescue. The bruises and scars were not visible. Most importantly, the heartache wasn’t either. My love, I know it hurts, but I promise you that you will heal, and later on, you’ll get the help you need.
Twelve years old is pretty crazy, right? You found your largest passion in life. Dance. I know that feel so proud that your first-year dancing, is actually your first year competing as well. I know it brings you this feeling that you cannot describe. I still cannot describe this feeling. But there cannot be flowers without rain. You are so overwhelmed. The abuse at home has not stopped, and you cannot numb the pain. You think everything is your fault, so you hurt yourself. You hurt yourself until that is not enough, and the only thing you crave is protection and love. So, you tell your counsellor at school. Dad was so mad that he almost crashed the car with you in it. Mom almost bought a plane ticket back to China. My love, I know it hurts, but I promise you that you will heal, and later on, you’ll meet a woman named Rachel. She’ll help you.
Sixteen years old. A lot has changed. You look different because you get your eyebrows done every other week, and you wear makeup. I know you're stressed though. High school, especially one where you major in dance, is a lot. You also compete in dance, and I am proud that you’re able to balance everything. On the outside, everything looks perfect. But on the inside, well, you have never felt worse. You have never experienced loss, or a true love until now. I’m sorry you had to experience both at once. I know her promises seemed real, and her eyes… Her eyes were beautiful. Too bad they told you lies. I know you can’t stop crying when she leaves. No one can fix the pain, not even Rachel. So, you cry, and cry, and cry. You beg her to come back. She doesn’t. I’m sorry but now I can say for sure… She is not coming back. I know it hurts. I know it hurt so much that you tried to die. I’m sorry the hospital was so lonely and cold. My love, I know it hurts, but I promise you that you will heal, and later on, she will try to come back. But you will say no this time.
Eighteen. Almost thirty separate hospital visits. Almost $3000 spent on drugs. More than 365 days starving. I know it seems like it will never, ever, ever get better. You think you are meant to live in pain, because you solemnly swear that skinny is the only thing you want. You cry every night, wishing someone was there to hold your hand. You think Susan, Rachel, and every other health professional is going crazy. Everyone is going crazy but you. Oh, baby girl, please listen to them. They are right. You put yourself through so much pain. Laxatives. Starving. Fainting. Binging. Purging. Over-exercising. Cutting. Using. Dying. You swear that every treatment program is failing you. The waitlists are too long, the rules are too strict. You are lost, and scared. Do you remember this feeling from when you were twelve? You think moving back home will kill you, and it certainly felt like it was. Every argument was a reason to “never eat again”. Every night when you fall asleep, you are scared. Scared that you won’t wake up, and that you will. My love, I know it hurts, but I promise you that you will heal, and later on, you will eat chocolate, while Susan wears an avocado hat.