Dear Eighth-Grade Amanda,
I know how one after another, they roll down in rivers, following the familiar ravines of salt previously carved by pains less immediate than the current one that engulfs you. I know the dull ache, that causes them to pool in the back of your mind till your quick blinks and tear soiled fingers can abate them no longer and they pour out with what seems like no end.
Down your cheeks and off your chin.
I know that without the heaving sobs that wrack your entire body, the little drops of water would land perfectly in the same spot, slowly dampening the pillow you clutch to your chest, but since you’re harrowed up with the feeling of never being able to get enough breathe, those little drops of water lay speckled in disarray without any pattern, without any purpose but to simply exist as a symbol of your perceived purposelessness.
I’ve been there before.
I’ve laid scattered about in disarray, fragments of what I supposed myself to be; shattered from the impending weight that is my future.
I’ve felt the endless possibilities pool in the front of my mind and block out any rational thought that could slip through and give a whisper of reason to my irrational soul.
One on top of the other they pile.
Those questions of what will I do, what will I be? How can I ever become all that I’m supposed to when I lay shattered into shards not even as big as the speckled spots on my pillow?Amidst this deafening torrent of “you will never be enough,” and “give up,” a whisper does slip through.
You are not alone.
Take that singular thought and cling desperately to it even if a tidal wave of scalding self-criticisms and terrifyingly accurate judgments about your flaws, your faults, the fears you hold closest to your heart, that would like nothing better than to drown you in hopelessness, come crashing down.
Create a tiny life raft, in a sea of tears.
It grows and shrinks with how much care and thought is put into it, and honestly, sometimes you’ll forget about it altogether and sink into the depths of a gentle subconscious that beckons you to come deeper and live beneath the waves for a while.
Heed that small whisper when it advises you that the waves are there to make you stronger and better, just as long as you cling to the little raft.
Fasten yourself on even when the winds whip at your hair and drive you hap hazardously to uncharted waters where tentacled appendages grasp at your wrists and arms with tiny suckers that leave their scars. In times of calm, mend your little raft and piece together your shattered soul to be stronger and better then it was before.
And though I still have the ravines of salt that fill from time to time, and little moon scars from darker years, the sun has dried up my little drops of water and any lingering doubts that previously haunted my mind are kept at bay by that still small whisper.
You are stronger then you know and worth more then you could ever imagine.