Here is a short, incomplete, non-sequential list of things that, once upon a time, I wish someone had said to me when I was crying.
May it, perhaps, help you.
1. Right now, in this moment, who you are is bright and brilliant. You don’t think you are, but you are. You are amazing right now. I know you don’t believe it. But you are a miracle. And you don’t know it right now, but you will be amazing. You are going to be so brave and strong and courageous and vivid and passionate that you will marvel at where you stand.
2. You will belong. You will be loved and you will love so fiercely that it will make everything else, everything else. I promise. It will happen. Not when you think. Not in the way you think. But you will open your eyes and realize that there are people who you have chosen who you belong to and with… and who you will belong to and with forever, even when you live half a world away.
3. The people who love us will do very cruel things without knowing that what they are doing is cruel. They will probably never apologize. Because they will have no idea. These things they do do not negate the fact that they love us. These things do not negate the good. But all of the good doesn’t mean the bad doesn’t exist.
4. You still get to love the person they were to you when it was good. You have that right. But, you also have the right to stop loving them because of who they are when it is bad.
5. What you did just now was so brave. I am sorry no one noticed. I am so sorry they did not understand. I am so sorry that you held out your hand and asked in such a small voice to be helped. You ask for help so rarely. I am so sorry they smacked your hand away. I am sorry they yelled when what you needed was for them to sit beside you and watch the sun set over the lake. I am so sorry. Be brave.
Someday, you will be in tears and someone will help you. These people will welcome you and they will let you sleep on their couch for a week and they will wonder, truly wonder, why you didn’t ask them sooner. And they will not understand when you try to tell them. But they will accept you anyway. And they will help you. And then, you will find more people who will hold your hand. And one day, completely by surprise, you won’t need their help anymore. Not like you did. So, finally, it will be your turn to hold their hands.
You will hold so many hands. Strangers. Friends. You will be there when people you barely know and people you love sit down to cry. When they rage. When they hurt. And you will make them cry harder and you will make them laugh and you’ll make them punch their pillows and it will be enough. You will hold their hands because the pain you’ve carried has made you kind and brave.
6. You don’t have to put your head down and take it. Not anymore. Not ever again. It’s easy to fall back into that. But please don’t. Try really hard not to. You do not under any circumstances deserve it. You did nothing to deserve it.
7. You are bright and brilliant. think you need these people who, whether they know it or not, are trying to make you less bright and brilliant. You don’t need people who tell you to close your mouth. To get in line.
Do you remember when you were little and you were drawing on the floor of your grandmother’s house?
A woman stood at the door watching you. She asked your mother: “Does she color in the lines?”
“Color in the lines? Oh no,” your mother said, sounding insulted. “She makes the lines.”
You are that. You are the one who makes the lines. If you can, as often as you can, remember that.
8. It is okay to be afraid. But you don’t have to be if you don’t want to be. You are braver than you know. Move toward it.
9. I know. I know. You don’t believe in yourself right now. You think that this moment is proof – final, irrefutable proof that you deserved it. That you are weak. That you are small. That you are an unworthy. A coward. You’re not any of those things.
You make the lines.
You get to choose.
You can stay here with me for a little while. You can cry here as long as you need. But before you know it, you’ll be standing up and you’ll be going out there to face the wolves as you have a hundred times and as you will a hundred more.
You don’t believe. But I believe in you.
10. I have your back. Go on; I believe in you.