Hug time” by Koen Jacobs is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

TW: Trauma

To those of you who haven’t heard it today, let it be known:

That I’m so sorry people didn’t listen to you.
That your feelings are valid
for no other reason than that it’s what you feel
(and no one has the right to take them away from you),
for no other reason than that it’s a part of who you are
because you have a right to exist.
Yes, you have a right to exist but also to live,
to live and to be treated equally,
to be treated equally and to love and be loved.

I promise you
You’re not selfish for wanting a good life.
You’re not selfish for not wanting to say goodbye.
Because you’ve lived a whole life where when you were 8, you were 12,
and when you were 16, you were 20,
and when you turned 18, you became 16 again,
and as the years go by, you feel like you’re getting younger and younger
as the whole world just passes by.

And the truth is there’s nothing wrong with you for staying home on weekend nights,
looking through social media posts and wondering why you aren't like the people smiling
in those pictures. There’s nothing wrong with sitting alone in a cafeteria and wondering
what it’d be like if you had 1, 2, or maybe even 8 more people sitting there with you.
There’s nothing wrong with wondering the “what if” and the “how” as you go down
memory lane and just wish you could do anything to change it.
There’s nothing wrong with wishing other people didn’t hear a “yes”
because they wouldn’t take your “no” for an answer.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to wake up in a new life where
when you were 8, you could be 8,
and when you turned 18, you were able to turn 18.

And I know people say things, but
darn all the comments about how it’s a waste of time
to sulk in your bed with messy hair, to eat quesadillas
to hide your pain, and to think about “what ifs;”
Darn all the comments about how you can just be happy when you can stop being sad;
Darn all the comments that you just need to move on;
That the 19 years of your life are just 19 years; and
That you just need to think more positively to feel different about something you’ve felt your whole life.
Because when you know how you feel about your own life, you have the right to own it.
And I’m sorry people invalidated you.
I’m sorry they didn’t hear you when you sought help,
When all you wanted was someone to hear you the way you talk to yourself in your head.
Because the scariest thing about thoughts are that when you keep them bottled up,
and you look in a mirror, you don’t see yourself looking back at you.
And every time you think about something you consider a part of you,
it almost feels like they’re all parts of people you know,
and you start to wonder if you even exist,
and if the person you want to become will ever be born.

It’s okay to take time to grieve
Because you can take as many years as you need to miss the life that
wasn’t, isn’t, won’t be, and could have been.
There’s no specific number of years it's supposed to take:
it can be 1 year, 10 years, or more,
and no matter what, it’s valid because
the life you wanted was really real to you,
and when you’re feeling something, that’s all that matters.

And I know, I know all these words
Will never even come close to illuminating how hard it is,
how painful it is,
how wronged you have been
for the struggles and trauma you have overcome.
I know while I may never know exactly how it feels
other than it hurts and feels like there’s no tomorrow,
I still wanna say that I am so sorry
because sorries don’t even cut it and never will.

But let it be known:

Here is an acknowledgement that it hurts like there’s no tomorrow.
Here’s an acknowledgement that you have scars:
scars that are permanent with effects that are not,
yet they hurt all the same (and that’s okay)!
Here’s an acknowledgement there are a million things you could have been but so much got in the way,
Here’s an acknowledgement you are the only version of you that
has existed, currently exists, and will exist.
That there has never been, nor there is, nor will there ever be another version of you.
because when you were 8, you were 12,
and when you were 8, you had the right to be 8,
and when you were 16, you had the right to be 16,
and when you were 18, you had the right to be 18,
and your story deserves to be heard, to be validated, and to be appreciated for what it is.