Dear Who I Once Was,
There’s no need for pleasantries between us. We still dislike “How are you?”.
I know you couldn’t imagine living beyond the year ever since you had the concept of existence. But whether we like it or not, we’ve survived. “Survival” never even crossed your mind then. No one ever noticed. Likewise, unnoticed even by yourself. You’ve long mastered the disappearing act.
Gone someplace uncaged by skin.
Take my soul, wash me free from sin.
Feelings lie beyond the shore.
I dream of sinking, when I wish to soar.
I wish I had all of these poems you wrote back when you were barely a teen. I find it a pity that only a tiny fraction remains. I like your poems. As cringey as it may be. I know you found release within those poems and stories. You didn’t know what you were feeling when you wrote them. It gave Who I Am Now a lot of insight into Who I Once Was.
These words you wrote have left a lasting impression on both of us.
I’m a prisoner of my own mind.
At the mercy of my emotions.
Maybe a calm mind is fleeting for us; there is no shame in this. Because I know we’ve tried.
We’ve tried so hard for so long.
Whilst outwardly nothing seemed wrong.
Your cries ring out in a voiceless song.
Muffled ears it fell upon.
“Sorry” still hangs off our lips like dead skin, the more you peel, the worse it gets. However, I want to celebrate improvement in setting and respecting my boundaries. I am proud that you’ll discover and define your needs. I am even more proud that you’ll give yourself permission to prioritise your needs. I want to applaud each time you stayed present and explored why you felt obligated and guilty. It is a stride towards breaking free from the shackles of your past, isn’t it? As uncomfortable as this makes you and I, let us sit in discomfort with the praise for a minute. I AM PROUD OF YOU. (Kudos and thank you to my therapist for all your support, care and invaluable life lessons.)
Remember what you said depression is to us?
Feeling like dying.
Wanting to live;
Not knowing how to.
Who I Am Now, wish to say to Who I Once Was: You’ll learn to try to live. Your curiosity will guide you. Thank you for always trying your best. I’m glad you stayed true to who you are. I want to acknowledge your pain when no one else did. I know it’s terribly difficult for you. Life threw dung at you and you baked it into a Devil’s food cake. Which you’ll later decorate with chocolate icing “Congrats’ you’re Autistic!” decades later. Thank you for surviving.
May there be respite in knowing:
You will survive.
You will reach the shore.
Your body belongs to you only.
Your reality is valid.
Your feelings matter.
Your voice has power.
Who I Am Now