10 years ago, I felt the need to make an attempt on my life.
Back then, and for years after, I thought I would never make it through this journey of life without taking it upon myself to end it.
10 years ago, I thought I'd never make it to age 15. 5 years ago, I had slightly more hope: I thought I might live to see 25...but nothing past that.
Now, age 24, a young adult boldly and openly finding my way through the world, I've let go.
I've let go of control. I've let go of the idea that I can dictate how my life goes, and how it ends. I've let go of the idea that if I try hard enough, I can force life to pan out exactly as I've planned. I've let go of the idea that suicide should and could ever be necessary.
And - the child in me is still afraid, and the adult in me still remembers.
The child in me clings to the memories of a 14-year-old girl who held so much terror around the idea of life, she felt she would rather end it than face it.
The adult in me remembers the years that followed the attempt on my life. The hospitalizations, the emotional heartache, the post-traumatic stress.
Today, to mark 10 years of recovery, I would like to write an open letter to both of these parts, the child and the adult. To remind them how beautiful this recovery has been, and how I would not change a moment.
To start, I love you.
I love the way you've fought for life, for survival.
I love the way you asked for help when you needed it. I love that though your pain felt unendurable, you never let it become too late, too deep, to mend.
I love your power.
And I know.
I know your pain. I know your anger. I know that underneath it all, underneath the mask, lies a vulnerable fear of loneliness.
I know it feels like you may never get better. I know it feels hopeless.
I also know you. I know your heart. I know your beauty. I know your capacity for love.
I know you'll need to forgive yourself someday, and I know right now that day feels like it may never arrive.
In some ways, I wish you could see what I've seen. If you could, you'd know that day arrives. You'd know there will be a moment when you'll take yourself to the ocean, sit on the rocks, soak your feet in the water and know: I forgive myself, fully and completely.
In some ways, I wish you could live what I've lived. If you could, you'd know that you'll find the most beautiful love a soul could ever know. You'd know you'll reach a moment when 25 simply becomes an age you'll experience, not an age that symbolizes the end.
In some ways, I wish you could hear what I've heard. If you could, you'd know that your voice will be powerful. You'd know that you will change lives, and that your dreams are all coming to fruition because you've let them, because you've encouraged them, because you've believed in you.
In some ways, I wish that for you. At the end of the day, though, I know this time has yet to come for you. I know these moments only exist for me because of the heartache you endured. I know I only stand here today, living, thriving, because you almost did not.
Most of all, I want you know I see you. I see your courage. You will never be the absence of fear, beautiful self, because you know now: your courage is not that you wanted to rid yourself of fear (though there were certainly times you wished you could) - your courage is that you felt the fear...and you survived.
There have been moments when I've wished I could have taken back all of the pain, the traumas, the terrible things that have happened.
And then I look at my life, and I realize that it is worth living, and that I love myself and my people wholly and fully - and I couldn't have reached this point without the fear my 14-year-old self went through.
Cheers to 10 years of recovery. Cheers to 10 years free from an attempt on my life. Cheers to 10 more years (and then maybe another 50) of this beautiful journey. Cheers to being alive.