A letter of comfort written by Robyn Harper to her 15 year old self.
Dear 15 Year Old Me. I’m writing to tell you: It Got Better
Yesterday was a tough day for you. That time you spent in the bathroom will forever remain in your memory.
You made your admission, to yourself. It was in your head before, but yesterday felt like your first real recognition of it. You held on to that sink so tightly as you leaned over it. You faced yourself in the mirror that hung above it. The sink held you up as your knees weakened. Your grip got tighter, your stare more intense. You felt like you were looking into your heart, your soul. You stared for what like felt like hours but was only seconds. You hardly blinked. Then the tears came. “I am gay.” You sobbed aloud. Your posture slumped as you heard those words over and over in your head. “What are you going to do?” you asked yourself. The sink caught your tears. You weren’t expecting an answer.
Panic set in. It overwhelmed you. It was a feeling of loss. All the things you thought you would never have raced through your head; the wedding, the spouse, the family, the children, the home. You thought you would never have the life that you could see everyone else living. You were different and you acknowledged it yesterday. How were you going to carry this secret forever? How were you going live a lie? You felt so alone. This would never be a part of you. You thought you couldn’t do it. Why you?
You will look back in time. You will wonder, were you talking to yourself in that mirror, or was your ego talking to you. You know that part of you that wants to fit in with society and feels safe when it thinks you’re just like everyone else?
It all makes sense to you now. The haircuts, the soccer, the hanging with the boys, the anxiety around girls, the aversion to dresses, the dislike of dolls, the love of He-Man, that particular teacher, that obsession with Madonna, those scrapes on your knees, no interest in make-up, no dreams of your wedding.
I know you acknowledged it over the sink yesterday, but you haven’t accepted it yet. That will come later. But you will accept it. You’ll even embrace it. You may not believe that right now, but it’s all ahead of you. You’ll fall in love. I know you’ll smile when I tell you she’s beautiful. You’ll fall in love a couple of times in fact. Each love will add to your life and help you learn things you never would have without their contribution. Be grateful for them and be grateful towards them.
You will make many gay friends. Some of them become your best friends. I know you don’t know any gay people right now and that’s scary but don’t you worry, they come in abundance. You never lose your Libra love of the social life. Your twenties are colored by fun.
I know you wish you weren’t gay. I know you wish it wasn’t happening to you. I know you feel hard done by. You learn in time that you don’t really feel like that at all. Believe me when I tell you that you ultimately embrace who you are. You’ll come to feel so proud and so strongly about it that it will pain you to hear of others going through what you went through and how you felt. You will make it part of your life’s work to help others accept and embrace every part of them. You come to see the good in it. You even make it your own.
I have to ask you something now. I need you to be brave. Look nowhere for strength but inside your heart. The strength is already there. You just need to look for it. When you find it, you’ll come out to your family and friends. You’re lucky. They already knew. Nothing changes, except how you feel about yourself. It’s a weight lifted, a sense of freedom. Life no longer feels like a lie. You feel free. It’s the last piece of the jigsaw. You’re now complete. You’ll feel it.
In return, my promise to you is that; it does get better. My dear Robyn, it got better. You’re now twenty-nine. You’re now very happy. You never looked back. And you wouldn’t change a thing.
Just remember. You are unique, there’s only one of you. If you ever worry that you are different – just think how boring it would be if we were all the same! You will take pride in expressing your individuality. You’ll march in parades. You will fly the flag of pride. You’ll witness States and Countries around the world embrace change and embrace equality. You’ll do your bit. You’ll be part of it. You may even marry and start a family some day. They are your choices. You lost nothing.
I hope you believe me. You just wait and see.
“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” ― Guillaume Apollinaire