Dear No Name (NoNa),
Someone once told me that I couldn’t see that I lived in a broken world. By saying that, it made it seem as if that person was living in an unbroken world, and that I was somehow missing from that perfect world. But “the world” is just the view from a kaleidoscope of lenses. If you look at each individual piece, you realize that the world is broken, fragmented, and splintered in ways that are unimaginable.
Billions and billions of eyes look out at each other from their individually shattered worlds. They strain to see past their own bubbles to criticize those around them because it’s easier to fix someone else than it is to fix yourself. But what needs fixing? Your broken bones are what give you shape. How can they be anything but beautiful?
I’m not going to say that what you went through doesn’t matter, because it does. Your pain is an irreplaceable existence, no matter how great or small. And I want you to know that I know how it feels…I may not have gone through what you did, everyone is different after all, but the feelings are the same:
The feeling of dread as you hear your name being called; the feeling of hearing someone else’s name called and knowing that you’re next; to see it—whatever “it” maybe for you—happening to someone else and knowing that you’re next. I know that terror. That panic. That cold dread that washes over you and freezes you in place.
The feeling of ugliness where all you want to do is rip off your own flesh. You want to peal it off like bark and be made new again. You don’t want to know what you know. You want to erase it, erase it from every inch of your heart. Suddenly, within a day, you feel like you have aged hundred years.
I know how that feels.
The feeling of relief when you are with your friends. With them, you can pretend to still be normal. With them, you can still be whole. But then it hits you. The feeling of such a deep divide that it pierces all the way to the center of your heart. The feeling that this time with your friends, this safe time will come to an end and you will have to go back. When you realize that, you just want to stop time so that you can stay in that happy moment forever, even if it’s fake.
You look around you and just watch. As their smiles brighten, yours fades. Everyone you see is so happy around you and you want to reach out to touch that bubble of light. You want that warmth that they have. But you pull your hand back because you’re afraid that you’ll pop their happiness with the ugliness in you—that you’ll contaminate it with the black stain you are carrying. You’re afraid that if they knew what had happened to you, they would leave you. They would call you names or a liar. They would look at you in disgust, as if you were the monster.
I know how that feels.
The feeling of being endlessly chased day after day, year after year, by the shadow of what happened to you. It’s always chasing you. Sometimes it’s so close that it haunts your steps. Other times it seems so far away that it’s not even within sight. But it’s always there. So you keep running, never stopping, never slowing to ask for help. “I’m are better off alone,” you tell yourself, but deep inside of you, a small part also hopes and prays that someone will turn around to the cry deep in your soul; that someone will hear your screaming heart; that just someone will reach out and not care how bloody you are or how dirty you are from what happened to you.
You just need one person to believe in you. Just one person to stay by your side. Just one person to never leave you and wipe your tears away and say that you are safe now.
I know how that feels.
The feeling of the good days that make you forget all the pain that has happened; of the good days that make you think that everything you went through was worth it … But I also know of the days that come that are so happy that they make you feel empty. It’s so strange: you are finally free, you are finally successful, you have friends, perhaps even a family. Yet, sometimes during the happiest times of your life, there is that hole in your heart. That shadow that sits in a little corner of your heart like a black hole and sucks everything into it leaving you empty.
My dear, dear NoNa, I know how that feels.
When you look at yourself, you are like the monsters that prowl the night. You have been broken so that there’s nothing left inside of you but hatred and fear. Yet, you are also empty. Totally and completely empty.
And I understand that sometimes the best thing for when you feel empty is to just be alone, away from everyone so that you can calm your crying heart. But if at any time you feel empty but don’t want to be alone, remember that this is a safe place. Remember that I am a safe friend to turn to. I know your tears without having to see you cry because I have shed those same bitter tears. I know your pain without having to see your scars because I still carry those same marks. I hear your screams without having to see your open mouth because my heart has already screamed itself raw.
In my eyes, you are beautiful. In my eyes, your scars are beautiful. In my eyes, that haunting shadow you are desperately trying to outrun is beautiful because if you hadn’t been the one singled out, you wouldn’t be the person you are right now. And I think that the person you are right now is irreplaceable. Yes, I truly believe that you are irreplaceable, no matter what you have done or what you have gone through.
So, no, you don’t need to tell me what happened. You don’t need to say anything because I already understand. And from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you:
Thank you for your hard work.
Thank you for your endurance.
Thank you for living.
Thank you for being you.