Dear ocean eyes peeping out from the bundle of pink,
Rest your head little one- it comes hard for you, I know, but maybe, just maybe, if Momma and Daddy get just a little more sleep, the screaming would stop.
Wondering who gets me on Christmas
Dear peering through the bars of what used to be your crib,
Momma and Daddy tried to get you excited about the new baby, but it sure made you angry when you could no longer crawl onto Mommy’s lap at bedtime. Give her a shot though, okay? Because later on, sharing Mom’s knees won’t seem so bad when you realize how close you come to losing your baby sister.
Wishing I knew how to love her a little more
Dear did it fall apart because of me,
You’re so young, I know; at four years old, it’s impossible to understand why there’s a new man sleeping on Daddy’s side of the bed. That knot in your stomach every time he comes around is there for a reason, though- trust it. He may kiss your bony, scraped knees today but soon his soothing lips will spit words that cut you like knives.
I don’t know why he won’t call me his little girl anymore
Dear freckled skin and dimpled cheek,
Make the best of these years, sweet child, because they are the ones you will look back on and realize you were truly happy. Nothing will feel as good as pumping your tiny legs on the swing. When the boy comes up to you in Ms. Seaberry’s class and tells you he thinks your lisp is cute, smile your toothless smile and thank him; to this day, you will catch yourself humming Teddy Bear when you’re upset, because he’ll sing it to you every day at recess.
When did frown lines replace snaggle-toothed grins
Dear round glasses and beaver teeth,
On the night of the Nutcracker, don’t pay any mind to the other sugar plum fairies, with their toothpick legs and tiny waists; they’ll pick on you and call you fat, and though that word may leave the burning taste of bile in your mouth, it is better to swallow your pride. No one will notice the tear-streak rivers coursing down your rosy cheeks. Hold your fairy wand high.
Using words to save myself even though they’re why I need saving
Dear first day at a new school,
You will pick a flower today; tall and beautiful, she will be your support for years to come. You will introduce her as your better half. You will hate her at times, you will question why she ever had to come into your life. You will be the punchline of all her jokes; petty arguments will be a daily reality. No matter how terrible it may seem, though, that beautiful Lilly will always be the thing you are most thankful for in life. She needs you just as much as you need her; never let her go.
Forever grateful for the girl who saved my life
Dear why can’t anybody see how hard I’m trying,
I know you are so, so tired; every single thing you do exhausts your restless mind. Simple tasks take every ounce of energy you have. You are shattered and no matter how hard you try, you cannot piece yourself back together. Grades are disappointing. Teachers are disappointed. Dad is disappointed. Mom is disappointed. Jason is disappointed. Leila is disappointed. You are a disappointment.
Why is it so damn easy to hate myself
Dear fighting the need to swallow a bottle of Tylenol,
Everyone told you freshman year would be hard; you didn’t listen. Now, when you find yourself in the bathroom swallowing your fist to choke back the anxiety driven sobs, please remember that you are intelligent. You have galaxies floating in your mind and you must explore them; recognize your wisdom. Though you feel like a withered weed growing in the crack of a sidewalk, nourish yourself. Nourish yourself, because one day, though it is impossible to imagine in those moments, you will recognize yourself as an Amazonian jungle, bursting with life and beauty and all the things you believe you could never be. When that time comes, freshman year will be only a distant memory.
Learning to thread together the shreds of my self-worth
Dear why didn’t I know better,
Falling in love is risky. Falling in love with an older boy is risky. Falling in love with an older boy states away is risky. Your relationship with him is risky. Barely fifteen years old and already words have broken you so badly that it is nearly impossible to believe him when I love you rolls off his tongue. He tells you he wishes he could collect the shattered pieces of you and love them and love you and love your brokenness until you become whole again. The problem is, broken people cannot fix other broken people. You try to love each other whole but in the end, you both will realize that the shards of who you once were will only carve new scars into mangled souls. You cannot love another until you learn to love yourself.
Trying to forgive the boy who showed me my worth by making me feel worthless
Dear things seem to be getting better,
You might still have days where it feels like you cannot place one foot in front of the other. You will still spend insomniac nights telling yourself you do not deserve to wake up the next morning. Just know, for every terrible day, there will be a handful of great ones. Do not give up.
Things are better
Dear ocean eyes peeping out from the bundle of pink,
Rest your head, little one- you will make it.
Jordan Karsten is a student at Southwestern Michigan College; she enjoys creative writing, poetry, and feminist literature. You can follow her on Instagram @jordanalize!
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