Younger me. I know that you are sad. I know you are scared. I see you hiding in your closet, so no one sees you cry. I see you getting home from school, working through your homework as fast as you can. I understand you want to finish this as quickly as possible so you can make mom and dad happy. Maybe today you can cook dinner for them. I know you are failing English. I know you are slacking in math. A class that a year ago, you would have been able to Ace with zero effort. I see you asking mom and dad to take you to the park despite being 13 so you could go on the swings. I see you ignoring how you are the only teenage kid at this park. I see you swinging on the swings for hours despite getting motion sickness. I see you ignoring your pain to protect your parents from theirs. I see you hiding phone calls from the school, so your parents do not need to know. I see you hiding your own pain day after day that your brother turns your family away. I see you trying as hard as you can to make your parents laugh. Making them smile so they do not have to think about their son. Their son who is fighting his own demons in rehab. I see you doing everything in your power to make sure they do not have to worry about you. Sweetheart, I know what you are doing, and I am proud. I am proud of who you are. I am proud to say you are little me. But honey… you can rest. You do not have to be perfect. You do not have to be there for everyone. You do not have to be perfect. It is okay. Everyone will be okay. Everything will work out. It is okay to be sad. You do not have to hide your tears in your sheets. You do not have to run to the bathroom at school during lunch, so you can be alone to cry. You are okay. Talk to someone. Do not bottle up your pain. Honey, you are brave. You are a fighter. You are someone I am proud of. None of this is your fault. There is nothing you can do or could have done. This is not your battle. I know you want to fix this. But this is your older brother’s fight. You cannot save everyone. This is not your fault. When the cops yelled at you, asking what he took, ignore their screams. Ignore the feeling of worthlessness you feel. It is not your fault. You are not responsible for him. It is not your job to know. Honey, you didn’t even know how to say weed. It is okay. It is okay that you did not know what acid was. It is okay you did not see the signs. This is not your fault. You are not responsible. The fact that you were able to get yourself together and spend the whole night awake next to your brother as he screamed and begged to die and did not cry is impressive. You are so strong. You are brave. As you hold his hand and watch your father’s face, it is okay to show weakness. You do not have to make jokes to have your dad smile. You do not have to offer to call mom, so he doesn’t have to. You do not have to be an adult. Be a kid. Be scared. Be weak. It is okay to lower your walls. You do not have to be strong for everyone. You are strong enough. You have more than proven yourself. You do not have to take care of everyone. You do not have to take care of everyone. We do not have to take care of everyone. It will be okay. We will be okay.
I apologize for any typos or grammatical errors. I felt wrong editing this in anyway. I wanted this to be an honest conversation I would have with myself.