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A Letter to 15 Year Old Me: 15 Years Later

A Reflection

By Kelsey O'MalleyPublished about a year ago 3 min read
Top Story - December 2022
A Letter to 15 Year Old Me: 15 Years Later
Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

Hi Kelsey, 

I realize that these types of exercises are usually for the purposes of attracting other readers for the sake of "relatability." You and I both know that we are only "relatable" to a minority of people. I know that you have always felt like an outsider, you were never given any clear answers as to why that is. You just know that whatever you were getting bullied for is a bullshit reason. Your classmates will make up EVERY excuse in the book as to why that was; they will claim ignorance, the stupidity of youth, whatever the excuse of the week happens to be.

No, we will not get the apology from all of our classmates that we had been hoping for. There will be no tears of guilt over the pain and suffering that they have caused us for our entire childhood. Those people will carry on either having happy families or else getting extensive criminal records for various offenses. You and me, on the other hand, suffer from the PTSD of it while also struggling to prove our humanity to random strangers whose ideas about disability are stuck in the 1990's.

There will be people, including your own family, who still doubt that you will make it.  

Sure, it would be satisfying if the children of those people came upon posts like this and confronted their parents about their past, but we both know that won't happen. Their past won't even be so much as a blip in their monitor except to look back fondly, nostalgically. We will not even have the privilege to look back at all so fondly. After many attempts of trying to make friends in a new city, there will be people who will gaslight, manipulate, and abuse you because they have never lived a life with family dysfunction, abuse, or even friction. 

Nobody will come and save us, we will have to be our own hero. At least that will be our thought process during this time. We will be alone for quite a while, we will still have so much pain that we have to process. You will learn that it is okay to ask for help even if the help is not "helpful." Learning to advocate for yourself will be the biggest hurdle that you have ever faced.

After a long time of loneliness, anxiety, and stress we have found our "community." We have found people who understand us, help us push through our pain. We have even found someone who loves us for who we are, knows about our past but still accepts us anyway. I know that it sounds really hard to believe. After being told for years that we are just monsters that should be put away, that we are violent, not worthy of love. Your partner will be nothing but caring for you and considerate of your every want and need. He will know exactly how it feels to be left in the sidelines.

There are so many things about ourselves that we have yet to discover; those uncomfortable feelings about yourself as a woman. They are valid, it will be scary because it will be "new" to you. Please trust the process that you will be going through for the next fifteen years and quite possibly 15 more years. It will be hell majority of the time, there is going to be a massive pandemic that will change the world that you have known and make things worse….

But, at the risk of sounding cliché, it does get better. 

Sincerely with love, 

Kelsey, at 30 Years Old.

ChildhoodFriendshipHumanityTeenage yearsFamily

About the Creator

Kelsey O'Malley

Canadian Autistic writer! Creator of the Breaking the (Autistic) Code series, Autistic Woman Vs, and Who is the Real Monster!

Want to support my work? Consider donating to my paypal at @kelseyomalley

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (12)

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  • Robby Talabout a year ago

    I’ve had so many “if only I had known” moments lately… this story truly hit the spot for me.

  • Carol Townendabout a year ago

    I was a child of the 90s who was bullied, then went through it all again, even after becoming a parent. In 1998 I met the most wonderful man I could possibly meet, and I married him. Here in 2022, we are still married and we have been through a lot. I also have PTSD. Please remember you are worthy and valued, and one day you'll find love too. Thank you for your story.

  • Kathleen Simmonsabout a year ago

    This is like a good self-critical analysis for yourself.

  • Feyreabout a year ago

    this had me in tears, beautiful.

  • This comment has been deleted

  • Bhagirath Royabout a year ago

    What a beautiful write up of a really lovely, heartwarming life story! Thank you, Erica, for hosting and asking exactly the questions that popped into my mind, and thank you, Dane, for sharing your story with us. I can’t wait to go read it 🥰

  • Erica Wagnerabout a year ago

    Compassionate and inspiring. You’ll make your readers think how they could look back & help their younger selves —

  • Caitlin Nightingaleabout a year ago

    love this point “learning to advocate for yourself will be the biggest hurdle you’ve ever faced”.

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Wonderfully written inspirational letter!!! Loving it!!!

  • Aaron Hubermanabout a year ago

    Very inspiring. if only your 15 year old self could actually read it. Im sure the extra support would have been nice to read.

  • Evleen Zeidanabout a year ago

    I loved every bit of your letter and how you provide that depth of insight on the complexities of not having closure yet still evolving ❤️🫶🏼

  • Inspired by This Piece 🥰🥹❤️🌹💋💯👍

  • Gina C.about a year ago

    Wow, what a powerful and emotional message to yourself, thank you so much for sharing. I’m so glad things have gotten better and your present self is able yo leave the assuring words for your past ❤️ Well done

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