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Open Letter to 15-Year-Old, Suicidal Me

The Letter I Wish I Had Received Ten Years Ago

By Elizabeth BrandonPublished 6 years ago 3 min read

I know how badly you’re hurting. I can still close my eyes and picture you, standing in front of that mirror, looking at those bloody bruises. I can still hear the sounds of you crying out in pain and terror. I know those cracked ribs make it hurt to take even the shallowest breath. I remember the burning pain from that gash across your stomach, from his ring. And that’s not the worst of it.

But I promise you, that will all change eventually. The vivid bruises will fade. Your ribs will heal. Ten years later, that gash on your stomach will just be a scar. I wish I could show you that, because I know you can’t believe it now. You will heal.

I’m not going to say, “I’m sorry for what you went through,” because I know how much you hate that. I know how much you hate being seen or thought of as a victim. That’s one of the reasons why, in a few years, it will be so hard for you to open up about this. Here’s what I will say: this will not define you. You are not defined by those couple of hours of your life. Don’t forget that. It can be hard to remember, but please try.

You are a rape survivor. There’s no way to sugarcoat that. You are that one in six American women—and let’s be honest, the number is probably even higher than that. But guess what? You’re going to be okay. You’re not unlucky because of this. You’re not broken. You’re not damaged goods. I know you feel like that. It won’t help when you take health class next year and the teacher says that a girl who’s had sex is like a chewed up piece of gum. It will take years for you to fully realize that they’re wrong, but they are. So, so wrong.

Nearly ten years later, it still makes me sad to think about how young you are. You may not want to admit it, but you’re a kid. No one of any age should have to say that they’re a rape survivor, but you’re only 15. It’s sad that you have to be going through this now. I wish you could’ve been just a normal kid a little longer.

If there was one thing I could go back and tell you, it’s that you’re going to survive. I know right now you feel like you’d prefer to just curl up in a ball and die. We both know that soon, you’re going to act on that impulse, and almost succeed. You’re going to hate yourself even more than you already do. You’re going to be mad that you’re still here. But I promise, it’s a good thing that you’re still here. You still have hopes and dreams—you haven’t forgotten that. You matter to people—maybe you have forgotten that, but you’ll remember it again. You’d rather die than slap on a fake smile, go back to school, and pass by him in the halls. I know that just the thought of him makes your blood boil. But that will change. You’ll learn to forgive and stop hating him—I know, crazy, right? Even harder to believe, though—you’re going to forgive yourself. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick. But the best things usually aren’t easy of quick.

Please remember, you’re not broken. I know you feel like you are, but you’re wrong. You’re going to survive. You’re a rape survivor, but you’re also a writer, an animal lover, a friend, and so many other things. You’re strong. You are so damn strong. Don’t forget that.

Love, 25-year-old you.


About the Creator

Elizabeth Brandon

Lover of travel, wildlife, writing and adventure. Texas born and raised. Pieces of my heart left in Wyoming, South Africa, Bolivia and more. To travel is to live.

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