Talking To Myself: Year 15

Already this year has been tough for you. The scars on your wrist reveals that. The never ending, atrocious thoughts you fight back every day show that. And it will get worse as the year progresses. I’m sorry but it is true. You will gain close friends only to lose them later. You will date a nice girl for a few months but that too will end. Hell, you even have one of the worst yet most mind-opening weekends of your life in the beginning of 2014. Yes, this all sounds awful, I know; and it is, but it will get better. It takes a while – you will wish you were dead a lot – but by April, the light begins to reveal itself at the end of the tunnel.

You Are Fifteen Now…

You feel as though your life doesn’t matter and you strongly believe you will be dead by 18. You have scars on your wrist that still show to this day and scars on yours thighs that have faded away. Your mind is the most scarred of all. But all wounds heal eventually.

I know that you are young and naïve, thinking that the world is ending every time somebody fails to respond to you. And I understand the pain that you are going through, for I have already been there. But you will get through it just as I have. Despite your thoughts, I – we – are still alive at age 18. Hell, we will be turning 19 in a few short months. And although mom does not like it, we move into college on August 24th. We got the Presidential Scholarship from Albright, our top choice school, so that’s pretty damn cool I think. Not sure how we managed it but still, I am rather proud of myself for it. That girl you met in April who helped you find the light: you’re still with her, three years strong. It’s a tough relationship to be in at time but you two manage to make it work. You love her: don’t you ever forget that dammit.

You may be very introverted now…

Afraid to talk about your feelings to your parents, afraid to open up in general; that will all change soon enough. Give it time. If you could see how we look now, you would probably be appalled. We have changed so much, matured so well. The band tees have all been put to the side, used more for at night than any other time; the black skinny jeans – and skinny jeans in general – have stayed, replaced by American Eagle rather than Hot Topic’s Rude. Our fashion sense has gotten much better and the heavy eyeliner and painted fingernails have gone away to the “dismay” of our father (it’s one less step in the morning so we get about a minute or two extra sleep).

And those dark thoughts…they have gone away for the most part. We still have our days where the thoughts try to creep back in but we manage to fight them off pretty well I would say. Photography has become such a big part of our lives by now, along with writing these blog posts, so that helps out a shit ton. I promise to you that you will get through all of the shit you are going through. And please remember, it is perfectly okay to not be okay.

With a brighter outlook on life, and in hopes of helping you get better quicker than I had, I wish to provide you with some tips. Tips that I wish I had when I was in your situation, when I was fifteen.

All Wounds Heal

To the dismay of many – including myself – humans do not heal nearly as fast as superheroes like Wolverine or Deadpool. Whenever we get a papercut, it burns like a bitch and it takes some time to heal. When we lose a loved one, we grieve. It takes time to heal. Sometimes it only takes a few days, sometimes years. Hell, sometimes we just never heal, instead learning to cope with that pain. My point is, however, to never give up. You need to wait a while before your wounds heal. So fight the fuck back.

You Are Not Alone

Alright, so I know you have lost plenty of friends and you are not at all feeling good enough. You often feel hated, ignored, unappreciated, like your life does not mean shit. You feel like shit and just want to curl up into a corner and let good old Death take you away. But you can’t allow that to happen. Not until you are old and frail and have lived the best damn life you possibly could live.

Your family cares far too much about you – more than you may think or that they may show from time to time. Those few friends – the ones who pick on you and shit but are always there for you, lifting you up – care a ton about you. Even your pets care about you. So no, you are not at all alone in this world.

Still don’t believe me? I figured that – I remember being stubborn as all hell. We get it from Dad’s side of the family no doubt. Maybe that’s why we bicker so often. Regardless, go online and look at the forums about depression, suicide, etc. There are a boatload of people who want to help. And if you need to vent or just talk to someone anonymously, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always open. I recommend calling them at 1-800-273-8255 rather than posting online about your problems, for people are assholes and may make you feel even worse.

Find A Creative Outlet

In the summer of 2014, you will find your creative outlet: photography. Shit, sorry for the spoiler kid. But I recommend you to find it much faster. It helps out so damn well and is something everyone should find for themselves, whether it be photography or not. Try drawing; painting; playing an instrument; singing; writing. Anything that helps you to express yourself. Something that reveals what you are feeling, what you are about and who you are. You don’t need to share it either. If you don’t want to face criticism – the internet will chew you up and spit you out regardless of how good or bad you are – then you do not need to share. It’s okay. It is perfectly fine to not feel mentally strong enough to deal with even more criticism, good or bad.

Find something you enjoy and use it to express yourself. Share it with the world, or don’t. It’s okay.

Don’t Waste Time

Even though you are only fifteen years of age, there are so many opportunities out there that you should be taking advantage of as often as possible. It may seem shitty and only for criminals and preppies – trust me, I remember just how “emo” we used to be – but do some community service. Join clubs at school. Go help in Africa – I know there are opportunities to go do that not only will help other people but you earn a lot from it as well. You realize just how good of a life you have; you realize that you are plenty good enough to do something with your life; you even get to make friends who may leave at some point, or they could become the best thing that happened to you, sticking around for years on end. Looking back at it, I wish I would have done this shit at fifteen. But my life…it is far from over.

Breathe

Yes, it is tough. Life was not meant for the weak who remain weak. Life either helps you or hurts you. Unless, of course, you force it to help you and use the pain to push yourself further. That is just what you want to do throughout your life. Make life your bitch; grab a hold of it by the reigns. Take control. And if everything begins spiraling out of control, sit down and breathe. Close your eyes and go to your happy place. Don’t think about anything going on in your life.

Just. Breathe.

Thank You

Cody Schultz

2017