A Letter To The Girl I Regret That I Used To Be

You are not a freak. You just haven’t learned how to be okay yet.

October 2013-August 2018

DISCLAIMER: I don’t know anything for sure. People might not actually feel the way I think they do, these are just my thoughts and mine alone. I can’t speak for the people around me, these are just my own assumptions.

To the girl I used to be:

I’m not embarrassed that I used to be you, but I regret that I was. I’m not ashamed of you, but I missed out on so much because of you. I’m not ashamed of you, but I’m really fucking mad at you. But I digress. This isn’t me yelling at you; I’m trying to help you, so here’s some life advice.

You were really young, and you have mental illnesses that had yet to be diagnosed at the time. You had no control of your emotions. The people reading this might not believe that you didn’t, but don’t worry; I know the truth. See, being a little kid and being bipolar is a bitch of a combination, and you got an extreme case of it. You felt such strong emotions that they ruled over you. The people around you probably thought there was something wrong with you, and as much as I hate to admit it, they had reason to. Mental illness can look really strange to an outsider, so don’t feel too bad that some of your cousins likely thought you were insane.

Bipolar wasn’t the only problem you had. You had severe social anxiety, so you were really standoffish. You had no idea how to interact with the people around you, whether it be the kids bullying you at school or everyone you’re at a family party with. You desperately wanted to be able to have a normal conversation with your cousins, but you were so fucking terrified you were gonna make a fool of yourself, so you chose not to. If you don’t talk at all, you can’t look stupid, right? You wanted to have a relationship with them, you just didn’t know how, which is why Danielle and Desaree are gonna become your saving grace.

You felt so hopeless and you were so scared, but I promise you, it doesn’t stay like that forever. You grow up and you start to overcome your social anxiety. You start figuring out how to build relationships with your cousins and your family members. You stop being terrified of talking to your family. In fact, you head home from Uncle Jimmy’s BBQ in August of 2018, in your goddamn car, and you drunkenly gush to Dad (who is sober and driving) about how you feel like you finally have a place among your cousins, now that you’ve stopped holding yourself back.

You really beat yourself up about things for a long time, so here’s my advice: Stop. Give yourself a break. You’re a little slow learning how to talk to other people, and that’s okay. You are not a freak. You just haven’t learned how to be okay yet. Cut yourself some slack, these things take time. Just take a deep breath a keep reminding yourself that it won’t always be like this.


Rachel Salerno