A letter to myself, for when my depression returns.
To some future edition of Peyton B Carper.
It’s 5:12 on a Monday morning. You haven’t slept yet, and you just watched an old video of the Marching Chiefs playing the War Chant, and you’re sitting on your hideous purple couch crying your eyes out. You are so grateful for what you have. You’ve finally realized that everything is actually going to be okay.
It will be hard to remember this moment when the darkness comes again. You will want to collapse and sleep for an eternity, but we’ve seen a glimpse of what happiness is like. You have friends who will do damn near anything for you, and a roommate who kisses your cheek in greeting and plays jazz on the saxophone in the middle of the afternoon. (You act like you hate this, but you don’t. It’s soothing.) You have an apartment that’s safe and that smells nice after you’ve been gone for a while. You have the greatest parents in the world that are so proud of you no matter what. You have a pretty respectable Christmas tree and a skeleton dog named Mr. Meatball. (He’s made of plastic and you bought him at Target for $15, but he’s a good boy.) You’ve got food in the fridge for when you remember to eat (which you ought to do more often).
You are beautiful. You used to think so, but lately you don’t. But you are. You’ve got a healthy body, with soft pink flesh and long, strong legs. You think you’re fat because you’re a size 12, but you’re happy this way. You love ice cream and you love greasy french fries and that’s fine. (But you should eat the apples in the bowl on the kitchen counter before they rot.) You’re tall and imposing, with broad shoulders and long limbs. This threatens men, and for some reason you think you should change. Don’t. They can’t handle your fortitude, and they are unworthy of you. You look like your mother and Nana Jackie, the two bravest women you know. You are a warrior. You’re a combination of every strong woman in your family, and in this sense you are unstoppable.
I don’t tell you this enough, Peyton, but I love you. I love your sense of humor and your compassion and your endlessly loving heart. You love too easily and too much, and you get hurt sometimes. But you are so kind. You are grumpy and mean-spirited and rude, but you are so kind. You make people laugh in the darkest of times, and that is valuable. You are valuable. You are irreplaceable.
Your grades are not great right now. You drink a lot lately. You’ve got some crushes on people you shouldn’t. You’ve been depressed a lot this year. It’s 2016, the year everything went to shit, but 2017 is so close. New beginnings are coming.
You are alive. You won’t be forever, though. And that’s why you’ve got to power through. Write your heart out. Tell your story. Make your voice heard.
Go do your homework. We’ll talk again soon.