To my nineteen-year-old unpublished self,
I know all about the days you don’t want to get out of bed. The pile of clothes that you will wash someday soon, heaped in piles on unvacuumed carpet.
I know you give into temptation and roll over, pushing your head into the pillow, into that comfy spot you like so much, and sleep another hour. And then another, postponing reality for relief just a little while longer. I know you don’t answer your phone unless it is Tiana calling to go clubbing …
Baby girl, talk to your psychiatrist and counsellor and consider their advice. Start your own research on how to manage the PTSD and schizo-affective.
If you aren’t getting the right help, don’t stop looking until you do. Mum won’t help you, so you have to do this. I know you are tired, none of it is fair, and it is absolutely fucking ridiculous, but keep going. The right help will come. It will be okay. I promise.
Now, I need to talk to you about dating.
Men are all hungry for something. You are not obliged to sleep with them.
You do not owe them anything.
You can say no.
You can always say no.
Sleeping with someone random does not take away the emptiness; the void grows larger every time you go against your values and give yourself to someone you don’t love.
I know you like girls too, and this applies to them also.
Don’t give a part of you away, or compromise yourself for anyone because if you need to choose them or you it should always be you.
You get where what I am saying, right? Take care of yourself and guard your heart, mind and body. I love you.
I’m here to tell you baby girl, I know you think you are different and I absolutely agree. What you don’t realise is that this is actually a blessing! You are a moonlight and orchids girl – I know you will understand what I mean. Your sensitivity and your empathy towards others around you is a gift, and sweetheart, don’t let anyone tell you any different!
Before the assault, remember those shows you would put on with the neighbours’ kids? The dance routines? The short plays? Remember that time you won a prize from the library for the book review you wrote?
Dear girl, you have a gift – and that is your ability and passion to connect with others, especially those who are doing it tough.
You express this love through dance, music, and writing. I think it is also because after the assault you felt so disconnected. You never wanted anyone to feel like you did, so your heart grew and grew, and is bursting with love to express.
You have a heart of gold, and those that tell you otherwise are jealous or troubled, and not your problem. Those girls tried to dampen your spirit, but they ignited it!
You are loved by God. The people that come against you with their homophobic rhetoric are misguided. Disregard them and their message, just like you would from anyone else who is abusive. God is cradling you in His arms – and nothing, I repeat nothing, can separate His love for you.
Lastly, try to imagine your world beyond the limitations of your mental illness. I see a lively, colourful and beautiful world just begging for you to be a part of it.
Sing your heart out, write those books, dance like everybody is watching.
Believe in yourself.
Never give up on you.
And remember, that your individuality and quirks are your gifts.
And … I just might see you on the stage!
Love your 37-year-old self xxx
Lisa Eskinazi writes for the black sheep, the intense, the different ones – like her. Find out more about Lisa and her book Out of the Well: My Battle With School Bullying and Severe Depression here: