To the ones who won't be saved
I am writing to you because I've hit a wall. There is so much I can do, and it is indeed very little. Over the past three years, I learned how absurd is the common belief that suffering during childhood is a reason to become a solid and decent human being. I used to be proud of the difficulties I faced. I even thought of them as the sole possible fuel for resilience. Little did I know, when I boasted about it, that if I managed to get here it was despite them. You might now be surviving, so here is a bit of hope.
Those who are gifted with good-enough-parents might not even think of resilience as an essential quality to experience an enjoyable life. And if you were never protected, you might think resilience is being tough and heartless, as if fear and pain did not affect your body. If that's the case, I am so sorry. I understand it is that exact view that allows you to get through your childhood, but I can tell you, there will come a day when you become an adult, in which that very same belief, will harm and compromise your ability to hold onto this world.
Yes, the world is fucked up, for the most part. Yet:
It takes some work to find those corners where you can sit still and be in peace. No doubt, I promise you they exist. And so do the people who don't hurt others, the people who want you free and authentic. You don’t need to either do it all by yourself or fake being okay when you are not. Especially not for the sake of those who cannot bear the guilt of what they’ve done to you. I give you permission to grieve, to be angry, to cry, and to ask for help outside of your circle.
My letter doesn't come without some upsetting news: there is no pleasure without pain.
I know you don't want any more pain. It is fair. You shouldn't have to experience it that often or at that level. But when we become untouched by pain, when we numb ourselves to avoid feeling it; we also stop ourselves from experiencing the real pleasures of life. This is the reason that only drugs and other addictions are capable of shaking our nerves enough to feel once more alive.
When a human body experiences pain for too long, the mind wishes to die. (You don't need to hide those thoughts from me, I know you have them, and I did sometimes too.) So in a sense, we kill the body. We separate it from the mind and we live as though we are only souls floating in this universe. But then, it is only through the body that we can enjoy this world. Drugs, shopping, career achievements, social media… Anything that will infuse some dopamine into our brain without the need to connect our pieces back together will serve us well. At least for a little while. Minutes, in most cases. Even seconds, sometimes. Certainly, not a long-term solution.
I am not writing to give you another adult lecture on how to escape from pain or how to confront it. I am here to apologise on behalf of the adults who failed you and forgive you for the mistakes you will have to make as you work through your wounds. And especially, to tell you that you don't have to be like them. As a matter of fact: You are not. You are an entirely new chance for the universe to heal itself. Like the butterfly effect, one little change in the old dynamics will be enough to create a shift in other people's lives.
Maybe you don't believe me. Maybe you think that if you don't learn "the street's way" when you are young, you won't be able to survive under "the law of the jungle" later on in life. I've heard that narrative, it is there, though it doesn't match with reality. I've met those children raised over cushions, emotionally I mean. Those who are loved unconditionally and protected from real danger while encouraged to do whatever makes them happy. And you know what? They might not be rich, and you might not like their social media posts, but they are a vivid image of happiness. Their pockets are full of tranquillity and their self-esteem has no soft edges.
I know you are making plans to become an independent adult. Hell, you might already be an independent teenager! Be careful with that. Humans are interdependent beings, and if we forget that, it is easy to fall into the materialistic trap in which you surround yourself with objects that are sold to fill a void created by a black hole of love. If you are growing poor I know you will put plenty of effort into running away from it, working or giving others anything they ask from you in exchange for money. Sometimes we need to go through that. Sometimes that is the only available option we find to remain above water. But don’t try to make yourself happy by pilling up or spending money.
What's a swimming pool worth if your parents don't see you jumping into the deep end splashing all the towels like a waterbomb? Your pain doesn't come from the fact that your parents don't have money. The quality time you both lack is the corrosive poison of our society. With this, I am not saying a bit of money wouldn't help. I am all about fair distribution. What I am trying to say here is that as humans grow, we feed on food, but also, we feed on loving relationships. So that hunger you sense won't be satiated with steak. It requires genuine intimacy, vulnerability, acceptance… The kind of thing that has no price to be bought.
You might hear lots of bad talk about "teenagers these days being too sensitive or demanding too much attention." Well, those are just jealous adults trying to justify the absence of love they had to grow with. The human being itself lives on attention, so much so that technological companies have realised this and made a fortune out of it.
Nobody dares to criticize someone who works to feed themselves. Then why do we question someone who seeks attention to fill their heart?
Of course, the culture in which you live doesn't let you think otherwise. Here is a tough one for you: You will have to believe you deserve love and attention and look for a healthy true source, or else, the system will get you into its wheel wasting your time and never getting satisfied.
I hope this letter offers you some relief, knowing that your sorrows are noticed by others. I hope it helps you when you think you are going mad, knowing that you are not the only one who sees, hears and feels it. I hope, because it's hope that takes us further in life to eventually reach that piece of the world where you can find enjoyment in just being.
I look forward to seeing you thrive.
The consciousness of an adult.
P.D. When the time comes, remember your son and daughter are the children of the following future, so make sure they are saved in time.