This is our truth, tell us yours
You will never be this scared again.
Re-read those words. You will never be this scared again. You will have adventures you cannot name, right now, but you will never be this scared again.
You’ve already read Day of the Triffids, and you’ve tried to tell your teacher that you know how lonely Bill was in the book, that you sometimes feel as if all the world has died and you have to carry on. You will never be that lonely again. I’m not going to tell you who in your class shares the secrets that you think are yours alone, but there are other boys who feel the same way about other boys, and there is at least one girl who has also already experienced the shock and anguish of being penetrated without being able to say yes, or no, or why. You don’t need to know who, not least because despite the fact that you share that experience, it’s the only thing you have in common, and you don’t have to like her.
Take it from me, you will make your peace with all of this. That’ll be, in part, because you will do some stupid, foolish and even wicked things that will make you understand that good and evil are never simple or clear. Don’t sit around waiting for it to happen, for a moment when a light bulb goes on and you realise all these truths. It’s much more like that time when you all sat round the fire at camp and didn’t realise that all round you it had gone dark, not like turning the lights off, but slowly, so you didn’t notice. One day, the anger will be gone, too.
Guess what? Happiness comes and goes. Some days you will feel fantastic. Some days you won’t. Some days you will feel like you can’t bother going on. You will look at four walls in a strange town and wonder what next. You’ve probably figured out that if I’m writing this then you find a way to go on. In this reality, you do. You’ll read books when you’re older that will make that last sentence make sense. You go on by choosing to go on. It’s not like reading a book; your life is the one book we all have to write, and you have to get to the end.
You know how you stand apart now, and watch? The way you’re not the one who gets to choose the teams for soccer or cricket? The things you learn, standing and watching, will be the things that you will prize later in life. You don’t know you’re learning skills now, but you are.
You feel like you will never believe again, and never pray again, even if you go to church and wait for god to talk to you and tell you it’s all a plan. I’m you, remember? The things you will believe in will surprise you, and so will the people you believe in. You will remember things in ways that wouldn’t make sense if I explained them to you now. How does that make sense? You know how steam was just the stuff that came out of the kettle, until Mr R brought that model traction engine in and showed you how steam could be harnessed? The day before, steam was just a cloud; the day after, it was energy, a source of power, something you would never see the same again. All of life is like that, full of things you’ll see that will test and explain how you see the world.
Enjoy it. You must realise I’m writing you this letter because I’m really glad you found the way to get through this. You made me, which is why I can’t give you any shortcuts, because I really like being me.