Letter to My 21-Year-Old Self. ~ Yali Szulanski

Via elephant journal
on Mar 6, 2013
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Dear Me,

Good morning.

For me, today is October 25, 2011 and it’s a Tuesday. For you, today is October 25, 2006, a Wednesday.

This means that you haven’t taken sleeping pills yet to sleep through the day; you might actually be awake and getting ready to go to class. Hopefully, you stayed in last night and took care of yourself, but even if you didn’t, I know you did your best.

It’s okay, I’m not here to judge you, I promise. I hear that you’ve really been struggling with feelings that you’re not sure what to do with. You haven’t had much guidance, and let’s face it, you’ve had to deal with a lot on your own.

That’s okay, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone.

I see that look in your eyes—I understand your skepticism. You woke up this morning and had to clean vomit from your bathroom floor.

It’s okay, I’m still here for you.

You feel like you’re chewing gravel most of the time. You’re angry with yourself, but you don’t really know why.

You are having a tough time with your family, you love your parents and you want them to help you, but you don’t know how to tell them. They’re angry, and you feel like you’ve disappointed them. They actually care deeply about you, they just don’t know how to help either.

There’s a reason you’re still here; there’s a reason you are feeling the pangs in your body that are telling you to pay attention. I know you don’t want to, but it’s okay.

What you’re going through is okay.

I know you’ve read about it in books, and people have told you it’s sick. I can feel the guilt floating through your blood cells, corroding your nerves, and disintegrating your skin.

But I am not ashamed of you—you are strong.

All of those feelings you have—the ones that you’ve always thought were fantasies, the ones that make you feel disgusted with yourself—well, you’re about to understand them fully.

You’re going to find another woman in your life, and you are going to fall in love with her. It will be wonderful, at first. But, she is going to hurt you, a lot. You will feel more humiliation than you’ve ever known in your life so far.

I’m sorry, I know it’s hard for you to hear, but I need you to know that you’ll be okay. You’ll be more than okay, actually, it just won’t feel like it for a while.

Don’t be scared…

You are about to learn what abuse feels like, what being afraid to speak feels like, what being trapped feels like. You’re about to learn how your own struggles can be used against you.

What does that mean? Well, to put it bluntly, she’s going to use your eating disorder to taunt you, tease you, to hurt you.

Why am I telling you this? Because I need you to know that you’re going to make it.

You are embarking on a journey of love and heartbreak, vulnerability, weakness, and strength, excruciating pain and fights. Oh yes, it’s going to be very hard, and your body will bear the brunt of it for the next couple of years.

I’m so happy to tell you that it does get better, but not by chance. You fight so hard, every day, to heal yourself, to grow, and even to heal the world.

You’re a fighter—no really, you actually are—you own a pair of purple boxing gloves, and they’re well used.

Oh, you should know that yes, you do get your incredible family back, and even more. You’re doing amazing things and…well, I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Just know that life, as it turns out, does have more light in it than you think right now.

I just want you to know that I feel you still inside me—you’re still scared and alone sometimes. I know that my body remembers you.

When I was you, I didn’t think I would live to experience recovery. But you did, I did, we both did. We’re here now together, to heal.

I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you, because I know you don’t hear it enough.

I am sending you strength for your time ahead.

Love, a giant hug, light and a lot of peace,



Yali SzulanskiYali Szulanski is a writer, teacher, and speaker living in New York, NY. She can be found helping people access their voice through writing, and discovering her strength and healing in the boxing gym and dance studio. She can also be found on her website or her Facebook!



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3 Responses to “Letter to My 21-Year-Old Self. ~ Yali Szulanski”

  1. Allison says:

    I love this I think everyone needs to write one of these to themselves. Thank you for your honesty and sharing this! I am going to right my 17 yr old self one tonight 🙂

  2. Yali says:

    Thank you for your comment! Good luck 🙂 It is a powerful exercise, indeed!

  3. […] You are having a tough time with your family, you love your parents and you want them to help you, but you don’t know how to tell them. They’re angry, and you feel like you’ve disappointed them. They actually care deeply about you, they just don’t know how to help either. Continue reading–> […]