Dear gay kids,
I've been sitting here typing a bunch of stuff and deleting it for a couple of days now. I feel like, since I was once where you are now, I should have some bit of wisdom to give you. I mean, I understand feeling like I don't matter, like the world would be better off without me. I understand the crushing weight of so much hatred, both from the people around me and from myself. I spent a lot of time so fucking frustrated that I cut myself and punched walls and just cried until there wasn't anything else left in me.
But I guess the truth is that I don't feel any wiser. People aren't any different now than they were when I was 19. As soon as just a couple of years ago, I was doing firefighter training and I heard a couple of guys--guys I'd spent hours working my ass off with--bashing gays. People are stupid and ignorant and bigoted and they won't change. You know what's going to change though? YOU.
If I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell my 19 y/o self all the things that I've done in the last 13 years. I jumped out of a freaking plane. I saw my biggest dream come true with my first book. I got to meet my three beautiful nephews. I've been to London and Paris and Amsterdam and Rome. I've fallen in and out of love so many times. And I feel now like I'm only just getting started. I'd tell my 19 y/o self all those things, show him what he's got to look forward to so that when he runs into hatred and ignorance he won't feel like his life is worthless.
And I wish I could do the same for every kid who's taken his or her own life. You are NOT alone. It WILL get better. There IS so much to live for. Yes, the sucky bits really suck, but the amazing parts are more amazing than you can ever possibly know. Your life is going to change so fast and so much in the next few years. If you end it now, you'll be robbing yourself of the beauty that's out there.
More than anything, I want to tell you that you're never ever going to have to go through this pain again, but I know that's a lie. What isn't a lie is that you ARE strong enough to get through it. You can push through the pain and get to the good, the great, and amazing parts of life that will blow your mind. As much as life hurts sometimes, it can also surprise you. It will surprise you. You think you know what's to come, but you have no idea.
So I'm going to issue you a challenge. Go get a jar. Any jar. Get a magic marker. Write "Fuck You Fund" on the outside. Every time you feel pain, every time someone bullies you or harasses you or says something ignorant, every time you feel marginalized or discriminated against, put a dollar in the jar. Then, when you have a good chunk of change in that jar, go do something with it. Take the money in the Fuck You Fund and say "fuck you!" to all the people who ever made you hate yourself. Take a crazy road trip with your best friend, go buy a new outfit, donate it to a suicide help-line, do whatever you want with it. But take people's hatred and turn it into your happiness. Don't let them rob you of your future.
Your life is going to be amazing in ways you can't understand. It may not seem like it now, but in 2 or 5 or 10 years, you're going to look back and be grateful that you're still alive. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not thankful to be alive. Even the days that suck.
I suppose that's it. That's what I have to offer. Fill your jars and lead amazing lives. Don't let them make you feel worthless. Prove the opposite. Prove, by living, that you are fucking amazing. Because that's how we change them. That's how we win.
If you are feeling suicidal and you need someone to talk to, please visit The Trevor Project or call 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).
And if you want to send me pictures of your jars or pictures of what you spent the money on, I'll post them for everyone to see.