Preface: This is vulnerable and the most honest thing I have ever posted. It gets super emotional and it pretty much stays that way. This has been floating around in my brain for months and so I got it out. It’s been living in a google doc for a few weeks but I can’t stop thinking about it so once more I’m getting it out. I might delete it at any minute because it’s quite open for someone who has a pretty carefully crafted online presence.
It is no secret that I have struggled with depression for most of my life. At times it was all-consuming and crippling and I thought there was no way I could ever get over it. Even at the age of 12 I thought that maybe the world would be better off without me maybe my presence here just wasn’t as important as I had once been led to believe. It was at one of these moments that an unexpected connection arose. A person, who had always been in my life, came into my life a little stronger. He was family and I don’t mean that in a figurative way he was actually, literally family which kind of makes this story cooler. He was also all the way across the world. We don’t really talk anymore, our lives have gone such separate ways, but not a day goes by that I am not thankful for what he’s done for my country and what he did for me.
You were fighting a real war but you made time to help me fight my own war. You were on the front lines of an emotional battle with myself and you never made me feel silly or irrational for the things I felt. We never had anything in common, and normally one would expect a “but” to follow so… but. With a nine hour time difference you would think that communication would be impossible but I started waiting up until about midnight every night and there your name would pop up on Facebook chat. That little green circle meant someone was here to hear me. That little green circle meant someone was there to hear you. I would tell you about my day, my classes, my friends, and you would tell me of your dying friends and the people you tried to help everyday. There was no attempt to one up the others problems, every issue was valid. It was 3 years until I saw you in person after we started talking. Long before the cuts on my arms became scars you were there for me. Everyday I see those faint white lines behind my tattoos I remember you telling me I would be okay. You would connect me this your friends back home and they were open and friendly to me. You gave the name of someone in your church and she helped me, she prayed for me, she told me I would be okay. I was young, I was never thinking past tomorrow so every problem was the end of the world. You never let me forget how much I could mean to someone and I don’t know if you ever realized how truly you saved my life. I remember the day you came home so vividly, I didn’t get to come see you but I sat at home at my desk in my room and I wrote welcome home on a piece of paper and sent you a picture. You got it at the same time I sent it, you weren’t nine hours ahead and you weren’t thousands of miles away. You were home and that was awesome. You were my best friend and there isn’t a person who knew me at the time who didn’t know who you were. It’s okay that we don’t talk. It’s fine. You have made a life for yourself which is so awesome. I’m making my life and that’s also pretty cool. I don’t think I could ever say all of this to you because I hate the idea of crying in front of people (not that you’ve never seen that because I mean read the beginning part of this letter you always knew me as an emotional wreck, which is fine.) We don’t talk anymore but you have had such a profound impact on my life and one day when I accept an award or have some reason to thank someone in a public way it will be you I thank, because I wouldn’t be here to write this if you hadn’t been by my side. So, soldier thank you. Thank you for being my family and my best friend. Thank you for telling me boys are stupid, and problems aren’t permanent. Thank you for being who you were, and thank you for growing past that person and teaching me that I can be just as strong on my own as I can be with someone’s help. I think us growing apart had to happen, I don’t think I could be the person I am if I had always had someone else to lean on. This is not me asking you to talk to me again, it’s just a long overdue thanks. I hope your life is treating you well and I hope you are doing great. Truly, I wish nothing but the best for you. I’m trying hard to find a way to end this that makes you understand that it’s super okay that we drifted apart.
So.. dear soldier,