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Submitted on
November 20, 2012
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Dear Sarah,

            Remember that time you tried to top yourself by hiding under the covers? That was hilarious. I remember you tugging at the edges of the blanket and praying, without a shred of scientific evidence, that the lack of oxygen would be enough to kill you. You sat under there for something like fifteen minutes before you gave up and went to make a sandwich. But while you were under there, choking a little on your pillow because you never washed your sheets, I remember you thought someone was watching. Someone who understood your suffering. Someone who understood you.

            Kid, that was me. And I've got two words for you: man up. Life can get a whole lot harder than this. Before too much longer, it's going to. And by the time you get to my age, you're going to be glad.

            Why were you hiding under there, anyway? It must have been important, because I've completely forgotten. Maybe you were fighting with your parents. Maybe they were threatening to do it on your bed. You hate them now, but it might surprise you to learn that your family will never again be this stable. Your mother will leave your stepfather for a man she met on a play-by-email Dungeons & Dragons game, carrying out her courtship with him right there in the tavern until the dungeon master, plainly frustrated, asks them to keep roleplay and cybersex separate. You'll handle this better than you expected, though your stepfather will be gutted. It was his D&D game.

            Eventually, your mother will leave you too, picking up sticks and moving to England in order to be closer to the man she loves, who lives in America. You'll live alone in the family home for half a year, subsisting mainly on packet pasta and hash browns, until your stepfather remembers you exist and kicks you out. At this point, you'll have to learn to beg money from the government. You'll drift from friend's flat to friend's couch to friend's floor before being taken in by university housing as an emergency case on the fast track to becoming a basket case. Then, before you've even got your posters up on the walls, your mother will return with your new father-figure in tow. He'll stay for a few months, leave on the pretext of looking after his own daughter, then return to shack up with some woman with a sex dungeon in her basement.

            Those government handouts will start to look really good.

            Boys will happen. Later on, men will happen. You'll fall in and out of love, in and out of infatuation and, on one occasion, fall right out of the bed because the sex is just that boring. The love of your life will fade away, to be replaced by a second love of your life, a whole series of loves of your life, possibly accompanied by some sort of colour-coded chart. Because parents are here to help with the subtle polka of seduction, your mother will conclude that meeting one of your new boyfriends is the perfect opportunity to seek feedback on her new silver-topped riding crops. You'll be promiscuous—though in hindsight, not nearly promiscuous enough. However, you will have the pleasure of asking your eighth sexual partner out on the 8/8/2008, and telling him over a glass of wine and the Olympic opening ceremony that he is your "lucky shag".

            So it's not all bad. But most of it is. Because, just as a truck cannot run over a cheese sandwich without leaving an indent, your rollercoaster childhood has not left you without scars. You won't even notice them at first. A shudder at the thought of doing your hair. A twitch when someone drops a pen. But over time, those twitches and shudders will grow and combine until finally, like a sad woman with a Tim Tam, the anxiety will swallow you whole.

            Some days you will be too scared to leave the house. Those will be the good days. Those little shakes and heartaches will cost you degrees, jobs and lovers. And, just as you're finally diagnosed, with a cheeky mixture of bipolar and borderline personality disorder, a strange, debilitating fatigue will set in. Simple tasks will seem exhausting. You'll stay in bed for days at a time, even if you don't want to. After two years of an interminable medical limbo, you'll be diagnosed yet again, this time with severe fibromyalgia.

            You're going to have to learn to love those big pill boxes. You'll also have to learn to live with a body that is trying to eat you up from the inside like a pickle. Your life will begin to revolve around your illnesses, except on those rare occasions when it revolves around the illnesses of others. Not long before your initial diagnosis, your immediate ex will take sixty pills and show up half-dead at your front door; the ensuing confrontations with police, paramedics and your new boyfriend will form perhaps your strangest ever second date. Six months later, you will be prescribed the same pills he took.

            All this will have ramifications for your career. You'll never be a famous opera singer, for one. To be honest, you should probably start assuming now that you'll never be a famous anything. Your biggest triumphs in six years of tertiary music education will be a) getting a letter from a psychologist to the effect that attending a certain lecturer's classes is damaging to your mental health, b) singing a song you wrote about farts to an audience of over two hundred people, and c) meeting someone who once met John Cage. You'll throw yourself heart and stomach into your degree, but as your health drops like the level on a grandma's gin bottle you'll find the cattiness, the competition, the absent professors and the abusive directors exhausting. Eventually, a dark bird out of the shining flock, you'll leave music entirely behind.

            I'm not going to tell you what you're going to be doing when you get to my age. I don't know why I'm telling you any of this at all. You're still under the blankets, clinging to a scientifically preposterous method of suicide. Even if I could shout through time and half a dozen pillows, you wouldn't listen. But I will say this: I'm sorry. For everything you've been through. For everything you have coming. The next ten years are going to be a little like plastic surgery, because they're going to hurt like hell. But unlike plastic surgery, they stand a chance of changing you.

            If you're ready to kick off the covers and man up.


            With love,

My last minute entry to the Deer Teen Me Contest. Unfortunately, everything in it is true.

UPDATE: Oh, my. Thank you, Lucy. Thank you, Cake Lady. And thank you to everyone who's read this and called me brave. I'm really not, you know. I'm just the same as everyone else writing their memoirs: prepared to exploit my messy, hilarious past for literary gain.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-02-17
`zebrazebrazebra takes a humorous, honest look at herself in dear teen me. ( Suggested by Lucy-Merriman and Featured by neurotype )
This is beautiful. A incredible sob story. Beautifully written, I can see everything happening to that little girl. While hardships of the future are everywhere, you have a way of creating an entire new genre of woes. This is one of the best pieces that has ever been written in the literature world, and it made me a sobbing mess for about 15 minutes. While I don't find sex references appealing to this piece, it is a hardship. This had a impact on me like never before, showing that hardships can change your life and if you man up, they won't seem as bad. I love this story, beautifully written, wonderful sob story, and a moral thrown in. Wonderful, my friend. Simply wonderful.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
35 out of 38 deviants thought this was fair.

I started reading this expecting it to be another sob story that would bore me half way through but I am glad to say that it wasn't. I can not in all good conscience say that this story is happy by any means but the underlying idea of 'kicking the covers off' and 'man up' fit so perfect with the whole story. It is never easy for anybody to express to fully the darkness in their life but this author does it so perfectly that you don't pity her as much as you want to slap her on the back and congratulate her on being able to take the hits in life and still climb back up. Her comparison are realistic and easy to relate with. Her structure flows neatly, out lining a story of bitterness and strength. And on top of that her honesty to herself and others is refreshing and astounding. I must say Great Job Sarah! C:
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The Artist thought this was FAIR
13 out of 13 deviants thought this was fair.

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ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014
This is beyond awesome and I'm ashamed I've never read it before now. Love. Love.
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Professional Writer
Thank you, man. I keep meaning to expand on it, but, y'know, life. It's just an endless source of more material.
maxine Featured By Owner May 22, 2013
Popping in to visit.

Recognised a couple of the stories. Man, I still adore you. Maybe I should come visit.


zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner May 26, 2013  Professional Writer
Haha, everyone knows these stories. I always get surprised when I run into someone who DOESN'T know my dad's a clown, or that my middle name's Bunny.

You should! Except we won't be here for very much longer at all. Flying visit to Beijing in the next month? You know you want to!

doublethefun Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013
This piece thought provoking. Sad without being self-pitying. Very interesting and effective tone.
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Professional Writer
Thank you!
NaiVianne Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013
Have you ever heard or read the lyrics of the song "Conversations with my 13 year old self"? Different thing.
I just seemed to hear the melody in my head, while I was reading your words. And they are very touching.
Never give up on yourself! Never give up on your heart!
You deserve love and happiness!
Thank you for sharing this!
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Professional Writer
The one by Pink? I haven't heard it, but I'll have to look it up!

To answer the rest of your comment: I haven't! Nor that neither! Yes, I do! So does everyone! And you're welcome!
Cupcake-Kitty-chan Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013
Wow, this is beautiful and sad. I'm glad that you seem to maybe be at peace with yourself, though? I hope that you have your happy ending. We all deserve it. :)
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Professional Writer
I am at peace with myself, very much so--and although I haven't had a happy ending, because nobody gets one of those until they die, and often not even then--I have got a happy. I hope you have one too!
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