To Lili, Age 22

Dear Lili,

I’ve been reading your diaries. I stumbled on that entry on February 13th where you were adamant that you would never sleep with Alasdair again, and then the entry on February 15th when you admitted sleeping with Alasdair the previous night. I think we can both see the humor in that. What made me sad was your detached analysis of your motives, your willingness to admit that he was the antidote to the crippling loneliness you felt that day, that you feel most days.

I remember that time well. You’re under an incredible amount of pressure, mostly self-imposed, to finish your university career with a flourish. You’re living with people you don’t feel close to or particularly comfortable with, and you are failing miserably at maintaining the facade of mental stability. Sorry to break it to you, but it’s not fooling anyone. That being said, nobody is helping either. Your parents have no idea what is happening to their daughter or how to help. Your therapist’s eating disorder is starting to consume (pardon the pun) your sessions, and you’re not sure whether she’s sharing her experiences to try and normalize yours, or whether she’s just losing her grip too. You’re tired all the time, and you think it’s an illness, but it’s probably just severe depression. It’s an awful, awful time for you. You feel crazy. Everything is a trigger. You’ve already spent two years intermittently trying to starve yourself and time your binges to when everyone is out of earshot so that you can force yourself to throw up. It’s bad. It’s really bad.

You write that you feel like two people, you’re not half wrong. You’re growing up, badly I should add. Your rebellious phase is all happening internally, and you’re doing a lot of damage girl. There is a part of you that wants to remain a child, and it is viciously and violently attacking the woman that you can’t help becoming. That’s nature, baby. You can’t avoid it.

I wish I was there to walk you through the next three years, to keep you from tripping over the life you’re inheriting. Of course, if I did you wouldn’t end up where I am now. If you looked at me you’d be disappointed because I’m not 110lbs and I’m still getting coffee for people. However, I’m financially independent, I’m in a loving relationship, and I can’t even remember the last time I binged or tried to starve myself. In other words, I’m on the other side. That person you don’t recognize in the mirror, that’s me. That’s us. We did it. Everything else is just an added bonus from here on out.

Just know that your life will be yours again, and this disgusting, petty disease will eventually be tamed. You’ll end up sleeping with a few more Alasdairs, but company is company, and you should always be grateful for someone who was willing to be the person you needed in the moment you needed them.

Love Lili,
Age 26

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