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Dear Friend,

I love you. No, more than likely I don’t know you at all and have never spoken to you. More than likely you live very far away from me, hundreds or possibly thousands of miles, a different state or perhaps even in a different country. No matter, I love you all the same. Regardless of distance, you and I, we’re not so different. I’ve always felt different and for many, many years I felt quite unhappy. Just like you I’ve felt intense levels of pain. There have even been fleeting moments in time when I’ve thought about committing suicide. If they’re being honest with themselves, I suspect that suicide is something that everyone has thought about at least once or twice in their lifetime. I realize that at times the pain that you have to carry around can become so heavy that you may believe that killing yourself is the one and only respite from the bad feelings that you have. But you shouldn’t do it and this is why.

I believe what’s going on and happening to you is this. You’re going through changes in both mind and body. You’re much like all other living creatures. The old you is dying, the one that you’re used to being. The old you, that’s the one that all your loved ones know, it’s the little boy and girl that listened to all of their stories, sat on their laps, the one they took care of when they were sick, and the child that they tucked in at night. They still look at you as that person and now you’re going through all of these changes right in front of them. You don’t act the same and you don’t sound the same. Your likes and your dislikes have changed. Your family is going through a grief process for the person that they had once known. They’re going through all of the stages of their grief and they’re all unfolding right in front of your eyes – the anger, denial, and the guilt.

You’re changing. Perhaps you’re ashamed of yourself or something about yourself in some way. Perhaps you’re gay, lesbian, or maybe you feel as if you were born in the wrong body. We all feel disconnected sometimes, especially in our teens. We can feel as if we’re not actually a part of anything but we’re watching things go on around us like we’re living someone else’s life, like we’re on the outside looking in. I know this feeling because I’ve been lost before, many, many times. All of these feelings come in part from shame. We’re not born with shame though and there’s absolutely no reason to own any shame. It takes many years to learn that shame is a part of you, but it only takes one single declaration to release yourself from it. You are what you are and you never have to make excuses for yourself. When you do so you only minimize the person that you are now and the person you’re going to someday become.

As if everything else wasn’t enough, you’re dealing with bullies at school and people that hate you that are coming in all ages, occupations, and especially religions. In a place that’s supposed to be filled with love we find hate often preached from the pulpit. Most of these people think that God is on their side and that he chooses some of his children over others, pure craziness. When you take the time and think about it long enough though, you’re able to start to see how people start to believe what they believe. Take it from me, it doesn’t make them anymore right then it makes you wrong. Don’t ever take these people seriously; all it’s going to do is bring you down.

You’ll need to start to get used to that new person that’s growing inside of you. You can find support both near and far. There are hundreds of people on the internet that are telling their stories on discussion threads, blogs and websites. It’s easy to feel alone but take it from me, you’re not alone. You’ll be completely amazed at all of the people that are out there that are exactly like you and it’s an amazing feeling when you can make a connection, even if that connection happens to be with a total stranger. It’s even more powerful when you come to the realization that you’re able to be a help to other strangers as much as they can be a help to you. Perhaps together you’ll be able to navigate this insane and crazy world.

So yes, I love you even though I don’t know you. I wish that I could give you a huge hug as I tell you here as you’re reading this that it does in fact get better. I can say this because it actually does. There’s a whole other world out there if you take the time and live long enough to see it. Once you begin to accept the person that you’re becoming, and the person that you are, and also begin to forgive those that have done you wrong, you’ll begin to grow. So hang on tight. There are people out there, people that you don’t even know yet, that are waiting out there for you. Waiting for you with open arms and waiting to love you unconditionally.

Please trust in me. So whenever you’re feeling alone, or you’re feeling as if there’s no one that loves you, remember it’s not true, because I do. Your life is going to get better and you will be able to learn to love again. I promise.