By Mark Mariano

August 31, 2016

Dear Past Mark

I started this letter thinking of things I wanted to warn you about. Things that would’ve kept you safe and comfortable. Am I a bad person for not wanting to tell you? For understanding that you, at 14 or 15, will have to go through some terrible stuff to be the person you are today?

I’ll just say this. Just this one thing. It's pretty cliché and sort of trashy but please, please do not ever let anybody change you. I know it’s hard, and it’s still hard today, to not care about what people think about you; but when you start to change, it should be for you.

Don’t stop acting a certain way because a teacher told you to "not be so obvious with your sexuality." Don’t choose maths class over music class because the boy you like does it. Don’t stop eating because you think your weight has anything to do with how people treat you. Don’t chicken out on a chance to sing because you’re afraid people won’t like your voice. Don’t chase a boy because he said one nice thing about you. Don’t be a push over because you think being kind is the only way people will like you. Don’t apologise to people who have hurt you.

'Be the person you needed when you were younger.’ You’ll read this somewhere. You need to become strong, become warm, become whole, all for yourself. I, no, we, need someone who isn’t afraid of things that won’t hurt him. Love yourself and love others but remember that people will never be medicine. That the ones you think you could rely on for a lifetime won’t always be there. You’ll always be there. I’ll always be there. Your family loves you. I love you.

Keep hustling. Keep dreaming. Because you’ll accomplish so many things in the next few years. Be proud of yourself regardless of whether you did well or not so well on that science assignment. Just do you, and everything will be fine.

Love always,


Mark. 

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