How 17-Year-Old Thomas Saved My Life

A little less than three weeks ago, I had a rough day. Memories of J kept pulling me under, even though I knew he never spent a single second thinking about me. After hours of staring at walls and pretending to have my life together, I walked to a dorm in the middle of campus, where for some reason, I started reading my old blog posts. Then, I found this:

seventeen year old thomas omg

The cheesy and heartfelt words of seventeen-year-old me, from my blog post “Things Change.” Dang, time flies.

After reading those words, I ran to a bathroom stall, played the Teen Titans scene from my blog post on repeat, and sobbed for twenty minutes. I felt every tear like a shock of electricity running down my face; as I crouched down on the cold hard tile, my cheek pressing into the cool granite, every nerve in my body sung, as if all my emotions just then ripped through my body. Because reading my old blog post and watching that scene made me remember an important lesson, one that gave me hope: things change.

I loved the old J, the one who cared about me, the one with an honest calm, the friend who worked hard to improve himself. But that J has died, and even though a new J exists, the one I considered a close friend has turned into stone and shattered into a million pieces. I only have memories now, beautiful and bittersweet shards that cut into my skin the more I try to keep them.

But I will grow stronger, because as 17-year-old Thomas wrote, I only have myself, my strength, my morals, and my resolve. Even though my friends and mentors may support me, I must maintain and develop my passion for mental health, for writing, and for all the people in this world around me. I have to take the jagged edges of my grief over old J’s death and melt them into a whole and beating heart, a gift to give to myself so I can stand on my own two feet again.

Perhaps one day my child will come home with a friend with J’s name, and I will feel a prick of pain at the base of my spine, right above the top of my jeans. Maybe I will teach somewhere someday, and someone will raise his hand and look just like J, and for a second I will blank, blindsided by the past. Perhaps this kaleidoscope of loss will accompany me forever, but I know now, as did my seventeen-year-old self: things change, and I can only control myself.

My mother abused me to the point where I developed an eating disorder. J said he cared about me more than anyone else, then called our entire friendship a lie and broke my heart. People have suffered more than me, and I know I will face worse hardships than this in my life. But no matter how much things change or how many people mistreat me, I choose to empathize, to grow, and to help people save themselves, just like 17-year-old Thomas helped me save myself about three weeks ago.

I found that blog post on the first day of March, with the date acting as a symbol of spring, of fresh beginnings, of a new me. A stronger me, a wiser me, and a kinder me: Thomas 2.0.

Broke down today in one of the most healthy, cathartic ways thanks to this song. Bless Sara Bareilles, for her understanding and her music.

Broke down today in one of the most healthy, cathartic ways thanks to this song. Bless Sara Bareilles, for her understanding and her music.

Thank you again for all the support and kindness you guys have shown me throughout this process of grief and growth. As time passes, the pain associated with J fades, and I can see myself feeling even happier and fuller than I did before. Though hard times will still come, I will do what we as humans must do: persevere and fight to prosper. Happy spring, and look forward to some non-J related posts soon!


Filed under Personal

10 responses to “How 17-Year-Old Thomas Saved My Life

  1. Thomas, I’m so glad you’re persevering through this and thinking positive! You’re right, you will always have our support (I’m actually one of your faithful readers but this is my first time commenting)! Even though you don’t post that often, seeing one of your quality posts always makes me giddy. Happy spring to you too! 🙂

  2. And blessed is the human who draws wisdom from within to empower self!

  3. This post reminds me so much of the essence of Jane Eyre’s character. That’s meant as a compliment, and not at all intended to trivialize your feelings, or the process that you’re going to mend them. I’ve always admired Jane’s strength, and it’s that faith and belief in herself so unwavering despite any tsunami-like catastrophe that might be crashing around her is the constant pulling factor of the novel for me, and I see it reflected in your writing, Thomas. It was always evident that you were a strong person, but discovering and re-discovering that through painful times can be difficult. I hope that there are more moments of joy and relaxation interspersed throughout this journey of self-discovery though 🙂

  4. thanks for the post, thomas. it is empowering !!!!!!!!

  5. peter

    Thanks for this Thomas. It helps.

  6. Elaine

    Sending good thoughts and wishes for swift healing, dear💕 Thank you for transforming your pain into such meaningful words – I know you don’t do it for us, but god, what a joy to read. Much love!

  7. jerbearinsantafe

    That was powerful and incredibly moving! I know you continue to hurt and the pain still lingers. I, along with many others are here for you. As you share your recovery, slow though it may seem at times, others will find strength to weather the storms that come their way

  8. Glad that your own blog came through for you there. And keep sharing so others will read and draw comfort from your words in their own struggles.

  9. Kev

    This is a great reason for writing a blog. That retrospective view obviously gave you some kind of renewed vision of things. I’m glad you’re feeling better about it. Was starting to get a bit worried about you (if that’s not too much of a strange thing to say about someone I’ve never met).

  10. It kind of breaks my heart to see how much J hurt you. I’m sorry that there are people in the world that would do that and I’m glad you’re alright. You are fantastic 🙂

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