Who stands beside us in life’s unbridgeable moments? Who will help us transcend as the internal voices echo, “I was there…when you were picked last for the team…when you waited by the phone for the call that never came…when you felt alone and unloved.”
Each of us inhabits an invisible kingdom. It is the secret life landscaped by loneliness and neglect. It is the home of our resident ghosts and our indwelling wounds. It is the cryptic code etched inside a heart of sorrow that no one else can see.
This is an entryway into that world, inspired by letters and emails of teens who have written to me in an attempt to share their pain and doubt on such divererse topics as eating disorders, self-mutilation, drug and alcohol abuse, sex, death, and broken parts. One-part love letter, one-part guide, this book bears witness to each of our secret lives.
As one teen describes,“I want to steal the sun from the sky so everyone else can feel this darkness.” In the words of another, “I wish I could realign the stars so I can change who I am and be something more for others to love.” And finally, “Dear Scott, please write back, ’cause I have nowhere else to turn.”
Here is my reply.
“Whenever I feel like life is too much and I just want to go into the bathroom and swallow anything I can find, I read your book. You have no idea how helpful it has been to me. It doesn’t make my problems go away but by the time I am done reading, I am too inspired to hurt myself. You have saved my life many times, and you don’t even know who I am.”
—An Anonymous Teen