Prevention & Awareness

A Letter to the Strange Girls: Stay Alive

Stacy Pershall is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring Stacy to your campus to speak about mental health!

Active MindsAll right, Strange Girls. Listen to me for just a minute here. Seriously, if you’re in your late teens or early 20s, and you’re considering writing a book or a song or drawing a picture or kissing another girl or getting a tattoo or running off to join the circus or any other thing I might have done when I was your age, but you think maybe you might kill yourself before you get it done, sit your ass down and read this.

You are always going to be too much for other people.¬†Yup, I said it, and it’s true, and it blows. Sorry. So, that seemingly normal person whose normality you’re inexplicably idolizing, who’s making you feel kind of ashamed of being your big, loud self? You’re always going to have some version of that person. They’re not going anywhere, so set them aside for the next 30 seconds and listen to my voice instead.

The world really, seriously, honest-to-all-the-gods-I-don’t-believe-in needs you. It needs your blue hair and your goofy drawings and your outsized crushes and your passion and your foul mouth. It needs your big, bruised, righteous-anger-filled heart. It needs your too-loud laugh and your too-big nose and that fine, fine early 20s ass you think is too fat.

It needs your clumsy, awkward swagger, even if you only get it right for three steps every other Thursday before you fall on your face. It needs your cheesy poetry and your sloppy kisses and your rendition of that Pixies song you thought nobody heard you screaming from your car.

But to get even more specific — *I* need you, okay? I need you to stick around so I can pass this beat-to-s**t torch off to someone worthy when it’s time. I have trust issues, so you have to prove to me that I can trust you not to kill yourself, and that’s going to take a while. You’re gonna have to live.

If I could have one super power, it would be the ability to let you see yourself through my eyes. I look at you — yes, YOU, yes, really — and to me you’re just a big loud ball of stunningly beautiful everything. I love the f**k outta you. I love you so much, and I think you’re so gorgeous and amazing, that I’m staying alive for you, so you really need to return the favor here. Let’s just cut the s**t and acknowledge how hard it is to stay alive every day and do it for each other anyway, okay?

The world will always hurt, but so what? Pain is just the raw material out of which you build the shiny stuff. So start building, because I’m watching. I see you, and I like what I see. Just stay here. Just stay the f**k alive. Just stay.