Dear Teen Me...

Dear Jessica,

In about two miles, you’re going to get into your first car accident, so please slow down.

Your sister is in the passenger seat. She’s not talking to you again, but that’s okay because you haven’t really liked what she’s had to say for awhile. You let the silence speak for you. And she listens to that silence as if it were your confessional. And your confession is this: in this moment, you hate her.

She listens to that, too.

You hate her because she is making your life really hard. She’s dealing with some pretty heavy shit, and you can’t handle it. You can’t talk to her about it because it only makes you feel more shitty. It’s something you can’t control. It’s something you can’t undo. It’s something you can’t fix. But it’s something that is destroying her. So, Jessica, for once in your life, please stop making it about you.

Jessica (Hanson) Lidh Senior Portrait 2003

Here’s the thing about your little sister. She doesn’t really want a big sister. She wants someone to listen to her.

You think you can impart wisdom on her by repeating the same words over and over, stressing how you know more than she does because you’re two years older. But it’s not about you, Jessica. This is about her. And right now, she needs you to listen to her. She needs you to believe her. She needs to know you care that she survives this.

So instead of using this time alone to yell, instead of telling her how she’s a pain in the ass because you have to drive her to group therapy so she can sort through all this bullshit, just listen to her. No interrupting. No becoming defensive. No pointing the finger back at her. Just listen. It’s okay you don’t know what to say. It’s okay you don’t know what to do with all she’s going through. She doesn’t know what to do, either. No one does. But at least she’ll know she’s not alone.

Now, stop fiddling with the radio and look up.


This post originally appeared on the website, Dear Teen Me.