Dear former high school friend,
It creeped me out to get an email from you at work. It was a bit stalkerish, however you found me, since the last time we talked, I hadn't changed my name or moved to another state. Saying you "came across my name" wasn't a very convincing or clever lie, since there is only one person we have both known that I connected with from and after that era.
I won't be telling you this, but that time period was very traumatic for me. There was no one incident. I wasn't bullied. Nothing terrible happened. But when I got a postcard at this address with my old name from our alumni association a few years ago, I almost had a panic attack.
I thought about ignoring your email. I even thought about being a complete coward and saying I was the wrong person with the same name. But I decided to answer you, and ask you how you found me, and ask, honestly: how do you summarize 20 years?
You see, I finally confronted the knots in my gut and stopped forcing myself not to think about that period of time this week, and ask, why? And I realized that was the time that the depression hit me the hardest.
You knew me with another name. You knew me while I was still angry, still drinking, still bewildered. But I didn't know then what I know now. I didn't know I wasn't a
freak. I didn't know there was help available. I didn't know there was
hope, and that one day, I wouldn't want to self-destruct.
So you see, you don't know me. So there's really nothing to say.
It's not you, it's me.