It's been months. I'm honestly not sure if you're dead, hospitalized, or just have a new email address. I'm not sure if you just didn't want to keep replying to that kid any more so you stopped. I don't know.

But I do know that you never let me feel lonely. And only now do I appreciate that. So thank you.


hi. i haven't forgotten about you. i actually think about you a lot. it's the holiday season and really what i'm writing to do is thank you. you were one of the biggest inspirations and role models in my life this year. it meant a lot that you ever took the time to reach out to me. that was a point in time that i needed that. i was lost and sad and didn't know how to tell anyone and i don't know if you saw that or didn't or just saw something in me that no one else did but it was hands down the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. you never restricted me and you believed in me and you made me feel like i could do anything and i'm writing this and crying because i'm an emotional baby but also because i knew you for the smallest amount of time.
i'm doing okay. it's not great but it's okay. i don't go by indie anymore, because something about the name ndemazea feels better. it feels right. i'm in high school and my grades are good and i have two friends and i give presentations at the school's feminist club. i help with graphic design and i write sometimes for lithium magazine and it's one of the best decisions i've ever made and it was your words that pushed me to do that. i tried creating my own but it didn't really work. next year i'm taking 5 AP classes and i work at the school's credit union and i'm doing okay. i have hope. some days are worse than others but at least i remember that things will get better. i don't listen to hamilton anymore but any time it comes on i know all the words. sometimes i cry and listen to lana del rey and look at pictures of puppies just to make myself feel which is concerning to some but it works for me. i get nervous and i talk a lot. i walk too fast. i still play the cello in the freshman orchestra and i'm the worst one but i try every day. i think i'm happy. but i don't know.

i hope you are happy right now. i hope you're doing something you love and chasing your dreams and making the world a better place and i hope you're okay. i hope you've found it in your heart to love the one person that matters (yourself). i'm still crying whilst writing this but i hope you cry only a little when you read this letter because you miss me too. I know that's a lot to ask, but i'm arrogant in the way that i like to think my writing can make others feel. i know this friendship is a little strange because you're 29 now because your birthday just passed but if you think of it more like a mr. miyagi mentor-mentee thing it's less weird. i haven't been able to remember what kind of tea you gave me almost 11 months ago and that's not the reason i'm writing to you today but i would love to know.


i hate being late, but since i lack the skill of driving, i rely on others to take me places and everyone around me is a late person. including the bus i'm currently on. i was 15 minutes late for school yesterday. being late makes me nervous that i’m disrupting everything and delaying the process going on wherever i was going and if i’m even a minute or two late, i would rather not go that day. my anxiety has quite a hold on my life. frankly, i believe i’m a skin suit controlled by a sentient hive of bees and that’s why i’m so awkward, i float around places and am always nervous: the bees are frightened to be found out. it's not the most plausible situation but it explains more to me than a huge hormonal imbalance in my brain telling me everything is scary. but everything is scary and i flinch when people raise their voice and jump when they come up from behind me with no warning. high school hallways are battlefields.

i want to do something important in my life but i have no idea what. for a long while, it was to write and inform the public but my lack of dedication to my craft and also general averageness in it has bogged down my interest. then i wanted to be a bureaucrat and solve problems from the inside but i’m slowly realizing that not only may there not be a strong central democracy after this administration but i’m not good for politics or to the law and my career aptitude test agreed. it said i should be a bank manager, and while i abhor the thought of being a bank manager, maybe it's right. maybe i can't do politics or write. maybe i shouldn't. but i got invited to D.C. for a leadership conference about politics. i don't know. maybe.
on november 9th, a person dressed like a "white knight" stood on college avenue and waved a trump flag. i’ve never been more fearful for my life and the people i love. along with that, there was a man who harassed planned parenthood patients every day in the autumn. things here are changing and i don’t want to sound like i’m whining, but i don't feel safe anymore. wisconsin voted red for the first time since the 1970’s. as a black, queer, disabled female living amongst all this, i put my head down and try not to make too much noise and if it's dark i don't go outside. i don't want to do anything. with all the executive orders and other political nonsense going on, it makes it hard for me to want to do anything. i think i'm having a depressive episode, but at this point, life is depressive episodes with limited commercial interruptions.
the feelings of inadequacy that i get when i compare myself to my peers is so strong, i cannot fathom how others can feel. i've never been a straight a student, no matter how hard i try, and it's frustrating to see those (even friends whom i love and respect) not try at all and continue to ace their classes and live on with perfect gpa's. and the advice i have gotten about this issue is to stop comparing myself to others, which is the worst thing you could ever tell an adolescent. i've been told my whole life through the media and subliminal messaging through magazines and television that i'll never measure up. feeling inadequate is ingrained into our children. it isn't enough to tell me to stop; that's like telling a smoker to stop smoking and expecting change.


so it's been a while. things have been. things have just been. i didn't write because i didn't want to bore you with the monotony of high school life in middle america because shows like dawson's creek already exist, but also because writing these letters takes a lot out of me. these emails expose the truest form of me and it's scary because i put up a persona of someone who knows what they're doing but in reality, i’m drowning. i'm lost. as i grow up i only begin to realize the horrors of the world around us and it’s scary.

i think i'm depressed. i know that i have an anxiety problem and my anxiety makes me sad. sometimes i'm only sad for a hot minute. the sadness feels like a hole. first, the hole is small and manageable; it can be refilled and forgotten about. right now the hole is an ocean. the waves sweep me up and somehow i wash up back onto my bed at 8 PM or 7 PM or 4 PM and i don't move. i don't know how to swim and so i just drown. everything is empty. i want to be there and be present in the moment and be there for the others in my life but i’m in the bottom of the ocean and i can’t swim. so i lie in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, watching pointless buzzfeed videos and crying for the sake of trying to feel and it feels like i’m in a trance and i’m stuck and i’m tired and i’m drowning and all these long, fitzgerald-esque metaphors can’t explain the empty i feel. im very sorry if reading this ruins your day.


Hi! You didn’t ruin my day; perhaps quite the opposite.
Talk to me.

Text by Ndemazea Fonkem and Visual by Dharma Gilley

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