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Healing Takes Time

The letter below is part of an ongoing series featuring letters from authors to their teen selves. If you're a published author who'd like to participate in this series, we'd love to have you. Just click here and let us know you're interested. Today's guest is Deeba Zargarpur, author of House Of Yesterday, which comes out tomorrow.


Dear fifteen-year-old Deeba,

The first thing I have to tell you is the year.

It’s 2022.

I know. I know.

It feels impossible to be sitting here, saying the words to you, but you know I have to. I wish so badly I could go back to you, hold your hand, embrace you, and tell you, “We made it.” I won’t sugarcoat it because I know you’ll roll your eyes at me, but we did it. We lived past twenty and survived to tell the tale. I know you won’t believe me because all you know is the dark right now, but spoiler alert: you survive. You fought the dark hole of the future and made it to the other side. I said I wouldn’t sugarcoat it, so yeah, it hurt like hell to stay. It still hurts most days, but if you could only see yourself now, you’d be laughing-crying to see the person you grew up to be.

How I wish I could pluck you from where you are and bring you here, but life doesn’t have a shortcut button yet (last time I checked, anyway. I’ll try again in another ten years).

Deeba as a teen

So instead, I’ll give you a glimpse of your future. Are you ready?

2022 is the year that changed everything. It’s the year your wildest dreams finally came true. Yes, you wrote the book. Yes, it’s about the things we swore we’d never talk about. But you know you needed to talk about it to let it all go. You couldn’t shoulder all that weight by yourself. It was eating you up, not talking about the divorce. It was time. And it feels amazing to finally let go.

Unrelated plot twist, but you’re also a senior editor at a major publisher leading a Muslim imprint (I know you don’t know what the hell an “imprint” is right now and the only advice I can give you is Google it). So yeah, that’s pretty cool of you.

2022 is also the year our worst nightmares come true too. There is so much loss, some days it will feel like you’re back in that dark hole, searching for the light, wondering why the hell you stayed. May 20 is an impossible day. So is October 31. Nothing I tell you will prepare you for it. Your heart will grow more holes than you can count. A lot of days are going to be impossible to bounce back from. But the big difference (and listen closely, underline and highlight it if you must) is you are not alone. Are you listening? Reread that for me.

You are never alone, not anymore.

You are loved. Immensely. By so many people. That love fills the holes.

Because of that, it’s easier to get through the dark.

I know thinking about 2022 is an impossible thing for you right now, brave girl, so I’ll end the glimpse into the future here. I know this letter is too much, too soon for you. I know you’ve already stopped reading and stowed my words away for another day. It’s okay. Healing takes time, and you’ve got plenty of it.

When you do get back to this letter, whatever age you are, please believe this: YOU matter and YOUR VOICE matters and YOUR VOICE is going to matter to so many people one day.

And that day, and the many days after, are so beautiful.

So keep going, brave girl.

Oh, and okay I’m sorry but I have to give you one more glimpse. November 29. Write it down, remember it, let it be your reason to hold on. Keep on holding on. That day is going to be everything you could have ever hoped for.

I promise.

With love from the future,

Thirty-two year-old Deeba


About The Author: Deeba Zargarpur is an Afghan-Uzbek American. She credits her love of literature across various languages to her immigrant parents, whose eerie tales haunted her well into the night. If given the choice, Deeba would spend her days getting lost in spooky towns with nothing but a notebook and eye for adventure to guide her. Her debut novel, House of Yesterday, comes out tomorrow.


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