The Letter Q Sends the Younger You a Message

The Letter Q is the most recent book addressing the issue of teen suicide and sheds the formalities of speaking to a broad audience you’ve never met. It is instead an anthology of letters from LGBT writers to their younger selves.

BY Brett Edward Stout

May 02 2012 7:30 AM ET

Jasika Nicole x400 | ADVOCATE.COMThe Advocate: How did you get involved in the book?
Jasika Nicole: We shot the first season of Fringein New York and, in our studio lot, Ugly Bettywas shooting. There was this girl on that crew and we became Facebook friends. After a few years that I’d been living in Vancouver, she messaged me and said, this girl named Sarah Moon is working on this book, I know you do some illustration, would you be interested in me passing along your contact information? So, it was this happy accident all thanks to Ugly Betty.

In the piece you illustrated, we see an image of you as a kid. How would you describe yourself as a kid?
I was shy. I was solitary. I wrote and I drew and I sang in my room by myself. I spent so much time by myself that my mom had to make me go outside and play with other children. Then when I got into middle and high school I threw myself into extra curricular activities; I was in show choir, I was a cheerleader, I was on the dance team, I was in theater. I did everything I could possibly do because I wasn’t in a place where I could comfortably deal with all these ideas about who I was in the world and what I wanted to be.

Is there anything you felt you left out of your letter?
If I ever wrote that piece again and it was longer, I’d probably incorporate some stuff about my family. My parents were always extremely supportive of me. It’s only now that I’m in a place where I can look back on my experience with my parents and recognize that they did the best they could but maybe they didn’t always make the best decisions. My parents were really young when they had me. I would love to do a comic where I talk myself through what I’m dealing with where my parents are concerned.

Do you think the child version of you would take the advice from your letter?
I have no idea. When I think back on my comic and showing my curly hair vs. my straight hair I can’t imagine that my straight-haired high school self could see that curly hair and think that it was beautiful. I think to even get past the hair would be really, really difficult for my high school self. Maybe if she read it in some way where the language was something she was more comfortable with but visually I don’t think she could handle seeing who I am. I think it would all be too overwhelming.

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