Dear 11-year-old me,

Let me start by saying that this feeling at a finished stage is normal, a little werid, but manageable. Elementary school is over. Summer was too short. You’re wondering what comes next and are pretty scared about going to a school where you don’t know anybody. Everybody says you’ll make friends in no time, but I get you. They don’t understand how difficult it is to do small talk and you would rather skip to the part where you already have a couple of good friends you can trust.

And then there’s the fact that you don’t really want to stop playing with toys, but it feels out of place that you are starting junior high and still building doll houses. Puberty was never easy for anyone, but I know you feel that it has never been as hard as it has been for you. In a way, it hasn’t. You have no business experiencing someone else’s transition to teenage-hood, you have enough with your own. That would explain why at the moment you distance yourself and claim that “Nobody understands!”. You are right, they don’t. But they also have no business understanding yours, they have their own plates full.

All I can say at this point is that some of it (in my opinion, the worst of it) will pass soon. Like getting used to physical and psychological changes, and even the emotional rollercoaster driven by hormones and not knowing what to do with them. That will pass. The feeling of outside-ness, of inadequacy, of living in a body that sometimes betrays you and a soul that feels at times too loud and at times too quiet, that will never go away. And I don’t blame you for having wished it.

I thank you for all the effort you put in fitting in and trying to have other people like you. For following all the rules and the code that seemed to guide everyone around you. You didn’t end up with the easiest bunch, and your cards weren’t the best, but you worked really hard in learning their language and their ways, and earning your place in their tight group of friends. You learned that you were pretty good at mimicking and realized you could do it for a while before it felt pointless and withering. You didn’t need to stop being who you are just to please them, but I know that everything you did was with the best of intentions. Sometimes craving a sense of belonging can be stronger than the instinct to protect our identities. I am actually very happy that you failed to become somebody else and though it will take years for you to dig up what makes you who you are, you were worth the wait.

Hang in there,

Your future self

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