Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Letter To a Kid Like Me

Here's something I wrote awhile back. It's what I wish someone had told me when I was 10-12 years old.

Don’t let them tell you you’re not OK. You’re a wonderful person - everyone’s wonderful, even if they’re hurt, even if they do bad things, even if they don’t think they’re wonderful. You need to remember that. Use that knowledge as a shield between you and anyone who tries to hurt you, or says you need to be someone else.
Try to remember you’re not the only one fighting this. You may be surrounded by people who all seem to want to tear you into pieces and rebuild you as someone totally different, but chances are there’s someone on your side. You may not have even met them yet. Keep looking.
You’re not the only one in the world like you. There’s others whose minds work in similar ways, who understand how it feels like you’re an alien in human morph[1], like you look just like everyone else but inside you’re totally different. There’s a name for how you’re different. You may not even understand what’s so strange about you, but there’s still a name for it somewhere, and someday you will find out what it is. You’ll learn what kind of person you really are.
And it’s not your fault if you feel powerless, if you can’t avoid something bad. It’s not your fault if they threaten you and you give in. But fighting back can help you hold on to your power, can help you hold on to yourself. And if you figure out the right way to fight, you can help someone else. But remember, you don’t need to put yourself through more than you can handle to fight the wrongs of the world. You need to learn to take care of yourself as well. You need to find someone you can trust, someone you can be vulnerable around without them hurting you.
Don’t punish yourself. They’re punishing you too much already, and it’s not fair. You need to respect yourself, and love yourself instead of hating yourself. It’s OK to make mistakes. You don’t have to be perfect to be an OK person. You don’t have to know everything to be proud of your mind, and you don’t have to be good at something to like doing it. Don’t let them kill your love of things by making fun of how you do them. Find your own way to enjoy them.
Remember to love yourself. You need to take care of yourself. You’re not selfish if you need things. And there’s more than one right way to do things, doing it differently isn’t the same as doing it the wrong way. You don’t have to do it their way, even if you only want to do it that way because they say it’s wrong. And don’t be afraid to be yourself even when others will think the wrong thing. If they can’t kill you, then you’ll survive, and the only danger is that they’ll damage your self. And the only way to fight that is to be yourself.
Love yourself. It’s not your fault. You don’t have to be serious all the time, don’t let them take your fun away from you. Being silly is not a betrayal of the pain people are going through, it helps you cope. Don’t feel bad if you react the ‘wrong’ way, as long as you care about other people’s pain it’s OK to react in a strange way. It’s OK to laugh from fear if that’s what’s natural for you. It’s OK to find things funny even in the midst of awfulness.
Don’t let anyone tell you you’re a bad person. Everyone is valuable, everyone has some good in them. No one’s perfect. Normal isn’t perfect, in fact you may have noticed normal has some problems with it. But they can be fixed by nice normal people who like diversity. And it’s OK to be white even though white people have done bad things to the other races. Racism isn’t unique to white people, and it’s not counter-white to be nonracist. Same goes for any other difference.
Don’t be afraid to seek help. You can’t fight the world alone, find the people who can help you fight the good fight. Find someone who’ll get angry on your behalf when you are hurt. It can help remind you that you don’t deserve to be hurt.
[1] When I was around 9 years old, I was obsessively interested in a book series called Animorphs, in which five kids get the ability to turn into animals from an alien.

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Blogger elmindreda said...

Would have loved to get a letter like this one at that age.

11:09 AM  
Blogger stevethehydra said...

Me too. I really identify with this.

On the other hand, i'm not sure that the concept of "loving myself" would have made much sense (as in logical sense) to me at that age... in fact, TBH i'm not sure if it makes logical sense to me now, because, if i stop to think about it, it seems to require a sort of separation between 2 entities called "me" and "myself", which i don't think i have...

This, and Ballastexistenz's most recent post, are both making me think of Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion, which i've been downloading and watching recently. I'm *certain* she's autistic...

5:57 AM  
Blogger Ivan said...


I too wish I'd seen this ten years ago........


1:19 PM  

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