"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Friday, November 09, 2012

Never Grow Up: A Letter to Seven Year Old Me

Now Playing: Mary's Song by Taylor Swift (I was seven and you were nine, I looked at you like the stars that shined in the sky like pretty lights)

Dearest Seven,

Dearest Seven, this year was tough. You're in a split year two/year three class and your teacher is amazing and you absolutely adore her. You're the only year two who spends most of her time with the year threes and Mummy's so proud of you, but all the other kids think you're arrogant and pick on you and you're so confused, dearest Seven. You never accuse them of being arrogant when they get medals and ribbons for running fast in the races and you come last and get a tacky little sticker. Some of the other teachers tell you that the other kids feel bad when you do well but nobody listens when you explain how humiliating it is to be picked last for the t-ball teams with all the other kids who have it tough. You don't understand what's so wrong about being you.

Dearest Seven, I still remember how lonely you were. Nobody understood you at all, and you didn't understand anyone else. You lost yourself in a dream world where people are nice and the world is still beautiful, because school's fast becoming claustrophobic and hostile. You climb trees to get away from everyone but you get yelled at for that. Everyone laughs at how stupid your name is and you never wanted so much to just be normal, to look like everyone else, to have a name that people don't mess up, to be able to do everything anyone else can do, no more, no less. People figure out that you're different and throw basketballs at your pacemaker when the teachers aren't looking and you cry yourself to sleep almost every night. You have no one to sit with at lunch and nobody to talk to. You think that Mummy and Daddy don't understand you and you're always fighting, always crying. You don't have the words to express the millions of things that go through your mind and you stutter, but that only makes people tease you more.

And so you swear that you'll get through this alone. You realize that as much as people don't like you, you don't like them either, and you say that you don't want any friends ever again and when you grow up you never want to get married and you never want any children. People hurt you too much. You don't want anything to do with them. You've learned the hard way that the only person you can trust is yourself.

I wish I could have told you that you're not the problem. It was their problem, all along. There's nothing wrong with being different and smart and having dreams. You didn't have to feel so inadequate and hate your eccentricity. I wish I could have told you that strength isn't fitting in when you were born to stand out; strength is being yourself. But I know that's hard when you're seven and it feels like everyone's out to get you. When you don't help people you're accused of being aloof, and when you do you're accused of being arrogant. I wish I could have told you that no matter how hard it is to not fit in, there's nothing more important than being yourself.

Dearest Seven, hang in there. It gets harder, but it gets better, too. You become a little fighter this year, dearest Seven, and you need that strength. I wish you didn't. But you do.

Nearly Seventeen.

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