Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What would I say to 16 year old me?

Stop trying so hard, and calmly go on with being yourself. You're in the wrong place at the wrong time, but soon, in a few years, you'll stumble into a place where you belong and are happy. You'll meet people you want to know for the rest of your life and leave behind the misery of living in a place where you have to keep the curtains closed tight even on the steamiest days of summer, sans air conditioning. Where people jeer at you because they always have, reflexively, in a way that has nothing to do with you. You exist only when you read, the grey Kansas of your life becoming technicolor when you open the pages of Bishop and Keats and Tolstoy. When you enter the branch library across the street from your house, someone, the librarian, Phyllis, is glad to see you. This is your true home. You are embarrassed by a body that is too mature for your mind, one the boys in your class furtively ogle, and the girls ridicule. How to hide it in a time where skirts skim the tops of your thighs? Your hair flies everywhere, unruly, in curls that never go in the direction you'd like. You fancy yourself a radical, get yourself nearly killed by going places you know you don't belong, riding a subway deep into neighborhoods where taxi drivers won't go, even in the daytime, 4'8" you. You join the S.D.S., and find that the others in the group are silly and worse, insisting that Manson is "cute," having little understanding of the consequences of their actions. You are a writer who hasn't yet learned the skills you need to know, but you will. Be patient. Keep being who you are. The world is bigger than you know.

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