📜 𝐓𝐎 𝐌𝐘 𝐓𝐄𝐄𝐍𝐀𝐆𝐄 𝐒𝐄𝐋𝐅 📜
I remember being you as a teenager. You were just starting to understand yourself and the world around you.
𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧’𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐥𝐨𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐬𝐨. 🙌
I remember being you in middle school, feeling a greater sense of freedom now that you had left the constraints of elementary school behind. ✊
But you also started to see the extremes kids would go to treating each other badly, not to mention the extremes you were aware of within yourself. 😨
It was not a New Normal you could fully comprehend, but to be fair most students probably didn’t fully comprehend it either.
Perhaps it all could’ve been boiled down to teenage hormones and puberty. But the fact remains it wasn’t pleasant. 🤷♂️
𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐝𝐚𝐩𝐭. 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐮𝐩 𝐚 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐚𝐟𝐞𝐭𝐲. 🧱
You modeled your demeanor off of the “tough” guys you saw in movies. Tony Montana from “Scarface”. Tommy DeSimone from “Goodfellas”. John McClane from “Die Hard”. 💪
𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐥 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠.
If anything, modeling these behaviors helped you get attention. It made other kids notice you. It made you feel powerful. There was little incentive to stop. 👊
And that chain necklace you wore…Yeah, the one in the photo here! You wore it because Tony Montana wore one too! 😉
I remember being you as you cussed liberally among your clique of classmates during lunch periods.
𝐖𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐝𝐢𝐝. 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐮𝐬 𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲’𝐬 𝐏𝐂 𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐭. ❌
Do you remember that one time your 6th grade teacher heard you? You remember that shocked look on her face, that you of all students would be the one to talk like that? 😲
Regardless, this moment didn’t change much, only that you were much more vigilant not to have teachers hear you in the future.
I remember being you when you felt verbally threatened by classmates. At the slightest criticism you would lambast a blanket of insults onto them. 🤬
𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞: 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐚𝐤 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐛𝐚𝐥 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧.
Again, you didn’t really know who you were. You were just a kid, taking life in as it came, figuring it out as you went along.
𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫. ❤️
I remember being you when you were diagnosed with Autism, Depression, and Anxiety. All 3 at once! You started to believe these diagnoses with all their descriptions were the answers to your suffering, to explain why you felt the way you did.
𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐬 𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥-𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬.
📌 You were told you were depressed because of a chemical imbalance in your brain.
📌 You were told you had trouble socializing because autistic people have trouble reading body language and people’s emotions.
📌 You were told there’s a correlation between people with autism and depression and anxiety.
You were given multiple medications, you went to therapy, and thanks to these new labels you were often reminded (inadvertently) about your limitations.
𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧’𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐬𝐨, 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬. 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟, 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞. 😔
I also remember being you going into high school, and you started to gain weight. Your metabolism, which had handled a daily consumption of junk food up to that point, had finally started to slow down.
You went over 200 pounds, and you shamed yourself for it. It’s why you hated being in photos and looking in the mirror; your double chin was there to remind you what you didn’t like about yourself. 👤
In time, you started resisting the labels you’d initially been given. In many cases you openly rebelled from them. ⛔
You still didn’t know who you were, how to get to know the real you, or who you even wanted to be. But you knew it surely wasn’t 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩! 👎
Instead of getting to know yourself, it was placed on the sidelines for school subjects you’d never use, engaging in social groups you’d never talk to after graduation, and beliefs about yourself that turned to out to be grossly false.
Please don’t misunderstand me. This letter is not meant to be a chastisement of school or your childhood memories. Rather, I share this with you because I want you to know that your life is going to be 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐲 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 a decade from now! 😅
𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐨! 😊
Without spoiling all the surprises in store for you, I can assure your life’s only beginning. It’s easy when you’re in the same place for such a long period of time to not see the bigger picture. But eventually you will. 😁
With that said, I must also warn you in advance! ⚠️
Getting to where I am today is not going to be smooth sailing. You’re going to experience many negative emotions, many challenges, and many setbacks. There will be points where you feel hopeless and extremely anxious about the future.
𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐨𝐨! ❤️
With these hardships you’ll see they were all just fragments of a greater journey you’re going on. You’ll see these hardships happened for a reason, and you won’t be able to become the person you are today unless you go through them first. 🙌
You’ll be here soon! 🙂
✍️ 𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝟐𝟗 𝐘𝐄𝐀𝐑 𝐎𝐋𝐃 𝐒𝐄𝐋𝐅 ✍️
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