Letter #153

Content Warnings: Racism, Social Rejection, Bullying


Dear Reader,


I hope you find your problems less of a burden when you read my letter because whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone.


As a kid, I was pretty naive—a good kid, but naive. Kids are a lot more racist than older people, and I was able to figure out that I was not going to be treated the same as blonde Emma right next to me. That didn’t bother me too much. I had friends, and I was academically ahead of everyone else. While the other kids were doing color-by-numbers, I was doing crosswords and jigsaw puzzles with the teaching assistant.


But friends? A distinct memory of mine takes place in the 1st grade. The “popular” girls were making origami cats, and I wanted to make some too. I asked them if I could join, and they gave me the “you’re joking” stink eye. There were reasons for that look. My favorite color was pink, but theirs was blue. My favorite singer was Taylor Swift, but theirs was Justin Bieber. I wasn’t one of them. So from that point on, I made it my goal to be liked by everyone, and you can predict how that went.


The rest of elementary and middle school was a blur. I can only recall two people who were kind to me and stuck by me for who I was. Every day, it was like wearing a mask to school, striving to fit in and getting others to like me. You think math is dumb, and you hate it? Couldn’t relate more. You think blue is a better color than pink? Absolutely.


I talked the way the people around me talked and acted the way people around me acted. This worked until I started high school, and I started having doubts about who I was as a person.


Am I really an extrovert? 


I just learned how to be a good talker because I was such a people pleaser. 


Do I actually like rap music? 


Or is it something I’ve grown to tolerate?


I had different personalities depending on the friend group. With my group of girlfriends, I was a smart, funny person who didn’t talk too much or too little. With my group of guy friends, I was a confident and talkative fellow bro. With my church friends, I was the quiet girl who sang in the choir. With my family friends, I was the one who had a weird sense of humor and who sang obnoxiously loud.


Who I actually am is anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s a combination of them, or maybe it’s something else completely. Who knows. I’m 16 right now, so I hope when I get into college and start fresh—both socially and academically—I’ll be able to discover who I am. 


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