I know that there is a video out there outlining the dangers of skin cancer aimed at thirteen year olds. I decided to play around with this a bit, adoption style. I know that when I was thirteen I was pretty convinced that I had lost myself completely and the world was going to end. And the saddest part was that I felt that I was going at it alone, truthfully, I was. No other girl in Grade Seven was dealing with the same loss emotions I had been dealing with as far as I knew. But, at that age, don’t we all try to hide the true burdens that linger with us?
Dear thirteen-year old me,
You look very pretty today! Not because you have finally mastered that eye-liner stick or finally found the right shade of foundation but because you are smiling today. A genuine smile. Yesterday was a different story. You have known all your life that you do not know a soul that looks like you or shares your blood, and up until now you have come to accept it as part of who you are. But I understand, things are different. People will ask you questions and you are tired of making rehearsed responses. You will go to bed each night and cry yourself to sleep wondering if you will die not knowing who your family was. You will realize how ghastly wrong it is for someone to have to explain to you who your real mother is and those shows on TLC hardly help you at all. But, one thing is certain, this will pass.
People will eventually understand that the genetic make-up that defines how you look is small in comparison to the person who you are becoming by the way you interact with others. You will come to realize that only a small amount of people are out to make your life difficult, the majority care about you very much. You must help yourself by opening up a bit and allowing others in. Few will be able to completely dry away your tears or understand your problems, but at least some will. I truly respect people who are strong through hardship, even if they have every right to break down. You do not have to worry about what people will think after you tell them that you were adopted. It is not a secret that will affect your relationship afterwards. In your life you will be lied to and talked about, you cannot assume that it is always for the worst and you have to decide who is worth your tears and who is not.
Five years from now you will be different, a lot of crap got to you. The next few Junior High years will be a doozy but from there on out the ride looks pretty decent. You will become part of many families, affect many families and people, explore and discover new things, make a name for yourself. You will see new hardships, but none that you cannot handle. And at the end of the day, if it seems that most people have failed you there will still be two individuals braving your storm. Your parents. Just remember that they are the ones that cared for you when no one else did and remember that they are the ones that care for you now, even when you think you can take care of yourself.
Still growing-up me.