If you had looked into the blue eyes of a little red headed kid thirty years ago and told her that her life would not end up the way she was imagining it in her head, I doubt she would have believed you. That kid was a dreamer. Dead set on a life that she envisioned because, after all, there were no other alternatives in her childlike mind. She wanted to be a veterinarian or a marine biologist so she could “fix the sick dolphins”. Images of a bride in a white dress gliding down the aisle toward a man dressed in a tuxedo and her future flickered like a candle against a white wall in her head. Thoughts and anticipation about the day the baby doll she rocked to sleep in her arms was a real-life baby sparked an emotion in her that, even at five years old, was quite overwhelming. Yes, if anyone had tried to place doubt in her mind that these things were not going to come to fruition, she still would not have second guessed her life.
Enter me. The thirty-five year old version of the smaller one from the opening paragraph. Perhaps others could not persuade tiny me that these things would not be the path, but I guarantee you if I could go back in time and tell her a story to come, maybe, she would understand the happenings better along the way. I would kneel in front of her and take her small hand in mine and take a deep breath. I would try my best to explain that life as she expects it to be, will not be accurate. I will tell her that no matter what anyone says to her, she is not a freak or a failure or too stupid. I would caution her to watch who she considers a friend and to focus on school more than she thinks she needs to. With every ounce in me, I would do what I could to prepare her for the weird feelings she would start getting for other girls, and tell her that unfortunately, they will only get worse and more often and will break her heart. I wish to God I could shelter her from the noise of bullying and the silence of family when she finally has the courage to be who she is. But I will tell her over and over how damn proud I am of her. I will make sure she knows that those girls she will fall in love with, won’t return her love…can’t return her love; and that’s okay. It isn’t their fault. Just as you can’t control how you feel, they can’t control how they don’t. Never blame another for not being in the position to love you. Always love yourself more, regardless. I would then tell her to understand that she may not get married. All those wants and moments in her head may never be a realization, and she has to learn to be okay with that. It doesn’t mean your life was a waste. You will know the love of amazing family and friends, and that will be more than enough just in case.
Then, I would sit down on the ground in front of her and take her in my lap. Holding her like the baby she desires more than anything, I will explain that she will not be able to have children. It just wasn’t in the cards for her. She will cry and get angry and be very confused as to why. It will be that moment when I just hold her and tell her how sorry I am. Yet, with what poise I can gather, I will draw out a plan that involves possible adoption and surrounding herself with the children she teaches music to and the children of her friends. They may not be hers in biological means, but they will be in heart. And they will bring her so much joy. Following, I will tell her to be kind to her parents. I will make certain she knows the importance of spending time with them and telling them how much she appreciates them and loves them because, even though now they seem invincible and forever, they will one day be gone, whether in body or in mind. Neither are easy. But regret is worse. She will know that just because her life takes her a different way than college at one point, that doesn’t mean she is dumb. She will thrive and be rich in experiences and memories. And one day, she will go back, so don’t give up on yourself. You will do great things, just believe that and trust the paths as they change and wind in and out of obstacles and blind spots. You will figure it out and become anything you want to. Because, once again little one, no matter what people try to tell you, there is nothing wrong with you. You are exactly who you are meant to be and where you are meant to be. It will be hard. It will be hard as hell. You will experience heartbreak and anger like you can’t imagine at your age; far more serious than missing recess or dropping your apple juice. But you will grow through them and learn more about yourself and the world around you. The strength you gain will be immense and the knowledge far more valuable than you are aware of.
I guess what I am trying to say is, you will be okay. I promise. Every single time you think you can’t go on and you can’t make it, you will. Every time your heart shatters and your mind is filled with bad thoughts and voices, just know it is only a small fraction of the amazing life you have. Never, ever, let the bad things win. You have a lot to live for and your life is worth more than you think in those moments of darkness - when you are only seeing the world through tears. Thirty years from now, you will have survived every situation you never thought you would. I just want to tell you how proud I am of you. You will be fine, kid. Trust me. I know.