Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dear Me...

Two of my favorite doll people -- in fact, two of my favorite people in the whole entire world -- are Mommy and Gracie from Youtube. I love them because they're intelligent, funny, wacky, and obsessed with dolls. The kind of people I'd love to be friends with in real life.

Today, Mommy posted a video called Dear Me, which was a message to her 13 year old self as part of International Women's Day. It was emotional and insightful, and it made me think back to myself at that age. It also inspired me to do a blog version, since as I've said before, I'm not technically sophistimacated enough for video. So... here goes.

Dear me,

At age 13, you are going through one of the hardest times in your life. As you already know, your best friend Mary, who you played dolls with, and who you built an entire imaginary world with, has decided to leave that world, and you, behind. She was your closest friend and the only person you could be your crazy self with, and you're devastated. It certainly doesn't help that you're about to suffer another loss of someone you're close to, and that you're about to discover that you have not one, but three health problems that make everyday adolescent life harder than it should be.

It also doesn't help that when you reach out for help, the people you reach out to just aren't emotionally equipped to give you what you need. These people include your parents, who have serious issues of their own, as you will learn in due time.

Honey, I can't tell you that things will get easier, because they don't. You're an incredibly smart, sensitive, creative, crazy person who marches to her own percussion section -- forget about her own drummer -- and things are never easy for people like us. But what I can tell you is that you hang in there, and that everything you go through makes you a stronger person. While things aren't necessarily easier in adulthood, things get better. A whole lot.

Over the next few years, you'll put away the dolls in an attempt to be like other kids. You'll do a few other things to fit in, but my love, you will fail miserably! This is splendid. The most meaningful times in your life will happen when you stop trying to be a character in someone else's book and focus on writing your own story -- I mean this literally and figuratively.

The great thing about you, though, is that you do very few really, seriously stupid things to fit in, and so you go through your life with your sense of self more or less intact. When you're 23, you meet the very first truly kind and supportive person in your life, and he will change you in ways you never imagined. He will teach you to be a problem solver! I know, 10 years sounds like a long time, but he will be worth the wait.

And just a few years after that, you will find a new best friend. Someone you can be your silly, crazy, introverted, imaginative polymath self with, and someone who is a whole lot nicer than Mary ever was. And you'll learn that not everyone runs away when things get tough. You two will have tons of adventures together. You'll make art, you'll laugh until you cry, you'll eat tons of ice cream, you'll tell each other amazingly vulgar jokes. In a lot of ways, you'll feel like your life really and truly began when you met him.

You'll also find a writing group of people as strange as you are. And a group of people who share your love of beads. And even some people who love writing, telling, and listening to scary stories. Some of these people will be the family you never had. Some of these people will not stick around, but you'll still learn from them.

You'll also keep collecting and playing with dolls. Play time doesn't come to an end for you, no matter how many people, yourself included, try to dissuade you! Bit by bit, you'll realize that all the best people still know how to play. You'll also discover that while Mary becomes very happy, she lives a fairly conventional adult life, the kind of life that would stifle you. You'll realize that the two of you needed to separate to become your own people. And while you will still miss playing dolls with her, you will be happy that she's happy.

You'll come to understand all the people who couldn't help you. When you are 32, you will understand that your mother has something called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is why she behaves the way she does. A lot of it had to do with the way she was raised. Your off-the-charts brilliant father was probably on the autistic spectrum, which explains why you didn't always understand the things he said and did. By the time he passes away, you will have forgiven him and realized that he had his own childhood trauma to work through. You'll even realize that as limited as he was, he did love you. You'll fully realize this while watching the pilot of Hart of Dixie, and you will cry alllll over the place.

Yes, you will continue to wonder what you will do with your life, what mark you will leave on the world, and you will feel as if your many passions are at odds with each other. But you will keep working on it, and you will be able to do this because you are finally safe enough. One thing all the instability in your life taught you was a profound appreciation for the safer moments on your life, and I'll even go as far as to say that you wouldn't appreciate them half as much if you hadn't waited so long for them.

In short, my love, you will be OK. And if any young person is reading this and going through something similar to what I went through, I just want to say, you will, too. If you learn to be tenacious. To be a problem solver. To be self-reliant when others let you down and compassionate towards those same people, no matter how hurtful they may be. To be open when you finally meet the people who understand you. And above all, if you keep your sense of play.

Much love,

Sarah J Sequins

(And dolls)

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