By Sara McCormick
To myself at the age of thirteen (and to other young women like me):
It’s been ten years. You’re imagining me pretty decently, and I think you might even recognize me if you saw me. Surely some things would surprise you. But be patient. You will live it. I want to talk about you.
I remember you. All long limbs and baggy clothes and prickly misanthropy. You are thirteen and confused and alone, and I’m not sure there is a more typical or more troubling combination. People will disregard you because you are young. They will convince you that you are invisible. That you aren’t real. Every once in a while you still dig your nails in deep to remember that you are.
I remember your terror. You are so afraid, so constantly afraid that you will be alone, and so constantly afraid that you won’t be. You are afraid of your best friend. Afraid because she has furious and wonderful wild hair, because she smells safe, because she has read the embarrassing poems you write and called them beautiful, because she makes you feel like you aren’t alone.
I have a secret for you, dear self. You love her.
I wish that in telling you this you would realize it. Wish you would tell her for all it wouldn’t do you any good. Wish you would know it just to see what you could do, knowing your powerful and fragile and new self.
And I’m sorry. Because you won’t realize it until you are twenty-two and bitter and aching and missing a time when you knew what your world was. You will spend almost all of these ten years in confusion and you will pretend to know nothing. Because no one told you what you could be. Because no one told you that you are real.
But I remember. I remember the time when all you wanted to do was to gently kiss her. I remember the time she wrote you a love letter and you kept it until the day you left for college. I remember telling yourself over and over again that you aren’t gay, you just care about her like best friends do.
You are right, self. You aren’t gay. But the truth of what you are will only hit you when you have stripped away the years of invisibility and of telling yourself you don’t matter, and walk unflinching into the flames because you know now.
You are bisexual, young woman. Young self.
And I want you to know, with all my heart, that you are real.
Sara is a Clinical Psychology student, activist and writer. Her priority is the growth, development and acknowledgment of young girls everywhere.