|Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:55 AM|
I am pleased to inform you, that you, Alyssa, do get through it. I know that right now, you’re teetering on the brink of understanding how temporary all of this is, but just in case, something throws you off balance the wrong way, I want you to see that first and foremost, you get through it and good does come out of it, and I’ll give you a couple sneak peaks in a few minutes, just bare with me.
The scars go away one day, you’ll sit down to work on something, and notice that 14 years later, only one faded line remains. Stop scrubbing so hard in the shower, the scar tissue is darker because you’re biracial, not because there’s anything wrong with you. If I knew this then, I wouldn’t have scrubbed so hard in the shower when I compared the fair skin of my mom and my sister to my own uneven tan patchy, bruised looking complexion that covered my body.
I know you don’t see it nor will want to believe it, but you and Sarah are not star-crossed lovers. Yes, unrequited love exists somewhere for some people, but you have much more in store for you than reenacting your favorite play written by a dead white guy. You’ll cry for her no doubt and she’ll make random cameos in your life for the next 5 years or so, but at 30, she’s just a symbol of a beacon in a rough patch. DON’T CRUMPLE THIS UP! I know you’re pissed I just called this a “rough patch” but I promise you, things change and you come out better for it. If I knew then that I would marry a woman who keeps me grounded and would be my anchor in the toughest times, I would have spent a lot less time looking for “the one.” Nothing I did as a teenager brought me closer to meeting her, so flirt, kiss, date, etc. but don’t try to focus on the endgame, you’ll overanalyze yourself to death and lose friends because of it.
Try not to get too angry at your parents. Continue to be open with them, and continue to assert yourself (be it dreadfully long emails or late night cry fests with mom). This push and pull of acceptance and rebellion is just a natural progression of a relationship that you will truly cherish one day. I know when you told them you were Bi, and Dad said he would hate anything that prevented him from walking his baby down the aisle, and mom said it was probably because you were depressed. I know that hurt, and you feel like you’ll never be able to celebrate with them who makes you the happiest. All of this will become an after thought following the day Dad dances you down the aisle to African drumming, after your wife slyly asks them for your hand in marriage. Continue to let mom have a big influence on you and recognize that anything she does is an attempt at protecting you, no matter how it’s perceived otherwise. Her cut the crap attitude but genuine authenticity will stick with you and carry you through many rough times in your life. She is your #1 fan and though you hate her praise and compliments now, you’ll cherish the reserve she left you to carry you through the times she’s not around for. As for your sister, be inspired by her go get it attitude and continue to stay close, but stop measuring your self worth according to her. You see yourself in her shadows now and until you step away, you’ll never feel the warmth of the sunlight or even let yourself shine. You have a lot of shining to do, so start introducing yourself as Alyssa, not Monica’s little sister.
As for your friends, the friends you make in high school are great, and all in all, you have an amazing support group. Recognize that people come in and out of your life to teach us things and present us with opportunities, connect with them as much as you can without losing yourself. Keep in mind that just about everyone is so concerned with themselves at this age that whatever awkward statement you say or movement you make will not be worth fretting about because chances are, everyone else is too worried about something they did, they didn’t even notice. Give more hugs and listen, connecting to things outside of yourself will put things in perspective and will help pass these turbulent times. It’s a storm, you just have to wait this one out.
As for school, your struggle with anxiety and focus will pay off by making you a strong high school special education teacher. You have a personal experience to connect strategies to and the compassion you have for struggling students and teenagers will set you apart from many of your coworkers. You’ll also recognize the interconnectedness between being a woman of color, being a lesbian, having a learning disability, and having a history of anxiety and depression, and use them to be a change maker. Your journey is an integral part of that change and the influence you’ll have in other’s lives so trust it, find value in it, but don’t perseverate on it or use it as a crutch. Nothing can truly define you, nor should you let it.
When you do discover that you want to spend the rest of your life with a woman, and realize that the label “Bi” no longer works for you, don’t be so quick to put yourself into another box. Lots of self placed limitations come with labels and you don’t want to end up putting yourself into another box before you know what that looks like. Your career goals, your ideas of relationships, your spirituality, and support group, are all fluid concepts and will shift multiple times throughout your life, so let yourself explore, let yourself love, let yourself fall, and just know that it’ll shape who you are and who you were supposed to be.
If I knew then, that things would all work out, I would have taken a deep breath and let go. Find your faith in the universe a little sooner and enjoy the ride. It’s all temporary, except tattoos, choose wisely.
Hang in there, kid. You’ve got a lot to look forward to.