Dear 12 year old self

I remember you, and the weird tinglings,
That you felt for your school crush,
Love was literally around the corner,
He’d sit right beside you,
And little else did you wonder.

He was great at science,
You were, at best, average.
He was friendly, very social,
You were stuck up, introverted.

You admired him from a distance,
Promised yourself you’d tell him some day,
But you just let it be,
School crushes didn’t mean anything!
And love, wasn’t so easy.

You didn’t have many friends,
You felt isolated, shy, never confident,
Confined yourself to the solace of your own company,
Lived in a bubble, that no one could burst.

You were told to live up,
To incredible expectations.
“Being smart, was of utmost importance,”
“Mediocrity, was as good as failure”,
“Hard work, made the world of a difference.”

Somewhere, you bought into the whole story,
You tried to stick to that story line,
Believed you were meant for something bigger,

Appreciation, was never handed over to you,
Every time you achieved something,
You were asked to try harder,
“Not good enough”.

You were told your head would swell with pride,
You were told, you’d stop working harder.
Love was either authoritarian and dismissive,
Or submissive and overly accommodating,
The later, often being overshadowed by the former.

But appreciation, you got from outside,
Validation from your teachers,
Companionship and support from your friends,
For everything else, you had yourself.

When you felt scared, you had your own back,
You never felt lonely, just desperate,
To escape the reigns of an overbearing patriarch.

You were told we were royal, centuries ago.
Self-righteousness in our blood,
Violence, a liberally used weapon,
Intimidation, a way to get what you wanted,
Sensitivity, a weakness, respect, a default.

Your mother, like mother nature,
Was all too accommodating,
Compassionate beyond any humane capacity,
Helpful, sweet, mediating,
Taught you, to adjust, to comply.

All wrong. Brainwashing.

Respect needed to be earned,
Love needed to be shown, not held back,
Violence, was plain wrong,
Sensitivity, a requirement,
Compassion shown, only where it would be appreciated.

It won’t be all in vain though,
You can still use all the virtues you’ve learnt,
You just need to apply them in the right places.

As for love, the right kind will make its way to you,
And when it does, recognize it, accept it,
Don’t be scared of it because it’s not familiar,
Cherish it, because you truly deserve it.

So, dear 12 year old self,
I’m sorry for the mistakes you’re going to make.
It might take a lifetime to undo,
What you’ve experienced so far.
But you’re going to make your way out of it.

Love,
25 year old self.

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