This is just a letter, a thank you note. Happy Interdependence Day.
I’m proud of you for showing up. It’s not always easy to arrive when you’re anxious, vulnerable, misunderstood, and need to expend a lot of energy to endure the sensory issues and social differences. I like that you know how to stay home and say no, sometimes. But I also like that you try saying yes.
I’m proud of you for feeling your feelings. I know you lie in bed and cry alone, as grief makes a whirlwind inside your body. You love really hard, and losing someone is intense. Mama, close friends, previous versions of yourself–anyone. You’re brave to feel it. And some people hide from joy also, but you feel the joy down to your toes. You’ve become very good at it!
The denial your family lived in would have been comfortably wrong for you to continue. Addiction would have killed you. Thank you for working hard not to live that way. I see you face anxiety, fear, excitement, astonishment, confusion, desire, tenderness, and all the feelings with a sweet boldness. You are a badass.
Thank you for taking care of your health in your own way. It’s a lot of work to say no to what culture’s telling you about fatness, what health even is, what mental health is, who owns health, and how it’s created and experienced. Your body is sacred, and no one can take that away.
The ways you perform gender are valid, and the ways you live in your body are valid. You owe beauty to no one. Thank you for saying no to responsibilities that you do not choose as your own. I admire that about you every day.
I’m proud of you for doing disability in your own way, and living how you want to. A lot of people are too afraid to make their own path. But I’ve seen you doing that you whole life. Thank you for being a good example of integrity.
Thank you for doing kindness in you own way also, respecting all people, even people you don’t agree with, and seeing a flame of humanity glowing in everyone. For a long time I thought kindness meant letting people walk all over me and sacrificing my well-being for the well-being of others. You show me how kindness can be strong and powerful.
Thank you for doing love with hard work and skill. You learn about it, practice, talk about it, ask for help. A lot of people won’t be real like that or prioritize what actually matters. You’re amazing.
Thank you for doing interdependence and never believing the lie that independence is necessary. It’s hard work to resist that cult.
I admire your persistence of learning who you are, again and again, as who you are changes. And your insight on your own life and past changes. A lot of people don’t want to face themselves, or they believe they have a fixed identity. Thank you for continuing to show up for yourself.
Culture is going to value people who know how to make money, who look certain ways, who can do normal things that are considered valuable, like drive, have a job, and have cultural competencies you’re not capable of.
Sweetheart, please don’t get discouraged that your skills are unusual. Sometimes your skills don’t even have a name. All the better. When people look at you funny and can’t figure out your game, please take that as a compliment.
I heard someone once tell you that you’re a true original. If that’s true, it makes sense that some of your skills don’t have names yet. I’m smiling at the irony of all of that.
You’re like the kid taking a standardized test who has brilliant answers the test makers never even dreamed of. The test scorers see what you wrote, laugh for a long time, and say, “Hey, come look at what this kid said!” The test scorers oo and ah at the strange, creative response, happy that the kids of today have a chance. Yes, vibrant, surprising newness is worth more than anything.
Then the test scorer gives the kid a zero because they have to–the kid broke the test. The kid was smarter than the test, but they get the lowest score, because the test cannot acknowledge that it was broken.
Yes, you’re like that. I love you, and many people do. But even if no one else loves you, I’ll be happy to. At least you’ll have me admiring everything, from this unique perspective.
You are a miracle,