It has occurred to me that perhaps, just maybe, you weren't given the best advice about how to deal with people who are going to try to bring you down. I just recently came into your life, I should've at least tried to teach you something about bullies. But how could I have known that you weren't entirely equipped to deal with such a thing?
Yet, here we are, and someone has done something to hurt you. Well, for me that's totally unacceptable, but unfortunately, I can't go to school with you. It's not fair for you to wear me like armor when you have to create your own.
You see, the truth is that people are always going to have this streak of red in their person, like a badge of anger, we all carry it with us through life. It's always there buried deep or worn proudly upon someone's chest. It's like your stripes, your rank. How bad has life treated you depends on how red the streak on your chest is. Does it burn in the middle of the night, will it glow even in the pitch black of absolute darkness? Or is it softer, does it hide just beneath the surface and pour out over like lava when someone finally trips the switch in you?
When I was young, my stripe was radiant. The world had crossed me so much, but I aimed all that inside, and I deluded myself into thinking that the way other people treated me was exactly how I deserved to be treated, and it's not true.
I think you operate the same way. Hell, you might even believe everything these people tell you. How you're stupid, or you're lame. How you don't fit in, how you should mute yourself so that everyone else's noise exceeds yours. Don't listen to these people, don't let them dull you like that.
They call them bullies, they call them bad influences, they call them rude and things like that, but I don't want you to automatically assume that people are just mean. I don't want you to always think that people are just bad. I want you to believe that people are better than what they seem and that they can rise above, that maybe they're taking this out on you because someone took something out on them. I want you to always advance towards them with kindness. Even when it's not the very first thing that's shown to you. I want you to have faith that perhaps a good deed does not go unpunished.
I want you to stand up though. I want you to be proud of who you are, and I want you to believe in yourself as well. I want you to know you are capable of wonderful things, of beautiful ideas. The world is so open to you and you have all the ability to grasp it, to hold it in your hands and cradle it close. You are not the bad things people see, people look through narrow glass with filtered eyes, and mistakes are often seen through cloudy lenses. I want you to keep your eyes clear so that you can see someone for exactly who they are, nothing less or more.
When people make you sad, I want you to tell them that they've done that. Nothing makes someone second guess more than hearing that they've hurt someone's feelings. I want you to always be honest, to be truthful about the things that are bothering you. Because if you hold it in, it'll start to break you.
I want you to be bare to the people who matter about your feelings because they'll understand you where strangers won't. And they will be kind to you when others forget to tread lightly. I want so much for you, and I want you to never feel alone.
You see, when you love someone the way that I love you, you know that there's only so much one can do to protect another. I would be your shield if I could be, and for some walks of life, I can. But there will be times where I cannot keep you from all the things that will inevitably do you harm. That's hard for me to swallow. Because the one thing I always want to do is fight off the monsters from under your bed, but they're a little harder than the one's you're going to face in your own head.
But the beauty in this? The beauty is that I know I can give you the tools to fight. I might not be able to give you much, but that I can do.
I can teach you how to quiet the roar of anxiety, I can help you learn to mute the self-deprecating words that depression will bring you. I can give you the extinguisher to put out the fire of fury that will rage at insignificant times or moments, even though you feel as though you deserve to burn down a forest, and I can teach you to navigate the world of emotion that will help you better to serve others and yourself.
C, as your stepfather I can't do more than guide you through this world in the hopes that one day, you'll be proud of who you are. But I need you to know I am already so proud of who you're becoming.
So the next time the bullies come to tear you down, I promise, you will know how to build yourself back up.