To the girl in sport who’s being bullied:
I see you.
I want you to know you’re not alone, even when you feel incredibly lonely.
I want you to know you’re not who they say you are. They don’t know you and they don’t deserve to know you.
I want you to know there’s no one better you can be than exactly who you are.
I want you to know there’s nothing wrong with being you. Nothing.
When I was growing up, I wasn’t like the other kids and that gave them fuel to show me how “other” I was.
All I wanted to do was fit in because I thought it would make it all stop. I let other people define who I should be, so when I didn’t fit in to the boxes they deemed right, I thought the problem was me.
Read this as many times as it takes: The problem is not with you. The problem is with those who need to make others feel small so they can feel big.
Please don’t ever let them put out the fire in your soul. Don’t even let them diminish the flames.
If I could go back and tell my younger self something, I’d tell her the same thing I’m about to tell you:
You are exactly who you are meant to be.
Your passions are yours for a reason and just because others don’t always understand them doesn’t mean that those passions are wrong. There is nothing wrong with what lights your soul on fire.
One day, you’ll discover how beautiful it is not to fit in. You’ll celebrate the things that make you different, and you’ll celebrate what makes others unique. You’ll realize that everything you thought was wrong with you is actually what’s exactly right about you.
I know it’s hard right now.
I know people are mean.
I know you feel helpless.
I know you’re hurting.
I know you think that if you could just be someone different, it wouldn’t be so bad.
But I also know how incredible you are, and I know that it’s not you who needs to change.
You have no idea how much this world needs you, exactly as you are.
I hope you realize the power that you have in being yourself.
You will find your people, and they will love you fiercely and celebrate you for everything you are.
And all those things others tell you is wrong with you? All those things that are happening to you that make you question your place in this world? All those times you’ve felt completely alone?
Those things will help you succeed. They’ll help you be a person who is resilient, yet vulnerable. They’ll help you be kind and empathetic. They’ll help give you a voice for others who might not have one.
Don’t you ever be afraid to be everything you are—the world doesn’t need who you think you need to be, it needs who you truly are.
I’m so sorry that your beautiful soul and spirit has been crushed. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure what no one should have to. I’m sorry you’ve been made to feel anything but proud of who you are.
But I promise you that you will find your place and you will fall in love with who you are.
Sending you all my love and a little extra fire for that beautiful soul of yours,