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Confessions of a Thirteen Year Old

By , Houston, TX
What do you want to be when you grow up? That has become one of the most thought provoking yet traumatizing question for me. I remember when teachers would ask me that question, word for word and I would answer exactly, "I want to be a doctor." I remember they would smile at me and think "Of course, she'll be a doctor. She's so smart." and out loud, they would say, "You can be anything you want to, sweetheart." I didn't know it then, but that line would become the most heartbreaking lie I've ever heard.

During my short lived childhood, I didn't doubt a single thing my parents told me. I didn't doubt it when they told me to take my shoes off when I was in the house. I didn't doubt it when they told me that eating candy was unhealthy for me. I didn't doubt it when they told me I was going to be a doctor. I didn't doubt it when they told me I was going to be rich when I became a doctor. Not if. But when. I was going to be a doctor and that was that.

I would go to middle school and high school, excelling in academics and then go to Harvard and then become a doctor. And then get married and have kids. I was so sure of myself. And I made everyone know it. "You're so sure of yourself." That was what my cousin told me with a half-hearted laugh when I told her about my plans of the future. She said it with much sarcasm and doubt. Turns out, she was right.

Now, as I begin to live my rebellious teen years, I doubt a lot of things my parents tell me. Like how someone will come and stalk me if I posted a picture of myself on Facebook. Or how I'll get diabetes if I eat candy. Or how, if I take a walk around my neighborhood, I'll get kidnapped and raped. Or how after college, I'll become a doctor. But that's not too bad because all teens are like this. They dismiss almost everything their parents tell them. But most and worst of all, I doubt myself. When I was a child, never did I doubt myself that I would become a doctor. Never did I give a second thought every time I assured myself when I was asked what I was going to be when I grew up. That was my biggest mistake.

At the beginning of seventh grade, I had my first of many life-changing epiphany. I realized I didn't want to be a doctor when I grew up. Maybe at heart I did, but I didn't want to pursue the medicine career for my parent's intentions, money. With that realization, along with hell, all of my rebellious emotions broke loose.

When you're as sure of yourself as I was about future and when all of a sudden, that future just changed with a the birth of a single thought, a single idea, all the stability that I depended on, that my world revolved around, just winked out of existence. For the first time in my life, I was confused about my future. I just changed into a whole new person because the old was positive about what the future was. There wasn't a clear path laid out anymore. I didn't know which way to turn, who to talk to, or what to do. My parents were obsessed with my grades and my (no-longer-existing) prospective career in medicine. My friends were obsessed with Justin Bieber and Iphones and getting an A on the next math quiz. I didn't have anyone to talk to. So I broke down. I started crying. A lot. There was someone I did talk to but it didn't work. I broke down so then he broke down and we both started crying and both of us were sad but rarely were we sad together and tried to comfort each other.

So in the fall of 2009, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would've said it was a secret. If I really trusted you like no other person in the world, I would've told you I wanted to be a model. Now that wouldn't have been much of a problem if I was 5'10", 110 pounds and absolutely confident in my looks. But I wasn't. I was hovering around five feet, desperate to just at least grow one more an inch and was slightly out-of-shape but petite at 90 pounds. I didn't have that strong foundation of self-confidence so my self-esteem took a turn for the worse.

I would Google or ask on random forums about ways to grow taller. I drank milk everyday and stretched. But what I didn't realize was that the reason I wasn't growing was because I ate less and I only got two to three hours of sleep a night. That was what took a toll on my growth. But I was stubborn. Even when I realized that and still wanted to grow, I didn't want to go to sleep at night because lying in bed allowed my thoughts to wander and that depressed me. I didn't want to eat because I knew I was going to get fat.

At school, day to day, I would compare every girl that came across my sight of view. The skinny ones made me feel horrible, especially the pretty ones. The ones that were bigger than me and not very pretty ones made me feel OK. I would categorize them. I made up a hypothetical situation where a modeling agent came to my school and was asked to pick a few girls out of all the school to model. I would put myself in the place of the modeling agent and determine which girls were relatively closer to your typical model and which were totally out of the question. In these situations, I gave myself an honest opinion. I probably wouldn't make it unless my 'chaming' personality made me really lucky. That was the truth and I knew it. I'd done my research and I knew that I'd never make it into the modeling industry. My new, realized dream was crushed and shattered into a million pieces within a couple searches on Google and a dozen flipped pages in a fashion magazine.

After that, I was completely lost. I didn't want to become a doctor. I wanted to become a model. But I couldn't. It was hopeless. In my head during those months, I had become this arrogant, yet self-concious and very judgemental monster. The worst thing was that no one knew. I didn't tell anyone except that one person I trusted the most in the world. My actions on the outside didn't change noticeably so no one noticed. None of my classmates noticed in the morning before the school that I had been crying my eyes out the night before. Nor did my mom noticed that I saved over a hundred dollars worth of lunch money because I didn't eat lunch for the majority of seventh grade.

I remember it was during Thanksgiving and winter break of 2009 when I first started staying up on the computer late at night even after the lights were off. I stayed up and argued with the only person in the world that I confided this secret to. I still remember the smell of the Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean lotion that I got for Christmas that year. The smell still linger in my mind as I remember myself absentmindedly opening the bottle to smell it and closing it and repeating. I still remember the graphics of the online poker game that I absentmindedly played after my cousin introduced me to poker that winter break. And I still remember how every conversation started on IM with that person. And how we would argue, throwing meaningless phrases and comebacks back and forth at each other until we were both beaten up and broken down. Little did I know, this would become a trend until the end of the school year in May.

During standardized testing, I deliberately only got five hours of sleep each night max. I completely ignored the frivolous imperatives from my teachers about going to sleep early and eating a good breakfast. It was a true sign of my rebellion. It was a true sign that I didn't listen to teachers anymore. I didn't listen to adults anymore. I made my own decisions. I was truly as independent as a twelve (turning thirteen) year old could be.



Right now, as I am typing this, and rereading it, and rereading it again, I don't regret anything that's happened. I remember that I said every night, I would regret all of it. All the crying, all the depression, all the secrets. And I remember he would deny it every time. Even when he was so tired he wanted to collapse in front of the computer screen, he stayed up with me. Even when we argued, he told me he loved me. And I, no matter how upset I was, told him I loved him back. I think that's why I'm here, laying the words on this document.

Things started improving at the beginning of summer break. I talked to one of his friends, who was knowledgeable about the modeling industry. It didn't really help in terms of me becoming a model but it helped a lot in different ways. It helped that I was talking to a reliable source and I recieved personal accounts and I didn't have to ask myself if it was true or not. For the first time in months, I was able to cling on something that I couldn't doubt. It was a trace of stability and the birth of a new path in my life and my future.

What I am sure about right now, about the future is that if I don't become a model, it's alright. I will try my best to become a model. By trying, I mean eating healthier so my body will be in better shape, getting more sleep so I can grow, being more confident in my looks because you're always more beautiful when you are happy.

The most important thing is, I know what I want to be when I grow up. I realize now that what you want to be when you grow up is not necessarily a career. People would often assume that an answer for this question would be some sort of career but it doesn't have to be. For me, it is who I want to be when I grow up. What kind of person I want to be and after all of this, I am positive on what that is.

I want to be an honest and caring person. I want to be a mother that my kids will be proud to look up to. I want to be a wife that my husband will smile at every morning he wakes up.

In terms of a career, I would likely become a pediatrician because I want to help kids when they're feeling bad and if they ever experience something similar to what I went through, I want to help them.

But for now, I won't be worry too much the future. I'll enjoy my teenhood because as Jackson Pearce said in one of her Youtube videos that explained why she writes for YA, it's the age where you can try anything. Where you can fall in love (check) or learn an instrument or take dance classes. I'll make it worthwhile so that in twenty years when I have babies crawling around the house, I know that I'm not ashamed to tell them of my past and I know that I emerged from these years to become a better and stronger person.





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Bethani said...
Oct. 17, 2010 at 6:37 pm
Great job! :) Very relatable! 
 
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