Advice for Twelve-Year-Old Me


When I was twelve, I wrote the first entry in my diary.



I’m not really sure of what to write. I got this diary from my Aunt Barbara because of my birthday. Which is really 9-5-99. Last night we had a party for all the September and October birthdays on my Mom’s side. I really want to keep a diary, so when I’m older I’ll look back to when I was a kid. I don’t want to grow up. Well, I’m not desperate or anything. At noon I have a basketball game. I like to play. But I don’t think the coach Mr. C thinks I’m very good. I don’t play very much. Usually I feel upset about this and Mr. C notices. So he asks me if I think I played enough. This makes me want to slap him and tell him to figure it out! I wish I was really good at something. A hero. I always imagine me doing great and clever things. But so far I feel like I’m taking up space. I have to be good at something though. But what?

Although I’ve changed in many ways, I am still that twelve-year-old girl wondering what I’m good at, looking for validation and acceptance. I don’t care about basketball (or any sport for that matter), but I would like to excel at something.

I am good at daydreaming. I often dissociate and escape to another world. I invent characters in my head who become friendly faces. I take them through twists and turns of an emotional story. They are entangled in romantic relationships while I stay at home. They don’t experience the hateful intrusive thoughts that greet me throughout the day. They only hear words of love.

I now have a therapist who I see on a weekly basis. My therapist works with me on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills. I am good at being honest in therapy sessions. I identify my emotions and describe how I’m feeling. In the sessions, I feel like I can truly be myself. I don’t feel ashamed about disassociating or having intrusive thoughts.

I would tell my twelve-year-old self to hang in there. Life might not be what you expect, but it’s still worth living. You’ll experience both joy and heartache while getting to know yourself. It’ll be a long journey, but keep writing in an honest way about your feelings because that’s what you’re good at.

I would also tell her to tell someone when she feels alone. “You don’t have to sit with your feelings by yourself,” I’d say, “You can open up to someone and that person can then be there for you.”

“There’s also a world of comedy out there that’ll make you laugh when you’re feeling down,” I would say to twelve-year-old me, “You’ll find solace in their jokes.”

Perhaps I would even warn her about alcohol. I’d tell her it’s not worth it. But, she has to discover some things on her own. She’ll learn eventually.

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Tags: DBT, diary, therapy

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