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November 20, 2012
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Isolation is something that encircles us all, not just me. I'm no more special than anyone else is.

Just remember that, and you'll be okay, 'cause then it means you're not alone, and in turn, not isolated. You know, that feeling you've had since you were young? Since what, 2 years old? 3? 4? 5? Whatever — it was that feeling you've had of not belonging anywhere in the world all your life. Not within your family, not your friends, not your school...not anywhere.

Your 17-year-old brother (as of 2012) who once played with you every single day throughout your childhood from infancy to kindergarten to second grade or something — he turned on you. Remember that? This girl you both hadn't liked was suddenly a girl your brother hung out more with on that one day than you, his sister. That's not all he did! He did it with two (not three 'cause he wasn't born yet) of your closest (who were close by physical distance and by relationship) cousins, too! Every time you both were forced to go on the five minute drive from your house to your cousin's house, that brother of yours went running off and sticking to them when not just 10 minutes ago he was by your side and having fun with you. Then the three of them glued to each other like a group of children in a playground, and you watched in loneliness and self-hatred. You found out for the first time just how alone and unlikable as a 10-year-old person/girl you were. The way they treated you, shunned you, hated you, kept you away from their video games...

Something must've been wrong with you! You thought you were just a normal Asian kid! I think the childhood experience traumatized you — but that's just it; it was your childhood. Get over it already! Jesus, girl.

Ugh. Whatever. Now comes school time. Third grade. Fourth grade. Fifth grade. All alone most of the time, weren't ya? Had the best time of your life acting like a weirdo in 4th grade, but then you decided not to pretend anymore in 5th grade and those boys and girls you amused went off to find entertainment elsewhere. Then you met this girl you thought was nice beginning of 5th grade, asked her to be your friend. She said yes with equal cheerfulness to yours. She went and made friends with some other girls and people and got closer to them than you, but you were both friendly and still close to each other. Then that girl moved to San Diego, and with MySpace being the hype at the time you kept a little contact with each other over it.

Going into 6th grade, oops, alone again, and another oops, met this girl in your history class, asked her to be your friend, friendly yes in answer. Disappeared from that class 'cause she transferred to another one or something like that, and you didn't care to remember or notice until you saw her again in 7th grade. By then you also gained more friends and actually started AIMing and talking to the girl, Divina, who was closer to your true 5th grade friend than she was to you. You actually started to like her, though you also lost touch with her soon enough. As for the other girl from history class, you found out that she was friends with a group of these other almost-friends of yours, and you all liked each other, so then you got together as a group and stayed that way until the end of 8th grade, when all of you separated entering different high schools and never really stayed in contact even though you promised. Huh. What happened there, dude? And along with the girls, those guy friends you had in 7th and 8th grade? What happened to making guy friends, or being popular with them? Why you no be friendly with them boys no more, girl?

Don't even get me started with high school. You got nothin' from it but forced friendship with a big group of girls in 10th and 11th grade, and then still more forced friendship with the rest of the little group that was left in 12th grade after the seniors graduated. Oops, did you stop contacting each other again? Hey, what are friends for, right?

Let's not forget your family, huh? Family. Relatives. Your blood. Your — what was the word — loved ones? Such an ambiguous term to call people you're not really close to, or even love, 'specially since you forgot how to speak Vietnamese and Chinese, huh? Oh, did they let you forget it. Didn't think so, huh? Time and time again you got a few dozens/hundreds/millions of reminders, actually — even though you had vowed to yourself silently that you would learn how to speak your native languages again and show them who's boss. Or God. Y'know, 'cause you're so godly and that's why you're so alone.

Anyway, now you've got two younger brothers on your hands, or out of your way more like. Boys will be boys, right? Even though they hate each other, they still stick to one another like glue, but you don't really mind it. After all, you're used to it by now, and besides, you still love them, I guess, and they still love you.
And your parents, yo? They love ya too! So much! Even your alcoholic daddy who almost had his drivers license taken away for drunk driving in your elementary school years, who got better but then kept smoking and bringing home large boxes of Budweiser beers and drank tons of cans every single night during your middle and high school years. That man, such a carefree drunk. Rarely he got violent and angry and volatile with ya'll, 'cause y'know, we were all his family and he loved us to death and he liked smiling and teasing like a weirdo more than bein' a mad drunk. Oh dear! He didn't even strike your mommy! Not once, even when there was that one terrifying night when he smashed that glass table in a fit of anger over your mom! Not even when he, during your 11th or 12th grade year, unreasonably got mad at her for going to a family's wedding one night and coming back pretty late and sped off, once again drunk driving a few years after the last time he did so, caused all four of us to worry and fear for his life...which didn't last much longer after that night. That was only three years ago. Your mommy got up the courage to discuss his alcohol habits, and he quit for ya within the week. The year before that he already quit smoking 'cause of a bet he had with friends. Oh, made both look so easy. No more cigarettes for him. No more beers for him, 'cept on those occasional nights when he got together with his best friend, your uncle, rarely.

September 22nd, 2012. Don't you ever forget that date. Three years later, after losin' the cigs and cans, you lost him. The man who tried so hard for you. Who, despite you knowing that he favored your brothers more than you but nonetheless know that he loves you like a daddy should, did everything for his family. Who kept working every single day that wasn't Tuesday to keep the house paid for, despite disliking his job. At first he was really reluctant to cut off smokin' and drinkin', ya know? But if it was for his family, oh, he'd do anything, like your mommy would too. The parents you also felt isolation from, but also a sense of closeness and love, they love you like they should even when your brothers were preferred over you.

But you didn't let that fact ever get you down. Due to an accident, you lost your daddy. You love him. It's selfish to care about something other than that. They would've been crushed if they had lost you. You — who felt, and still feels like ya can't belong. Yes, you, Jenny, you unimportant invisible unlikable little girl you. The rest of your family, maybe some of your friends too — they would've been crushed. You love them all, even more so for that fact.

So, Jenny, you donkey — you've stayed the most hopeful, cheerful optimist that you were before. Hope you still do later. Feeling isolated gets you nowhere in this world. Life's gonna be life.

~one optimistic girl
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:iconofonesoul:
OfOneSoul Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This letter was so real and gut-wrenching... it must have been very difficult to share so much - which makes you all the braver for it. :tighthug:

I found quite a few grammar errors throughout, but for me, they're not worth mentioning. What makes these Dear Teen Me letters so great is that they're real. Despite their bad grammar & sometimes fast-paced storytelling - it is these qualities which give them voice. Finding a voice in writing is often times very difficult for writers, but I think you've achieved it nicely - especially with this piece.

Good luck to you darling - and despite the sins of our fathers, I feel that they will always love us and we will learn from their mistakes in turn. :heart:
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:iconstarija:
Starija Dec 29, 2012  Student Writer
okay, i'm finally getting back to your comment! lol i was lazy about all my comments and notes and dA updates, but not so much the previous two days.
yes, the grammatical mistakes were definitely purposeful and widespread A LOT. i like voices like that, so i think i intended for it to convey my voice, as you say.

let's keep both our daddies in mind! inside, you should know of their love. good luck to you in the contest as well! going back to your letter, i just realized i already commented about wishing you the best of luck. lol anyway, i loved reading your letter. i'm curious, can you tell me why you decided to enter this contest? if it wasn't just the prizes, did the prompt pique your interest and make you want to write such a personal letter?
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:iconofonesoul:
OfOneSoul Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome, darling!

And about why I entered - I've never actually thought about my life as a teenager. Nor have I considered what I've learned and the mistakes I've made. When I read the theme for the Dear Teen Me Contest... it forced me to consider all those things.

... and when that started, I simply had to write about it. ^^;
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:iconstarija:
Starija Dec 31, 2012  Student Writer
i never thought of it 'til writing my letter, either! (well actually, i USED TO think about it since i actually liked writing a "diary" back in 5th grade or something.. when i was REALLY young. i totally stopped completely though when i got lazier and lazier.
but anyway, you think maybe you needed this contest? ;p like, needed to write it?
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:iconofonesoul:
OfOneSoul Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Eh - I needed to get the thoughts out.

It's good to let a few repressed memories/feelings out every once in a while, no?
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:iconstarija:
Starija Jan 1, 2013  Student Writer
lol yep! needs are needed!
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:iconingodzhandz:
It sounds like you're too hard on yourself.
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:iconstarija:
Starija Nov 23, 2012  Student Writer
waaat but i like myself too sometimes! D:
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:iconingodzhandz:
You just seem to hate yourself for feeling lonely and isolated.
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:iconstarija:
Starija Dec 2, 2012  Student Writer
oh. aww lol
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