Dear 13 year old me
sketch: Jane Eaton Hamilton (after Picasso) 2014
I hate to break it to you, but binding is not going to push them back in. Someday you will live in a world where you get to decide, but you won’t be young by then and you’ll think those resources should go to younger people (and you’ll be right).
Your home life is not gonna improve, but you will get out of there. A long time from now there will be a campaign speerheaded by queers as old as you’ll then be called “It Gets Better” and they won’t be wrong. From the day you get turfed out of there, things will improve little by little.
Find older women whose work in the world you admire, and study their contributions. Mentors and models. Go be with them and figure out how to learn from them and emulate them. Especially learn how they didn’t get sidetracked by love and family–figure it out for you.
You will be so surprised that all the studies about animals in university were pretty much bang on wrong, just as you insisted they were. Perservere. Get at least one PhD and then do what you want to do–investigate animal communication/inter-species communications. Someday there will be people unlocking prairie dog and parrot communications.
I am not lying. This will really happen. Animals will become non-human persons in your lifetime. You will meet Jane Goodall.
You are going to get sick, really seriously sick, young, before you’re 30, because you lost a genetic lottery, and don’t believe them when they say (every year) that you’ll be dead inside the year. Don’t be ashamed and embarrassed at being sick. You are, and that’s just that. It will circumscribe your life in hard, painful ways that are not fair. But get on with things.
Don’t fuck boys because you will never be into that shit.
Know that pretty much everything society tells you about religion and social strata and race and poverty and intelligence and capitalism and women and reproduction and homosexuality are wrong. And oh yeah: Feminism is the best thing to happen to women ever. It has a million shapes and pretty early on you’ll find the one that’s right for you.
Find your people.
Your people will get human rights within your lifetime. You will have something to do with that. You’ll grow up to help change the constitution of a country.
Don’t couple with assaholics. (And yes, I do mean her. Walk away. Don’t look back.)
Enjoy your babies. You’ll be a great Adequate Mom.
You won’t be stopped because you’re sick. You’ll still do a lot of things remarkably well. You’ll publish a lot of books. You’ll write like a motherfucker.
Starting now, though, before you get sick:
Dance your fucking heart out–take every kind of classes out there. Smell a lot of fucking roses. Double up on your laughing. Fight for the environment. Fight for animal rights. Don’t eat meat. Travel widely (there is such a big other side). Find your mentors. Study like hell. Go to see even more art.
Don’t be chary with admiration and compassion. Don’t be chary with gratitude. Fight like hell to change the bad things. Take time to celebrate the good ones.
And know this: You were right about a lot of things, a scary number of things. I’d call you wise, 13-year-old, and you’ll get even wiser.