Dear teen self,

I keep trying to imagine all the stuff rolling through your mind and body. Like the hurricane of 1938, which you experienced. You are being hit on every side and tossed around, while trying to stay placid in the very “eye” of a storm. I really admire your stability. It’s going to be a major strength throughout your life.

Your parents and siblings will never understand your struggles. They protect themselves by feeling you are just “different” in some mysterious way, and that you will grow out of this adolescence. You can live with your Dad’s indifference and your Mom’s sad demeanor. But I ache for you. Being different has no name yet and no society that welcomes what you will later discover as “gay.” You are being punished by ignorance and silence, and yet your strength and resilience is remarkable. You sing, dance, lead, and socialize. You perform. You park your shy self at the back of the lot and then go take it with you on long walks, bike rides, hikes, and you compose music and poetry to share with God. Terrific! How, O how, do you know, against all odds, that God accepts you when it seems others don’t?  You are right about that. Hang on to that belief. You are accepted by God.

Now you’re also struggling with pacifism.   That’s a big one in the midst of this awful war.   You will feel so much wrath from family and peers if you declare you are a pacifist when registering for the draft.   There are many alternatives to consider.   Try to find an honorable one and stick with your convictions.

Later in life you will realize what a rebel you are. It may even bring you honor. I know I am proud of who you are and who you will become.