To 12-Year-Old Alicia

To my younger self,


You are going through a lot of changes now, and I know it can be scary to open up to people. Don’t be scared, don’t be shy, and, most of all, don’t worry what others will say or think about you. Take a chance and don’t hide. Show people your true self and not just what you think they want to see. I know this year is hard with all the teasing and bullying, but you have met a great group of friends and you should hold on to that.

When someone asks ‘how are you’ or ‘are you okay,’ don’t lie and say you are. Tell your friends what’s going on. Soon you would say it too many times and then you will start believing it too. Then it will be too late, too late to take back all the lies. The lies when you told your doctor you’re not depressed because you are worried what your parents will think. The lies when you say you are okay when someone is making fun of you and telling people lies about you because you don’t want to show them that they won — that they got to you. It’s okay to not be strong all the time, to cry, and ask for help. You are a bright and talented girl, and don’t let anyone take that from you.

At the end of this year, you will find a tumor in your wrist and soon another in your upper arm and brain. When you find the tumor in your wrist, mom and dad will just tell you that you were born with a mutation of the disease Neurofibromatosis Type 1. You will end up doing a ton of research and scare yourself — a lot. Don’t be scared; don’t worry. None of the things you read have happened to you yet. But be careful who you tell because right now you do not, and maybe not ever, want the whole school to know you can get cancer and people coming up to you asking if you are going to die. But the people you should tell is that amazing group of friends you found.

I’m going to be honest: It will get harder, but you have a lot of people who care about you and love you; you are not alone, and let these people in. Learn to trust, to let people in, and, most importantly, be yourself and stop caring what others will think of you. You are amazing. Show everyone your true self. Don’t be afraid to speak up and express yourself. You have a lot of fun and interesting things and trips to look forward to. Life gets better, and you and Becky don’t fight anymore. Have fun and always embrace what life throws at you.


Alicia. Your older self.




Alicia S.

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