To the eleven year old at the Frank show

I’ve been thinking about you a lot since the Frank show in Athens.

Before I start I want to say one thing: YOU are a good thing.

If you take nothing else away from this, please remember that.

YOU are a good thing.

When I met you I thought you were a cool kid. It makes sense that you would be considering how awesome your mom is. I also thought you were a lot older. Less because of how you looked (you look like a full grown thirteen year old), but more because of how you talked. Behind the spastic there was an articulate, intelligent little humanoid. One who impressed the hell out of me.

You talked a lot about where you expected to end up and how you expected your life to play out.

Behind the melodrama you let little things slip, things that let me know that something inside of you had been broken.

I won’t pretend to know what that thing is. It’s none of my fucking business. And for the purposes of this letter, it makes no difference.

I told you that I had been a broken eleven year old. I told you that eleven was the first time I ran away. The first of many times.

And I told you that I am so glad I stuck around for the rest of this life because at 44 it is pretty fucking amazing. I wouldn’t have missed this for anything.

Look, this life you have, these things that have happened to you, the things that leave you feeling like less than – these are things that happened to you.

They are NOT YOU.

YOU are a good thing.

That’s the thing nobody told me at eleven. All of the shit that happened to me, the shit people did to me, none of that was who I was. Those were just things that happened to me.

Nobody told me that I get to decide who I am.

So, like you, I carried that shit. Like I was somehow responsible for that shit. Like I was unloveable.

Fuck that! I am fucking adorable!

Unfortunately, I didn’t learn that lesson until years later. After years of damage to myself and to the people who love me. Yes, I even woke up in a psych ward and got to spend several days there.

It is not nearly as interesting as you seemed to think it is. Boredom is the rule of the day. And shitty food. And longing for a place called home.

I kept glancing over at you during the show. I loved seeing you lost in the moment. Keep that shit up, kid. The best part of life are those awesome moments that break up the monotony. If you do it right, surround yourself with the right people, those awesome moments will be a lot more frequent.

At the end of the show I wanted to grab you, hug you and tell you that this life is going to be so fucking amazing for you that one day you’re going to be blown away with where you end up vs. where you started.

But then I realized, dude, that would be fucking weird.

This is your life, kid. You can decide to be anything you want. You can certainly decide that the shit that happened to you will not define you.

Most people don’t stay with me when I meet them. You did. You’re a good egg. I am cheering for you, kid.

You. Are. Good.


Copyright 2022 Rudy Martinez
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