Dear High School Self,

We both know that you're only pretending not to listen right now, so let me just state my two cents and then you can go back to writing poetry while you listen to Linkin Park at full blast.

The insanity that is going through your head is an illusion that you have to muddle through. One second you're clinging to some self-righteous This is Who I Am manifesto that you've cobbled together after reading an epic passage in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the next second you're wallowing in self-pity and wondering why no one has asked you to prom yet. After three hours of lying on your bed staring at the ceiling, you get up to look in the mirror and you'll proceed to freak out about the five zits that are beginning to form a constellation across your forehead. And then you'll think to yourself ugh as if being in a wheelchair isn't enough, I have to deal with this b.s.?! 
Yes you do. And here's a newsflash: you always will. There will always be something you have to deal with, but unlike many of your friends you have some perspective to work with. Perspective that you'll have to set aside your incessant sarcasm, cynicism, and disdain in order to see. It's okay, you can set those things aside in private when no one else is looking. This won't be easy, the hardest person to be completely naked and honest with is going to be yourself. But when you get to that point you'll discover that you aren't just some punk who also happens to write well. Don't look at me expectantly like I'm going to tell you who you will be in a few years; for christ's sake kid, I'm still trying to figure that out myself! 
(Do take what all of those English teachers have been telling you to heart -- because they are on to something. And stick to your guns when your mother is screaming in confusion as to why you can't be more like your older brother. Wait out the noise because soon you'll be okay with the fact that your parents won't ever 'get' you; there will be bigger issues in equality for you to focus your energy and time on..)

In a few years you'll realize that you're not as blithely tough and invincible as those smart-aleck comments coming out of your mouth want you to believe. Actually, you should try spending 1 day each month without the sarcastic comments and just say what it is you really mean to say. It's probably not as dumb, stupid, pathetic, or weak as you think it may sound. Witty sarcasm may get you a few adoring chuckles from your teachers, and it may put you in a "cool" light among your friends -- but the moment will fade quickly. It's easier to garner respect from people when you're not joking around 200% of the time, they might take you a little more seriously and listen to what you have to say. 

Your friends are just as uncertain about themselves as you are. And the people who aren't your friends? They are tripping over the same self-doubt and lack of confidence that you carry around too. But your friends may not be used to being constantly judged or feeling incapable in the eyes of their peers. You? You grew up with it. Being in a wheelchair and constantly breaking bones like it's your hobby does something to a person. You won't figure out exactly what it does at this point, but at least take the time to accept that it sets you a part from your friends in ways that will take you a lifetime to understand. You will work this into your personality. You've incorporated it into your stubbornly adolescent attitude. You've faced it every time you roll out the door with your family. You already have the survival skills necessary to navigate high school hierarchy and the social quirks of teenage-world. But unless you're willing to acknowledge what you have in front of you, you might just be making things more difficult for yourself. As you're trying to figure out who you are don't deny what is already there, and definitely don't hide it beneath some riffraff. 

It's high school: this is just another hurdle in a lifetime of many other feats in store for you. You won't always be here and most importantly you won't always be this way or feel like this. Have fun, be there for your friends, act like you're hearing your parents, continue to do the things you love, dare to try things you don't think you will love, listen to yourself, and ... stop racing around the hallways so much -- four years goes by quickly enough! 

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