An Open Letter To My Middle Child

To my 2nd born,

I see a lot of myself in you. The way you act, and react to the world around you, reminds me a lot of myself. So I'm writing you this letter young one, despite the fact that you will most likely never read it, in the hopes that you will be more prepared for life than I was. And if you're more prepared, you can avoid the pitfalls that I have struggled with.

The first thing that is apparent is that like me, you love what you love regardless of what anybody else thinks. Thankfully you are growing up in the age were geeks and nerds rule pop culture as much as they do the "adult business world". Comic book movies, video games, computers, all of these things once caused their fans to instantly be labeled as social pariahs. Outcasts, doomed to never know what was "cool", get invited to parties, or anything else that Hollywood thinks typical teenagers do. Now you don't have to hide your passion for these things. You won't get made fun of, called names, or laughed at simply because you'd rather make up your own superhero story rather than watch pro sports. I hope these trends continue, and you can learn to embrace your inner-geekdom much sooner than I did. Just remember what Simon Pegg said...

 

Secondly, you wear your heart on your sleeve. Taking the first point another step further, you aren't ashamed to let people know what you are interested in and what you aren't. And you have no patience to suffer through those things that fall outside of those points. Unfortunately, this is something you'll have to learn to cope with. There are just some things you're going to be forced to suffer through, and it's best to just to get them out of the way as quickly and as painlessly as possible, so you can get back to what you do want to do. This is why I have to sit in front of a computer all day instead of watching tv or playing games with you, your brothers, and your mother. So if you have the option, find the one you hate the least. And if there is no option, crying isn't going to make it go away. Just power through it, and make that time left even more enjoyable.

Now son, here's where things take a bit of a turn. Those first two points were ones that you can live with, with minimal compromise. I'm sorry to say, though, that the stubbornness you have inherited from me is what's going to get you into trouble. The fact that you don't suffer fools at all may sound good on paper until you realize just how many truly dumb people exist with what seems to be a combined sole mission to irritate, aggravate, and annoy you while ripping any shred of decency they have for you to complete shreds. To make matters worse, if you treat them with the same rudeness and disdain they throw at you, you'll be the one outcast as a terrible person, and they'll use this an excuse to be even ruder and more abrasive to you in order to "teach you a lesson". I'm sorry. I really am. There's no remedy for this. Believe me, even though this world will at times seem designed solely to beat you down, letting that mental anguish out in physical ways on yourself is the last thing you should do. I'm still suffering from my choices, and I don't wish this pain on you at all. Just hold on to the things that do bring you joy, and know that someone is always here to support you, no matter what.

Finally, and most disturbingly, you seem to have my anti-social tendencies as well. This is something I have struggled with. Learning to not feel loneliness, because you'd rather be alone than surrounded by people. Getting mad because no one wants to include you in things, but also getting mad when they invite you to do something you really don't want to do; and feeling too shy or awkward to invite yourself or suggest something else. This is the catch-22 that you'll have to learn to overcome. You'll also have to learn how to ignore those who tell you to "just go talk", and that it's "easy". They don't understand how truly difficult, and nearly impossible, it sometimes feels. So start now while you're young. Put yourself out there. Learn those social ques, so that when you are put in a situation of being uncomfortably surrounded by people, you can at least fake your way through it. Don't wait, because the rest of the world won't wait for you. And since this isn't something that is readily noticed or understood by the common populace, most people won't simply brush this off and forget it happened. No matter how much you wish they would. Force yourself to ask those uncomfortable questions, to start a conversation, and to end one appropriately. Learn to hold on to your wisdom and logic, so when someone pressures you into trying, doing, or buying something, you don't resort to either falling for it head over heels or blowing up in anger and walking away in disgust. I hope you learn these lessons, and that you find someone that still accepts you for who you are with enough patience to put up with you when you do slip. I may be an old dog that can't learn any new tricks, but you, your brothers, and your mother make me want to be a better person just by being here. And that's why I'll always be here for all of you.


I love you, son.

Dad

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