I figured this is the perfect time to write to you. So many things have happened over the past 28 years. I hope this letter gives you the inspiration and courage that you need to not only get through high school but the next 14 years (when you will be 28). Now, I can’t give you all the details about what to expect or what’s going to happen, but just enough to get you through.
At this point, you are entering your freshman year of high school. You’re a little terrified about this new school. Reality is that you have never attended an inner city school that is predominately African American, so you are not sure if you know how to identify with other African-Americans. Your whole life you have been told that you talk white by your black peers and unfortunately this will still happen in high school, but I am writing to tell you not to let that discourage you.
Right now, you feel as though you have to dumb yourself down or start “acting black”—whatever that means--and there is no such thing, Adrian. Do not feel as though you are “less than” because you don’t sag your pants, use slang or pretend to be something you’re not. Do not be discouraged because you aren’t interested in partying, skipping class or smoking weed. Stand firm in who you are and how you were raised. I will also advise that you be open-minded, and be prepared to be brought to reality. You have been sheltered for the majority of your life, so going to this school and being around different people with unique experiences and different backgrounds is needed.
Something else that you are struggling with is your sexual identity. For the longest time, you have been suppressing your true self in order to please others, mainly your family. By the way, one of the lessons that you will learn from attending Meadowdale High School is to be you and embrace your whole self, something you have been struggling with. You have always been taught that homosexuality is wrong and therefore suppressed a major part of you which has caused you to feel as though you weren’t worthy. You have felt like an outcast, but that’s about to change.
Because of you, people at your high school will begin to see homosexuality in a different light. You will actually have your very first boyfriend in high school, and you will love him and experience love like you never had before. I won’t give you his name; you will meet him soon enough, and you guys will build a friendship made of rock before you two decide to enter into a relationship during your senior year. Unfortunately, the relationship won’t last beyond your summer before going to college, but you guys will always be there for one another.
Over the next four years, you will do things that you didn’t think you would ever do, academically and socially. As I stated before, I can’t tell you everything, but I will give you just enough to give you hope. You will become the first male cheerleader in Dayton Public Schools, and even win an award presented by the superintendent. Crazy, right? You will be recognized in Who’s Who all four years of high school, be in the International Baccalaureate program for all four years, be elected to the National Honor Society and graduate at the top ten percent of your class. You will even be Vice President of the teen council at your church and an amazing dancer. That’s right, your love of dance will flourish after receiving a scholarship to the Jeraldyne School of Dance (official training school of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company).
I know all this may seem impossible right now with your thoughts of suicide, loneliness and fear of the unknown, but you can do it. You will gain supporters, friends and mentors who will guide you, mold you and give you what you need. On top of all that your relationship with God will grow stronger, and God will use you to bring others to him. Adrian, you are truly amazing. Trust me, I know; after all, I am the future you. So don’t give up because you have so much more work to do, and I can’t wait for you to experience what is coming.
I leave you with a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that you will carry for the rest of your life: “An individual has not starting living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” So Adrian, remember, you have a greater purpose on this earth and you will continue to inspire and motivate your friends, family and community wherever you are.
(That’s right, your name changes)