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They don't know
That little 12-year-old with all her insecurities is still inside of me

June 25, 2002
The Iranian

Happy Birthday to me, the big 21.

I feel so old but yet so young and naive at the same time. Everyone has always told me how mature I am for my age. Growing up I always wanted to be in the grown-up conversations and always had an opinion about everything. I use to hate having to sit at the kids' sofreh and miss out on all the deep philosophical subjects of the day.

Having four older siblings magnified my desire to be considered as older than I was so that I could feel closer to them. It always made me feel so proud when they would tell me what a strong and intelligent little girl I was. I wanted so much to please everyone.

At first I would cry when they left home, but then I just became resentful and angry. There was always an excuse. Important documents to be signed, a cousin's wedding to attend. There has always been plenty of money and valid reasons for my parents to leave my little brother and I in the care of one of the older children and go on their merry way their precious homeland.

I felt abandoned and alone, frightened and angry, but mostly I just felt empty, completely empty. I was very mature though. Of course I was fine, don't worry about me anyone. I've always been good at taking care of myself.

All I wanted was for her to hold me and tell me that everything was alright, I didn't want to be strong and mature. For once I just wanted to be her little girl. I would try to give her hugs but she would say, "get away from me, nafasam gerefteh." So cold when I needed warmth, so distant when I needed closeness.

I cried every day, that just made her more angry with me. I wasn't being very mature. They tell me what a strong person I am, how intelligent and independent, how mature. They don't know anything.

That little 12-year-old with all her insecurities is still inside of me, she still controls my every thought. Abandoned and alone, sad and frightened, she walks around convincing everyone how strong and independent she is. God forbid anyone think she was being immature.

-- June 12, 2002

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