At times in your life, it's important to stop, think, and appreciate what you have achieved, survived, managed to do in your life. What would your teenage or childhood self think and savor at this point in your life? It's been the subject of a book, titled The Letter Q, with a series of queer writers (Michael Cunningham, Armistead Maupin) penning letters to themselves.
Well, ESPN has asked a series of athletes to do that very thing, write letters to their younger selves, including gay pro soccer player Robbie Rogers, who now plays with the LA Galaxy.
He recently celebrated his 26th birthday at The Abbey in West Hollywood with many of the same high school teammates he feared would judge and bully him when he was 14. In the letter Rogers wrote to his 14-year-old self, he writes:
"You think that if they figure out who you are, you won't be able to play the sport you love, or your family won't agree with it. Sometimes you pray and think: I don't wanna live through this. Why can't I be like my brothers and sisters?"
He goes on to explain:
"When guys say things in the locker room, remind yourself that most of them don't actually feel this way. They aren't really homophobic. These are people who are trying to please others, or think that's what they're supposed to say."
The advice he gives to teenage Robbie is certainly good advice for many confused and questioning teens:
"...find someone you can speak to about what you're feeling inside, someone you can trust who won't judge or expose you. Because you can't walk around with a burden like the one you're carrying. You've got to share this with somebody."
He ends the letter with this poignant assurance:
"...one day you'll be happier than you ever thought possible. And while you can't envision sharing your secret now, the world is changing. People are becoming more accepting. And when the time is right, the day might come when you're ready to face the world as the beautiful person you truly are."
See Robbie's letter below: