Stop Telling Me I’m 16

I am 16 years old, 17 in 9 days. I am a senior in high school. I go to football games and dances. I also have aspirations. Dreams of traveling around the world to small cities and interviewing native people, and then collecting all my interviews and putting them into a book. I have dreams of starting a nonprofit with someone who has as much passion for people as I do. I want to come home every night to an amazing guy that will be obsessed with the same Netflix series as I am and will stay in and drink wine with me while we laugh the night away.

I also have opinions. I think that money is a horrible, wretched thing. I think that the fact that we will kill for a piece of paper shows how immature our world can be. I believe that all people are good at heart. I believe that no one deserves to be put down or shunned because of the amount of pigment in their skin or who they decide to fall asleep with at night. No one deserves to be put down at all, because no matter what we are all made up of organs and muscle and bones and that will never change.

I am 16 but that does not mean anything about my voice. I can speak my mind and it will mean something. I can share my thoughts and people will listen. My voice can carry across oceans and over mountains. Every syllable has a significance that is desperate to be understood. My words have life and they are radiant.

I have 16 years worth of experiences. I have seen 6 different countries, seen the smiles and heard the laughter of many different cultures. I have read books that have made me cry for hours. I have heard speeches that made me want to change the world. I have dealt with divorces, new family members, remarriages, my father’s in and out girlfriends, therapists, psychiatrists, a dad living in a distant country, and so much more.

I do not need someone to tell me my age. I am aware of how long I have spent on this earth. I need people to understand that the number of those years do not affect the value of my words. I have enough knowledge to form my own opinions and I am fully able to share them.

I am not in Congress but I believe that our country needs to focus on more on education. I am not on the school board but I believe that our schools should stop forcing math and science classes on children and encourage creative writing and the arts. I am not a soldier but I believe killing is not the answer.

I am me. I am a 16 year old girl. I am me and I have value.

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