Being a teenager isn’t easy. Hell, it sucks most of the time. If it didn’t for you, then you probably shouldn’t read further.
I was an awkward, insecure, uber-sensitive girl, who daydreamed most of the time and had a knack for getting pushed around even by the family dog.
Sure I had some good times. Everyone does. But I was mostly plagued by thoughts of worthlessness and by the time I was 17 I couldn’t wait for highschool to end.
I would gladly forget many things about my teenage years, but I made sure this would never happen. Like most creative girls with no internet access I did the one thing that helped me keep my sanity back in the 90s: I kept diaries. As in plural. As in I have recounted every incident of my early years on this earth with the kind of detail that would make an anthropologist studuying the psychology of pubescent girls, pee a little in his pants from joy.
To make things worse, I decided to dust off all those notebooks of excruciatingly detailed teen angst and read them during a short stay at my parents’ house last week.
While I read I wished I could take that girl by the hand and tell her some things that would hopefully make her life less, well … crappy is what I’m going for.
And despite the fact these are the things I would tell my teenage self back in 1997, I’m pretty sure they still apply today, in the age of social stalking networks, instant access to all kinds of information and, let’s not forget everyone’s favorite: gluten demonization.
1. 99.9 % of the things that happen in high-school don’t matter!
You know that girl who called you four-eyes back in the 7th grade?
Or the boy that found your Always pads in your backpack and flaunted them like some extra-terrestrial object in front of the whole classroom that then laughed at the fact that OMG! You’re a girl?
I know they suck balls but trust me: They all don’t matter. Sure you’ll remember them, but they will no longer mean anything to you by the time you’re 22.
(This asssuming you’re not like Susie “Underpants” Moss in “The One after the SuperBowl”, in which case, forget what I said. They deserve to be left naked, wearing a pink thong in a restaurant restroom).
2. A friend doesn’t treat you like crap.
If someone treats you like a stinky piece of poo THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND.
That includes supressing you, talking to you like condescending assholes, telling you to “tone-down” your character because it doesn’t suit their image, taking you for granted, lying to you, forgetting about you whenever it suits them… Ring any bells?
3. Confidence doesn’t come from wearing the right clothes or knowing the right people.
It doesn’t come from having a buttload of money or a boyfriend. It comes from (and I throw up a little in my mouth at how corny this sounds – but it’s true), wait for it…
BELIEVING IN YOURSELF.
Trust who you are. Trust in what makes you unique and embrace the hell out of that shit!
You can have all the money in the world, date the hottest guy in school, know all the cool people and still be plagued by more insecurities than a plastic surgery addicted Hollywood starlet, who prefers to pretend she’s other people because being herself is too damn hard.
4. You will NOT always feel so damn alone
(Assuming you take into consideration points 2. and 3.)
As soon as you start respecting and accepting yourself, you’ll meet people who will appreciate you for all the things that make you, you. Those are the friends you want to hold on to (and those are the ones you should actually befriend while in highschool — they are there, you just need to open your eyes).
5. Assholes are gluten-free versions of REAL MEN.
(replace “asshole” with “bitch” if you’re a “he”)
You know the guy when you were 19 that ripped your heart out, took a dump on it and then lit it on fire?
Yes, well, he was an asshole. Don’t dwell too much on it. Some people can’t help the fact they’re assholes. Everyone is destined to meet (and probably fall for) at least one such specimen of the male conviction in their lives.
Think of it this way: Falling for an asshole is like eating the really awful gluten-free products wrapped up in a nice package to convince you they’re are actually good for you, and then tasting the awesomeness that is REAL pasta and REAL bread. You learn to appreciate the good stuff so much more.
That’s what that asshole was. A gluten (i.e. heart)-free version of a human being. My advice: As soon as you reach your minimum asshole quota for a lifetime, get on with your life and open your eyes to the good ones. They’ re out there… (cue X-Files theme music).
6. Don’t WORRY So much!
Seriously. The universe won’t come crushing down if you get a D in Chemistry. (I know scientists who have confirmed this). You will be fine.
There’s people who’ve made a life for themselves without acing every single test in their highschool lives. Education is important, no doubt about it. Study if that’s what you know you need to do to accomplish your goals, but don’t drive yourself crazy over it. You’re a kid, act like it. Which brings me to my next point:
7. To hell with all those who make you feel bad for being a KID!
Christmas was, and still is, one of my favorite times of the year. When I was a kid, it was a custom in Greece for children to go from door to door and sing traditional Greek Christmas carols. In return people gave them money or sweets. When at the sweet age of 15 I went to sing Christmas carols with a friend, I got laughed at in the face by another “friend” for being such a “baby”. S*** THAT! I can’t stress it enough: Your childhood is the only time in your life you get to be a kid. You can be an adult for the rest of your (hopefully) looooooong life.
Don’t try to act all grown-up because acting your age isn’t cool. That’s bullshit.
You want to build a Death Star mock-up? DO IT!
You want to sing loud and dance and enjoy yourself at a party? DO IT.
You want to play at the swings? DO IT.
8. Family isn’t uncool (at least not as much as you think they are)
I know you would rather be caught dead than be seen with, or spend more time than absolutely necessary, with your parents. I get it. It’s okay you’d rather spend every waking hour with your friends. They go through the same stuff you do and get you in ways your parents don’t.
Just remember to hug the poor bastards that do everything for you every once in a while and be kind when you can actually reign the crazy in. Those moments don’t last long, so take advantage of them when they do.
Your family is there when no one else is. Appreciate them for the fact they love you the way you are.
I could go on and on and on with this list but I think I’ve made my point.
Being a teen is like being a work-in-progress. There’s so much potential. Don’t let it get muffled up by the white noise other people create around you.
You will be fine.