Day Four: List 10 Things You Would Tell Your 16 Year Old Self, If You Could
Quite honestly, sixteen doesn’t feel as if it were even that long ago. I know that when I actually sit down and think about it, I’m struck with the realization that it was shockingly seven years ago. Ugh, SEVEN years ago I learned how to drive for the first time. Seven years ago when I thought I had it all together. I thought I was so cool in my Hollister Jeans and Polo. God, if I were to meet sixteen year old me right here, right now, I would probably laugh hysterically at her and then teach her how to properly do her makeup and pluck her eyebrows. There are times when I realize how quickly time is flying by, but most days I force myself to realize that twenty-three is still very young. Give me about five more years and I’ll be looking back, wishing I were twenty-three again. Anyway, I’m sure there are a million and one things I would tell sixteen year old me. if I could, but here are at least ten of them.
1) Stop taking what other kids in school think about you to heart.
I know, this seems pretty straight forward. And truthfully, I’m not telling you to not give a shit at all; because, let’s face it, it’s not wrong to care to extent how people view you. You would never want to be viewed as something you aren’t, and it would be terrible if you didn’t care what your teachers, parents, and other authority figures thought of you. It’s okay to care. It’s okay that you want everyone to like you, but please, sixteen year old me, understand that it is impossible to have that happen. For reasons you don’t even know, people are going to dislike you. A matter of fact, they are going to downright hate your existence. Most of the time, it’ll be for reasons you don’t even know. Other times, you may have some understanding as to why they feel the way they do. But, as the old saying goes, you can be the ripest, juiciest peach, but someone is still going to hate peaches.
Please, don’t dwell on it so much. You become so burdened with the thought that maybe you are the reason these people are so cruel to you. I know that you try to go out of your way to be nice to these people, in hopes that they’ll understand you’re really not a bad person. But it is high school, and some people are just assholes for no reason. Don’t worry, though. You’ll get older (like now) and look and back laugh at how stupid those people truly looked for their downright awful behaviors and you’ll wonder why you even gave a shit. Your skin gets thicker, and you are able to let that negativity bounce right off of you.
2) For the love of God, WASH YOUR FACE!
I can’t completely explain how badly I want to go back and time and slap you across the face that probably has makeup on that you slept in. I know mom never told us that very useful piece of information, but good Lord, you have the internet! You know those pimples you’re sitting in front of the mirror, popping? JUST FUCKING STOP! Don’t touch it, don’t pick at it, don’t even look at it. Yes, you’ll feel self conscious. Yes, you’ll have the overwhelming urge to want to squeeze it until the pain subsides, but LET-IT-GO! I am infuriated with how poorly we treated our skin because now, when I look at it, all I see are marks left from pimples and wrinkles that shouldn’t have to be there already. So, sixteen year old me, wash your god damn face, woman!
3) It’s okay to feel heartbroken.
I know that at this point, your most recent boyfriend just took your virginity and basically skated on out of your life without a second thought. I know that you’re completely devastated and you feel so used and disposable. I know that you thought he was so different from the one before that, and the one before that. I know you swore with every ounce of your being that you thought he was the one, but as you now know, he wasn’t. And neither are the other guys who will come and go from your life. Heartbreak is painful. Sometimes people betray you as if they have no conscious or care for your feelings. You are going to trust people so deeply and they will break that trust. You will be let down, a lot. You will want to give up and you will cry. But, I want you to know that it’s okay to feel that pain.
Allowing yourself to feel that pain has helped you so much to this day. I am so thankful that you have always allowed yourself to feel whatever emotion that hung heavy on your at that time, and deal with it. I am sure that without doing so, my life would be completely different. Now, at twenty-three, you look back and feel no bitterness toward those who fucked you over. You don’t hold hostility, and you can smile, knowing that each broken heart led you to something so amazing. Smile and know that that day is coming.
4) Try harder in school.
Yes, you’re almost finished and you can taste the freedom that graduating high school and turing eighteen promises; but that doesn’t give you an excuse to not try your absolute hardest. If there is one thing I could go back and change, even earlier than age sixteen, it would be the effort I put into my school work. There would be times when I would try my best and I would get amazing results: great test grades, perfect homework assignments, well done projects. But most of the time, you skimmed by. I understand that in all your classes you’re still passing, even without trying. I know that it makes school seem so laid back. But you could’ve done so much better for yourself if you would have applied more of yourself and your knowledge. You could have gotten a scholarship of some sort. You had the ability to be accepted into an amazing school. Sixteen year old me, please just try harder.
5) Popularity isn’t as important as you think it is.
I think this pretty much explains itself. Stop caring how many friends you have. Stop giving a fuck how many MYSPACE or FACEBOOK friends you have. Stop trying to keep up with the latest trends. Stop trying to stay in a group of friends whose morals you completely disagree with, just because you are comfortable with not being with a true, genuine group of people who aren’t as popular. Just stop. Be yourself…. COMPLETELY. Popularity means absolutely nothing and once you graduate, you’ll talk to only two people you went to school with. And that popular quarterback is your boyfriend, by the way. Nice job.
6) Say thank you to your parents.
Good Lord, you are pretty damn selfish. While you are a nice and pleasant girl to every other person’s parents, you are far from with your own. I know you’re sixteen and they’re just soooo totally annoying right now, but they do so much for you that you are so ungrateful for. Just because you don’t get things exactly as you wished, doesn’t mean what they do give you is worth any less.
7) You don’t have to be ashamed of being a “good girl.”
So you’re afraid to go to that party because it could get busted, but you’re afraid of what people will call you lame? Well who cares, because that party did get busted and while everyone got underages, you got to stay home and catch up on all of your favorite TV shows, so who’s really winning there? So you don’t want to lie to your mom about a boy picking you up instead of one of your friends? Good, because she will find out anyway and your ass is grass. You’re the “boring one” or the “cautious one” but what’s wrong with that? All those times you get grounded or get in trouble, they’re all because you were easily influenced into doing them, just so you wouldn’t look like the drag. Well, looking back, how dumb do I feel? VERY.
8) Thank you for continuously working on top of going to school.
I know you hate it, and you’ll hate working to this very day, but I’m so so glad that you did it. You have gained such an amazing work ethic that it is one thing I am very proud of myself for. I know that I can go into any job, know that while it takes time to learn, that I will indeed get the hang of it, and that I can work so well with other people. It is helped me so much throughout life to be praised for my hard work and I know that’s because I continued to work from fourteen until now. So sixteen year old me, stick with it!
9) I know you think you’re fat or ugly, but please, stop focusing on that.
You really focus entirely too much time on the way you look, or how much you eat, and what your jean size is. I know you feel proud in that size zero, but damn, aren’t you hungry? I know you are. I know you love getting yourself ready for the day and getting compliments, but if you want to be lazy and comfy for the day, why not do it? Who cares if people think you look like a bum? Who cares if people make fun of you for getting that second order of perogies. They were damn good, and you are damn comfortable too. To this day, I focus so much on my appearance that it drives me insane. I wish that seven years ago, when I was sixteen that I could have bit that in the butt and maybe I wouldn’t feel such insecurities today.
10) Last but not least… You don’t need to struggle alone.
I know some days you don’t want to get out of bed. I know some days are so hard for you to get through. I know that when you come home, you feel so isolated and alone. I know that the only thing you find comforting is quietness in your room. I know that you feel like the only thing you can talk to, is the paper and the pen. I know you think no one cares, or that no one understands. I know you keep turning to things to make you not feel so empty. But no one else knew because you didn’t try to make them know. You didn’t ask for help, so you received no help. Although you didn’t feel comfortable going to your mother, you could have tried to open up to a friend. Someone would have cared. Someone would have tried.