I’ve been thinking a lot about growing up.. Maybe it has something to do with being back in my mothers house with my own beautiful little daughter. Maybe it has something to do with the boxes of memories I had stored away here that I have recently uncovered. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that when I look in the mirror, suddenly and for the first time in my life, I look like an adult.
I’ve been reading journals that I wrote as a teenager. A very angsty teenager. And although they are extraordinarily cringe worthy, they are also a pretty interesting representation of how I was constantly walking the fence between who I was and who I thought I should be.
If I could go back, and sit down with myself, the teenager, there are so many things that I would like to tell her. But more than anything, I’d like to listen. Because I knew that girl and she had a lot to say that wasn’t heard…
1. Never compromise yourself for a relationship. Friend or boyfriend. You don’t have to pretend to be anything other than you are to be valued. Relationships should make you the best version of yourself, not someone else.
2. Casual sex is stupid, it’s not empowering, it’s not even fun… the only one you are benefiting is the boy. There are MUCH better ways to spend your time.
3. You can’t be friends with someone who is jealous of you. You may find it hard to believe but there are “friends” who want what you have, who want to do what you can do and who will try to bring you down. Don’t let them.
4. You don’t have to always say yes to your friends. Sometimes saying no is the right thing to do… You don’t always have to say no to your parents. Sometimes saying yes will avoid a whole lot of heartache.
5. Love your real true friends. You know who they are. You can count them on one hand. Tell them, daily. They won’t all be around forever, some have short lives others have new lives and you will miss them, dearly.
6. You don’t ever have to be a victim. Even when the whole world feels like it’s against you, even when it feels to hard and it hurts and your drowning in all those feelings. You’re much stronger than that.
7. Your siblings are the most important relationships you will ever have. Cultivate them. Even when your little brothers drive you crazy… and they will… love them, they are part of you.
8. You don’t need the boy in his 20s with a fast car, a shaggy hair cut and a ready supply of cigarettes. Find someone your own age who makes you laugh and above all who treats you with respect. Always demand respect, you deserve it.
9. Stop trying so hard to be cool. Cool is seriously overrated.
10. Take more pictures and SAVE THE NEGATIVES. Seriously. One day you will be old(er) and searching for photographs of yourself and wishing that you hadn’t been so careless with your memories.
11. Don’t get in the car when the driver has been drinking (or perhaps worse, up all night). It’s stupid and people end up dead that way. Don’t try to walk 30km to a friends house in the morning light when you really should be in bed. Call your mother… she’ll give you hell but she will come and get you.
12. Stop worrying about what everyone thinks of you. All of those people who make you feel like nothing now, don’t even show up on your radar anymore. Don’t let them get in your way.
13. Party hard and dance all night long (not like you need any encouragement on this one), this carefree rave and party life won’t last forever. Enjoy every single minute of it… and take more pictures!
14. Try to go to class a bit more (and maybe drink at school a bit less). I know you think you know everything all ready. You know lots… but there is lots more to learn.
15. You are so beautiful. Stop trying to hide it. Stop doubting yourself. You’re pretty awesome.
If you could go back and give advice to your teenage self – and your teenage self would actually LISTEN (this would be my primary problem). What would you say?