Looking back on myself and the way that I grew up, I wish I could have the chance to hop on a time machine and tell myself some things to make my teens years a little easier and bearable. Especially since there’s been some instances recently in which I’ve conversed with some teens trying to give advice for how to have an easier time during those crazy hormone roller coaster years. I will always consider 13, and the years around that age to be my awkward years, but it doesn’t have to be awkward. And that why I wish I could tell my younger self to chill. I feel like I wouldn’t be so filled up with anxiety these days if 13 wasn’t so crappy.
So if I could go back, I’d say these things:
1. A lot of people are afraid of what they don’t know or understand. At that age, your peers are learning to understand others and themselves. When they make fun of you, it’s a defense which means they’re afraid of you. In that case, you’ve got the upper hand. Use that fear to your advantage and take the high road. Be confident since they can’t be.
2. Yeah you’re weird. That’s not a bad thing. Frankly, your peers are boring. While they tell you that you have no life, they’ll be wasting their brain cells on drugs and alcohol while you perfect your crafts. Once again, you have the upper hand.
3. Ignore everyone’s judgements or criticism. Everyone having their own hobbies and interests is what makes people more exciting, especially when we can learn from eachother. It’s not bad to like different things. It’s everyone else who should get a hobby, which you should remind them when they tell you to get a life.
4. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to like what you like. It makes you stand out from the rest, especially when everyone is ranting and raving about the latest trend that won’t be around in another few weeks. Things come and go. Don’t fall into that trendy trap.
5. Don’t take things so seriously. I know, hormones are raging at that age and it’s tough to not take things personal, but give it a chance. It’ll make life less stressful. The things people say are really not that important to take to heart.
Middle school/high school are not your best years. If you think they should be, you need a wake up call. There’s a whole life after high school and college. What happens in school is so not important compared to the life experiences you’ll come across after school. The best is yet to come.
6. Don’t let people walk all over you. It makes them stronger and you find yourself at their mercy. Figure out a way to stand up for yourself.
7. Don’t be afraid to be vocal and defend yourself. Other kids can be quick to call you out for something trivial or throw you under the bus if you didn’t deserve it. Kids can be kinda cruel and vicious, so don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself. Sometimes it feels like it’s every man for themselves and you gotta be ready to return the favor and put up a verbal fight. Unless you’re part of the lucky few with loyal friends, don’t expect anyone to come to your rescue.
8. I wish you were more outspoken and honest to your friends when there were problems arising in friendships. When we get older, we stop caring so much about hurting others people’s feelings as long as we’re honest. If you have a toxic friendship or some kind of issue, talk it out. Having friends is super important at any age because it gets lonely without anyone around to share with or just talk to. You just need to weed out those who aren’t worth it, and work out problems with those who are.
9. Honestly, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and/or therapy. Some things you won’t be able to escape, and it doesn’t make you weaker asking for help. Don’t fall into that mindset where you’re considered “weak” for wanting help.
10. Your style will change quite a bit over the years, but do scour through grandma’s basement a bit more. There were so many crafty supplies that you could have grabbed before they got covered with rat poop. Ain’t touching that now, let me tell you that.
11. Don’t worry, you’ll dye your hair black like you always wanted. The twist in the story is that it became mom’s favorite hair color on you even though all you kept hearing was “no black, you’ll look like a ghost”.
12. Make more of an effort to keep in touch with family that actually mattered. It’s kinda too late now for some family members.
13. Things with your father will get better. He worked way too hard to help keep the family afloat, but be patient and kind.
Keep doing you, perfect your skills, work on your social skills, things will always be challenging but you will get through the tough moments. Just keep fighting.
I was just in the laundromat flipping through an old issue of O Magazine from May 2012. Appropriately, there was a quote from Carrie Fisher where she shares advice to her younger self. For someone who’s an advocate for mental health, it’s interesting to read what she would share with herself.
Like This Post!