Well hey there,
I’ve been meaning to make this post for quite a while. These are all the things I would tell my teenage self (as you can read by the title, obviously). Not in a way to say I have regrets, I don’t, but these are what i’ve learned from being a teenager.
P.S. Yes, that’s me when I was in high school. Although the pictures were taken at Websters Falls. (Shoutout to my sister and her amazing canon photography taking ways at a young age)
1. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. This is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that got me through a lot in high school Bullying is a very real event that is prevalent amongst teenagers. If it is serious, unbearable and you’re genuinely scared, contact a teacher or a parent immediately. I would advise my younger self to realise that people will call you fat, stupid, and every other colourful word in the dictionary. It’s your choice how you respond to it. The high road is a road less traveled in high school, so go ahead, grab the keys, start the ignition and steer your wheels that way.
2. Leave your eyebrows alone. Do not over pluck them. Just get them waxed or threaded.
3. Everybody is fighting their own personal battle that you know nothing about so don’t be judgemental. Sitting in a cafeteria and pointing out to your friend that a certain girl shouldn’t have worn those pants, or someone’s hair looks greasy is a horrible habit to develop. When it’s done to you, when someone judges your whole character based on a few flaws, it will hurt so don’t do it to others. It’s not that hard to be kind. Just as kindness doesn’t mean weakness, being tough or hard or aggressive does not make you superior or strong either.
4. Education is going to make a large impact on your life. Don’t neglect it. Leaving important tasks to the last minute, taking them too lightly and thinking that education is a waste of time are not qualities of leaders. It is in your interest to develop good study skills now. That is correct, they are worth your time and effort. By the end of high school, believe it or not, you may want to (voluntarily) pursue post-secondary education and it’ll be worth a lot more than time and effort (aka money). You might as well take the opportunity now to learn what it takes to excel as a student. (all university students and grads nod in agreement)
5. Drop the f’s about physical insecurity. Yes, I have dark circles. Yes, my skin pigmentation is not perfect. Yes, I have curves. Yes, my cheekbones aren’t defined. AND WHAT? I can still get a 90 on a test, I can still solve complex problems, I can still pursue my hobbies. An individual is so many things in one day: intelligent, ambitious, organised, polite, focused, charming, quick-witted, conscious, talented, etc. etc. As a 20-something, my insecurities don’t define me. I am hyper aware of them and always want to better myself. But, to my teenage self i’d say this: you don’t have to be daunted by the act of walking through your high school with a pimple on your face. Don’t put yourself through that kind of torture.
6. That history teacher in your homeroom class with the really sarcastic sense of humour and who you are secretly afraid of might actually save your life one day. If you’re going through something difficult, don’t be afraid to approach a teacher, a vp, or a guidance counsellor. Seek help if you need it, they just won’t chase you down to ask you if you need it. They genuinely care, you have to make the initiative to ask for the guidance. Teachers are the unsung heroes of the world, just trust me on that.
7. You’re allowed to have your own boundaries. You don’t have to like a certain type of music, food, clothing style etc. just because your friend likes it. Pursue what you like. Further, you don’t have to drink, smoke or date just because your friends are either.
8. Other important things you’ll need to get through high school:
A good hairbrush song (shout out to Britney Spears and Shania Twain)
A good sense of humour/self-awareness (my god, you’ll need it)
A hobby – arts, sports, activism, any extracurriculars
A waking up early, getting ready in 5 minutes because you’re going to be late system
A good excuse as to why you’re late, not done your assignment, or skipped class etc 😉 (let’s face it, it’ll happen)
Exam writing skills – many people who know the content well can’t get a good grade simply because they can’t test well, so figure it out and get through it.
9. The best way to get your way with your parents is to listen to them. If they ask you to come home at a certain time, go home then. If they ask you to study first and then go out, do that. If you don’t respect that, they won’t return the trust. So when you do stumble home 2 hours past your curfew, don’t be surprised if they yell at you, ground you or take away your phone. So, if you want to go to a certain party or want something from them, you will have to give them what they want too. Mutual respect, it’s a thing. So honestly, don’t abuse your relationship with your parents. Even when you have nothing in your life, you will still have them.
10. I left the most important thing for the last. It’s something I know adults still struggle with. Stop caring about what other people think of you. For the love of god, your life is yours, don’t bother trying to please them. It’s easier said than done but something being difficult to achieve is not a reason for you not to try. Other people’s opinions are just that, their opinions. What matters most is what you think of yourself.