Friday, December 28, 2012

Dear Teen Me

I was in Barnes & Noble yesterday (best store ever) when I came across a book called "Dear Teen Me." I browsed through it a little and thought it was very interesting and a cool idea for a book.

Every time I go to B&N, I come out feeling inspired or creatively fueled in some way. There are so many different books, journals, etc. It's like a writer's paradise.

So naturally, when I came across the "Dear Teen Me" book, I was all, "Oooh! I wanna write a letter to MY teen self!!!!"

After contemplating on whether or not I should put my letter in a Microsoft Word document or share it on here, I ultimately decided to share it on here.

I haven't been out of my teenage years for very long, but I definitely learned a lot during that period of my life. So this is what I would tell my teen self:

Dear Teen Me,

Choose your friends wisely. Girls who gossip about you, give you dirty looks and never save you a seat at lunch are not your friends. Your real friends will be there for you when you get your heart broken for the first time or need to vent about how horrible your 9th grade physical science class is. (It's pretty horrible.) They will lift you up and make you feel free to be yourself. Choose them.

It is possible to get straight A's. Your mother will be proud when you make them. She might not buy you anything expensive or reward you in some huge way for your grades, but you will still make her proud. You will also make yourself proud. And that should be reward enough.

Throughout your teen years, you will meet a few boys who hug you, cuddle you, tell you you're pretty, flirt with you in the middle of class, and basically make you feel really attracted to them. And then they will never call, never return your texts, lie to you, kiss other girls in front of you, go behind your back, and basically make you feel stupid for ever thinking they liked you at all. I'd hate to break it to you, but guys like this won't change. They won't write you long, sincere apologies or toss pebbles at your window or tell you how wrong they were for hurting you. They will just keep hurting you. (Taylor Swift songs will be a great comfort to you during these times.)

You might spend a lot of your time thinking, "Love sucks." But guess what? Love is not supposed to suck. If it sucks, it's not love. One day you will meet someone who adores you---extreme awkwardness and all. He will transform you into an even better version of yourself. He will tell you he loves you and mean it. He will be your best friend. He will open you up and chip away at your walls. He will make you wonder how you ever got so lucky.

But in the meantime, live your life and adore yourself. Stop pining away for assholes. Stop fearing that you will die alone with nine cats. Nobody wants or needs nine cats, and you're not even a cat person. Let love come to you when it's good and ready. Let it happen naturally. It's okay to be boyfriend-less. I promise.

I know it seems really scary, but try to stand up for yourself and others more. If you see someone being relentlessly picked on, speak up. Even if all you can muster is a quiet, shaky "leave him alone."

Don't let everyone copy your homework either. If a large, intimidating dude asks to see your homework, go ahead. Get on his good side. I wouldn't want you to get your face rearranged or anything.

But if the girl who makes fun of you and is only nice to you when she wants to see your homework asks for your homework, it's okay to say no. People might make fun of you even more, but at least you stood your ground. That's something to be proud of, not ashamed of. Just stand up for yourself. You'll only be treated like a doormat if you act like one.

Stop trying so hard to please people who won't even be in your life after high school. 98% of the people you're going to school with will drop off the face of the planet after graduating, and you'll never hear from them again. They are not worth pleasing or impressing. You're not really that cool, and you'll probably never be cool. I'm sorry. Being cool is overrated.

And lastly, you should probably know that after high school, you're going to hit a rough patch. You're going to be scared. You're going to be confused. You're going to be under immense pressure to make your family proud. You're going to have a brutal falling out with one of your best friends. You're going to cry a lot and carry around a lot of anger. You're going to get pretty depressed.

I'm here to tell you that you will live through all of that. It may seem as if there's no end, but there is. Nothing is permanent. This confusing, horrible phase in your life will ultimately lead you down the right path. Everything will turn out okay. Trust me.

Be who you are. Feel what you feel. Forgive yourself. Forgive others, even if they don't apologize. Be nice to people. Listen to your gut. Make your mistakes. Learn your lessons.

Just enjoy being young.

your 20 year old self

What is the single most important thing you would tell YOUR teen self? Leave me a comment and let me know (if you want).

<3 Madison 


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