Dear Me at 14,
You’re in high school – woo hoo! But here’s the rub, high school sucks. And why does it suck? Because you make it suck. All those years of watching Grease and reading Sweet Valley High have built up expectations in you that can never be fulfilled. High school is just a tiny blip in your life, and nothing that happens there is really that important. You don’t have to be popular, a cheerleader, homecoming queen, go to every dance, date a football player, or even date at all. You just have to be yourself. Be happy. Be that wonderful, easy-going, understanding person that everyone relates to and can talk to. You aren’t defined by your friends; you’re defined by who you are. So go ahead and be friends with the druggies, the nerds, the band geeks, even a few cheerleaders. And don’t feel like you have to hide those friendships. Just relax, stop trying so hard to be someone you’re not. Because who you are is pretty awesome! Yeah, you’re shy and awkward in group situations. But that’s only because you’re so concerned about what everyone else thinks of you. And guess what – they’re not thinking of you! They’re thinking of themselves, only themselves, and how awkward and shy they feel. So just go with it, have fun. You’re going to have so many wonderful experiences that you’ll remember forever, don’t stress about the small stuff. Oh and by the way, you’re not fat, not chubby, really not even overweight. I don’t know where you got it in your head that you were some big fatso, probably from your parent’s misguided attempts to encourage healthy eating by telling you “you don’t want to end up fat like Jenny!” (who, I must stress, is not fat either). Yeah, you’re not a size two like some of your friends. But trust me, they would exchange their skinny arms & legs for your curves any day. The only beauty tip I would give you is that it’s time to grow out those bangs. And be patient with the braces, they’re well worth the pain.
I know the next four years are going to be tough, and you’re going to make some mistakes. You’ll make a lot of friends; you’ll lose a few friends. But it’s okay. You’re okay. And the best years of your life are still ahead of you. So just roll with it, and have fun.
Me at 32