Monday, August 03, 2015

Three Things I Want to Tell That Teenage Girl

Those People Don't Matter
I know that right now it seems like the biggest damn deal in the world that there are people at your high school who don't like you. It seems like the end of the world when you have a fight with your boyfriend.  Your chemistry teacher is such a jerk and he's ruining your life (and your transcript) and you just can't with him anymore. I know all of this.

But you're going to graduate in less than a year. And the years will slip away, you'll move away and people will say "don't you remember Kate Dirksen and how she used to make all the boys stare?" and you'll have no fucking idea who Kate Dirksen is because the moment you graduate you will put all of those people out of your mind.

Your high school boyfriend will become a pseudo-fond, pseudo-embarrassing memory and when your parents send you home with a box filled with old photos, you'll find yourself holding a snapshot of the two of you together, wondering just what it was exactly that made you 1) wear those jeans and 2) date that guy.  
Who are you calling a duck?
Ugly Ducklings Don't Become Swans
You are going to change a bit. You'll do some stupid shit, including sleeping with that guy you always knew you shouldn't, hanging on real tight to that guy driving the motorcycle way too fast, and trying to help a snapping turtle cross a busy highway and that stupid shit will have an effect on you.  You'll learn to stand up for yourself (kind of), you'll learn to navigate public transit like a pro, and you'll stop being scared of your own shadow.

But you're always going to be you.  You're going to prefer to stay at home reading a book on Friday nights to going to a bar. You're going to choose a vacation destination because of the hiking trail, not because of the nightlife. You're going to compulsively read the back of shampoo bottles because OH MY GOD CAN YOU BELIEVE SOME PEOPLE DON'T?

You're not magically going to turn into a gregarious person who is the life of the party and who everyone wants to be around. You're not magically going to learn how dress exactly right for every event and know exactly what to say in every situation. You're not magically going to change the very fundamental nature of you.

You might learn to wear makeup. You might start getting your hair and nails done. Maybe you'll even marry a hot guy or girl who reads fashion blogs and does know how to say all the right words.  But that's all right. The world needs swans and ducks.  And you can keep being you without apology, regret, or jealousy.

Academics Do Matter, But You Should Make Time For Dancing 
You're going to want to stay in on Friday night and read, listen to music, or just watch your friends play video games. And that's cool. But every once in a while, you should take your other friends up on their offers and get away from your school, work, or volunteering.  Go out dancing. Go to Canada for the sole purpose of gambling and drinking.

Yes, you should study.

But twenty years from now, you'll remember how your friend broke the bed in that shady hotel in Windsor when she was bouncing on it, but you won't be able to recite any facts from that stupid science class you're taking.

Bonus: It's Going to be Fine
You're so freaked out about everything. What will I do? Where will I go? How do I do this?  What will it be like?

Just relax. You'll figure it all out in the end. Life is fun. Enjoy it.  (But maybe not so much with the guy on the motorcycle - you really could get hurt!)

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