So, you’ve entered your teens, huh? Brace yourself honey, it’s not going to be easy.
You are going to make friends, trust them and love them, and they will betray or leave you. That is going to hurt you badly, but you will get through it. Do not make the mistake of hardening up and building walls around yourself to avoid being hurt again. People will let you down, intentionally or otherwise, but you are strong and you can accept their failings as theirs, not yours. Just because they do not want to be in your life anymore does not mean you are a bad or lesser person. People change and grow apart sometimes. It isn’t always about you.
You have been told your entire life to smile that lovely smile, to be a good girl, to be nice to people always, even if they are complete assholes. Sweetheart, that is complete bullshit!
You have been taught and conditioned your whole life to put everyone else’s needs above your own. In some ways this is not a bad thing, it makes you kind and considerate and polite. But… when you are being disrespected or abused, in any way, you have the right to call the perpetrator on it. You do not have to paint on a smile and pretend that everything is ok. You have the right to express how you feel, and you have the right to tell them you want them to stop their behaviour. This does not make you a bitch. This makes you a strong, kickass women who will not tolerate anyone else’s crap.
You do not need to be liked by everyone, and neither do you have to like everyone you meet in life. You do not need to change yourself into what someone else wants you to be. People who like the real you are the only ones that count. Do not wait until you are 30 before you show the world the real person inside. It turns out the world really quite likes her!
You do not have to go out with a guy just because he likes you. Decide whether you like him or not, and go from there. If he treats you badly, in fact, if he treats you like you are anything less than extraordinary, do not feel you have to stay with him. If your happiness and well-being are not his top priorities, make it easy for him and remove yourself from his list of options.
On a side note, I am about to quote the wonderful Amy Poehler, (who you will not have heard of yet, seeing as she is probably about 13 right now also!)…
(In fact, in just about any life situation you find yourself in, you can usually think, “How would Amy handle this?” and you will be ok.)
You have always been told that you are the pretty one and that is going to haunt you forever, in two ways.
Firstly, you will never quite believe it anyway. You will struggle to see what others find attractive about you, never trusting compliments or praise. You will look in the mirror and see only flaws and faults. You will never think you measure up to people’s expectations.
Secondly, you will place entirely too much value on how you look and this will cause you pain and misery. You will worry and obsess about your weight, your hair, your face. You will base your self-esteem on your appearance and forget to focus on your other qualities, until you are much older, and sadly, even then the ghost will linger.
So, word up! Forget about the shell, the face, the figure, the hair.
No one has told you this before, so I’m telling you now…
You are funny, smart, thoughtful and kind. You care about other people and their welfare. You give your time generously to others and you are always there offering to help them.
You doubt your abilities all the time, and that is something you will need to work on. If someone praises you, or pays you a compliment, stop dismissing it out of hand. Accept it and believe it in the same way you find it so easy to accept and believe criticism and blame.
Let go of the guilt you carry. You are not responsible for everything bad that happens. Remember that you are a good person who, like everyone else, makes mistakes. Be gracious, accept that you have messed up, rectify it if you can, and move on. Every day brings you a lesson. You can learn it, but you don’t need to dwell on it and beat yourself up.
Furthermore, you are not responsible for how other people see you, hear you or react to you. That is always their shit, even if they don’t realise this fact, you always need to remember it. Never allow anyone to make you feel bad for how they chose to react to you, or how they chose to perceive you.
Likewise, it’s important to own your feelings too. You can decide how you are going to feel and how you are going to act. You can decide to give away that power to another person, but that will be a mistake.
Own your life, do not let anyone else run it for you.
Other advice I can offer you is…
- Never put that first cigarette between your lips. It’s not cool and it’s not smart!
- Study harder than you think you need, to but have fun too.
- Enjoy safe sex and, I mean ENJOY it! If he doesn’t care about your pleasure, he is not worth you making the effort to give him his. It is perfectly ok and, indeed, healthy to want to have an orgasm and to tell or show him how it’s done. Do not waste your time, or that firm, young body, on selfish creeps.
- Do not be afraid of your feelings. You are a person who feels things intensely, so it sometimes seems easier to block them. This only delays the pain and usually makes it harder in the long term. Trust that you have the strength to deal with your grief, anger, sadness. You do!
- You will suffer for many years feeling depressed, but you will be unable to recognise it for what it is. Talk to someone early on about how you feel. You do not need to way until you are 30 to feel ‘normal’.
- Stop thinking other people are better, more talented, or happier than you. Everyone is unique and has their own gifts and burdens. You just focus on your own and stop comparing yourself to others.
- Find your passion and follow it. You don’t know it yet, but you are creative, nurture it!
- Start a sport or exercise plan… if you start young it will become a life long habit.
- Do not let the mistakes your parents made define you. They fucked up but you got out ok.
- Just relax! Do not be so scared. Things really do work out in the end!
With love, Kat. x
Well… Don’t I just sound like a fucking guru?! Maybe I should call Oprah, see if she wants to interview me?
If only I really could send that letter back to the scared, unsure and unhappy little kid I was; I wonder how different I would be today?
That is actually quite a scary thing to contemplate!
How different our lives would be, and how different we would be if we could advise our younger selves?
I would love to hear a piece of advice that you would like to give to your teenage self, so PLEASE do leave me something in the comment section.
(And yeah… we would all advise ourselves to invest in Apple/Google/Twitter…!)
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