Dear Sixteen Year Old Me…

I was terrible at being a 16 year old girl. I really sucked at it. I hate morose, emo, mopey kids cuz I was THAT kid…. and cuz I was determined to be that kid I missed out on so much! I just wanna shake those kids.

Being a teenager isn’t easy. Bullying, hormones, school pressure, the pressure to figure out your future, insecurities…you name it. It’s a tough phase. But it can be better and I made it worse. Self sabotage came easy it seems. I didn’t like to laugh at myself…or laugh. Now I smile and laugh all the time. And when life is hard? Laugh harder cuz the things that can happen seem so ridiculous. I figure you never get more than you can handle. And when you do? If you just hang on, it may turn out you get more happiness you can handle to balance it out. Eventually there is balance.

I never used to feel this way.

Me at 16? Oh let me paint a picture. We(my sis and I) were encouraged (by our father mainly) to be different, unique, go against the grain and speak our mind- but to an extreme. I was obnoxiously stubborn on a point I was trying to make and NEVER wrong, even when faced with facts. We were encouraged to work against the trends, be rock ‘n’ roll, be punk.

Was I punk-tastic tho!? No. I dressed in frumpy clothes just to avoid trends. Wore makeup, but wasn’t brave enough to be punk and wasn’t taught to wear neutral makeup properly. I stuck up my nose at pink nail polish, pretty anything, princess-y stuff. I didn’t read Cosmo magazine or anything girly so I wouldn’t be seen as prissy. I read Rolling Stone, Details, Spin. Cool, I admit, but not as fun as laughing at the ridiculous(probably fake) stories in Cosmo. It never occurred to me you could read both and still have respect for yourself…haha. I wore black nail polish, fought my natural wave in my hair and wore jeans that didn’t fit and looked like “mom” jeans.

I wasn’t cool punk or rock, oh no. I tried desperately to be but it wasn’t me. I was trying so hard not to fit in, that I didn’t even fit who I really was. Make sense? Sorta?

I had bacne (spelling?) and my face was always breaking out too. I didn’t balance meals well. I went from anorexic in  8th grade to overeating, so I was lumpy. I was a size 16-17 in high school, and this was before they started “glamour sizing”.

I never smiled, and tried hard to like hardcore punk when what I really loved was Tori Amos, Leonard Cohen and Live. Oh, and Nirvana. Severely depressed, I felt like I understood him. I didn’t understand the prissy girls, but kind of admired them for taking the courage to be SO girly. Then I hated myself for admiring them. I fit in with the misfits, but it meant pretending to be so dark. I was a happy medium between girly and hard, but didn’t want to admit it to myself. I was also naturally good at enough things that I never wanted to try anything I might fail at. I was so shy that I was terrified of failing and looking stupid. Which means my dreams of learning to paint, skateboard, photography, and do sports was never fully realized. I’d spend so much time trying to find the time to read every book written on the subjects so I would be confident trying it, that I never actually DID anything.

If only I could be 16 now. I would loudly proclaim my love for “lame” bands, wear COLOUR (gasp!)- INCLUDING pink. I would not pigeon hole myself or make final statements like, “i never wear pink” or “i never listen to pop music”. Cuz that limits you, and teenagers hold each other to these statements. I would be honest. I would smile and skip, and be nerdy and unashamed of it. I would read girly magazines and wear makeup- experiment with makeup. My dad was soooo anti jock that I never joined a sport. To do it again I would join anything and everything. Track, Basketball, Soccer, Ballet, Volleyball….everything. I would laugh more and push back when pushed. I would tell my bullies to F*CK off, and fight them if need be, but stand up for myself verbally whenever possible. I would skateboard like I wanted and not worry about looking “silly and fat” while doing it. I would host more parties and not worry if anyone showed. I would decorate my room with punk magazine covers, flowers, scarves, butterflies, lace and old rock t- shirts. I would quote movies I love, and not be worried that i would sound too girly or nerdy or lame. i would join drama, and take french. I would research everything and spend more time outside. I would watch less movies with my family while sulking. If I wasn’t in to it I would say so kindly and honestly and do what I really want- crochet or write a story in my journal. I would make my mantra- “life does get more interesting and better after high school” and smile smile smile.

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