A Letter To Teenage Me

I’m 27 and you know what that means, it’s been a decade since I was a teenager. To me that feels like eons ago because relatively speaking that’s over ⅓ of my life. One of my favourite TV shows is RuPaul’s Drag Race and one thing he has the finalists do is he shows them a picture of their childhood selves and asks them what they would say to that kid in the photo. Yes, it’s kinda exploitative reality TV and I really don’t like that aspect of it because reality TV is not a therapy session and it sucks to feel forced into saying something just for the cameras and because you’re expected to do so. But in this case, I’m not on TV. I’m writing my own blog where I make the rules and I wanted to do a little writing exercise and to improve my self esteem. Anyone who knows me can confirm I have extremely low self esteem and every so often I go into a self-loathing spiral. Recently, my husband has been working on his CV to apply for jobs and he said that putting together his CV helped him feel better about what he accomplished over the past 5 years in his postgrad: an MSc and a PhD. Won’t be long until he’s going to be called Dr. So I was inspired to reflect on life so far.

In this post I will be talking about things I’ve learnt and how I’ve grown between ages 17 and 27 and giving my younger self (ages 13-17) advice. As a kid, I loved the idea of doing a time capsule, but I never had the dedication to make one so I guess this is the closest I’m getting to a time capsule. Just wanted to leave you with a blog post before I travel.

A letter to teenage me:

Dear Teenage Angie,

Your teenage years are going to be chaotic to say the least. Childhood was no walk in the park and there will be new challenges thrown at you, but you’ll make it. You’re a lot stronger and more badass than you give yourself credit for. Own that and knock ’em dead! Classic rock will get you through everything, it really is your rock. I hope you’ll listen to what I’ve learnt and wish to share with you. You only go through your teenage years once, so as dad always says take advantage of every opportunity you have and make the most of life so you don’t look back and regret not doing things, but also there’s a silver lining: you will never have to deal with secondary school (or any of the awful people from it) again. Think about it this way, when you have a bad day or make a mistake, what happened happened, you will not have to go through it again, learn from it – everything is a learning experience.

You’re a bit different: a very irregular head, you’re not like everybody else, and there are positives to that: standing out can be a good thing, but it can definitely work against you in making friends, but don’t fret. Don’t ever feel so desperate to have “friends” that you stay in a group of “friends” that is toxic, hurting you more than it’s helping you. Have boundaries and don’t be afraid to assert them and cut people out of your life if they’re crossing them. Drop that one toxic, abusive friend, yeah that one mum & dad warned you about! He’s not a good guy and he doesn’t have your best interests in mind. Sometimes your parents are right about people. That’s the thing that sucks about having Aspergers, you can’t always tell if people have good intentions and you can be too trusting of others. Be careful! You’re not a ‘bitch’ for standing up for yourself and protecting yourself.

While we’re on this topic, no one in secondary school is worth being in a relationship with. Stop feeling like you have to have a boyfriend or girlfriend because other people have one. Better to be single than in an unhappy or incompatible relationship. Besides, focus on school, focus on you, because secondary school relationships don’t last 90%+ of the time. You want to leave the country anyway, I mean what’s the point of getting into a relationship when you’re going to be leaving and starting a new life somewhere else. You’ll meet better people who are relationship material when you’re in university. There will be boys who don’t have your best interests in mind trying to use you and sweet talk you because they see you’re vulnerable and want to hurt you. They don’t see you as the amazing person you are. Don’t listen to them, you deserve better than them, focus on school.

Let’s talk about school. There are going to be awful people and bullies there. Mean Girls wasn’t exaggerating, you could maybe say it’s like a documentary because of how accurate the depiction of secondary school is. Ignore all those awful people and bullies, they’re only going to distract you from the important things. But, I also think you need to live a little, get some hobbies, and branch out more. Go to the gym instead of spending too much time online (social media is a cesspit and is extremely toxic, only use it to talk to your friends). Learn some skills: cooking (you love food), sewing (you love fashion), a language (you love learning about other cultures and travelling), maybe a musical instrument (you love music). I know you’re a perfectionist who doesn’t realise she has OCD (even though she was diagnosed at 7) but try to be kind to yourself and please please don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do well on assignments. Challenge yourself. Take chances. Take risks. That’s part of life. Being a teenager, you’re supposed to make mistakes and the good news is you don’t have as many responsibilities. Take advantage of that time and stop worrying about being perfect or having to prove yourself to others. Your tendencies to outperform and go the extra mile will end up leaving you burnt out, so take care of yourself, really!

To continue on being kind to yourself, I know you feel bad about your appearance. You’re not ugly or fat. You’re just awkward and have no idea how to style yourself. That’s totally normal as a teenager, those are the years where you try to figure out who you are. Take some effort to fix your hair and learn how to do your makeup, it doesn’t make you shallow or dumb. It will give you some confidence, and you need that. You can be smart and beautiful. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Destroy the idea of these dichotomies. People are multifaceted. You are multifaceted.

One last thing I want to say to you is that life is full of surprises and you’ll have a lot of pleasant surprises in store for you in adulthood: a loving husband, great friends who love the same things you do, many travels overseas (I know you thought it’d be a pipe dream, but you’ll appreciate these places so much more as an adult), opportunities to talk to musicians and see bands you love, and writing some amazing stuff about classic rock (I know you hate writing but the writing you do in English class is not what writing is really all about). Life has a lot of crappy things about it, but there’s some nice things. Don’t just exist, live!

Love,

27 year old Angie

A care package for teenage me:

If I could bring some things to younger me this is what I’d give her:

  • A good hair straightener to fix her hair
  • Some makeup to get that 60s look complete
  • Some 60s dresses to make her feel pretty
  • Some records to cheer her up
  • A big hug because who doesn’t like hugs!

What would teenage me think of present day me?

Well for starters I think she’d think I’m living the dream: I’ve travelled to a lot of the places I’ve dreamed of going – all over Europe and to Australia, those were my biggest dreams as a teenager and they came true. I got married young. I don’t think that’s something younger me expected at all, I think my younger self would laugh at the idea of someone falling in love with me. I think if she walked into my closet she’d be impressed with my vintage clothing collection and I know one of her dreams, dressing like (a more femme) Austin Powers has come true! I think she’d be happy about me having a cat, though surprised because I was more of a dog person than a cat person, but getting a cat changed everything. What would we ever do without cats? Most of all I think she’d be most impressed with how much more I know about classic rock now and that I’ve interviewed some musicians who recorded music in the 70s. And that I’m working on a book, a childhood dream of mine. I loved reading when I was a kid and even taught myself how to read when I was 3 years old.

I don’t want to reveal too much about my future because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m really hoping 2022 is a great year for me and my husband with lots of new adventures. I’ll keep you up to date on our adventures.

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