Oh, how I wish I could be you again.
15 with colored braces on buck teeth, ratty pigtails, a Hollister sweatshirt, and not a care in the world.
So. Much. Innocence.
Except, you had no idea. No idea about what was to come. Who was going to influence you, what choices you were going to make, and the repercussions that followed those decisions.
8 years later, your 23-year-old self is here to give you some insight. Use it. Run with it. Cherish it.
If you had just done this, your 23-year-old self would probably have it just a tiny bit more together. She could be taking over the world right now. Who knows?
So, listen up, and get it right the second time around, okay?
Here’s my advice to you, babe:
1. Stay away from gossip
Listen, I know you crave it. Especially as a 15-year-old. But STAY AWAY. Stay away from the girls (and guys) who constantly feel they need to talk about other people. It’s unhealthy and it’s not right. How would you feel if you were the brunt of the gossip?
2. Don’t let everyone in
You’re having a rough night and you feel alone. That’s okay. Cry it out. That’s okay, too. In fact, I encourage letting the tears roll down. But, my girl, don’t let everyone see this side of you. Hold off on that tweet containing Avril Lavigne lyrics. If you’re too vulnerable, they’ll eat you alive.
3. If a guy gives you attention, that doesn’t mean he likes you
Can I bold, underline, and star this a million times? I get it. The attention is nice. You’ve always been one to crave attention. I guess it’s the way you were hard-wired. But, PLEASE. Guard your heart. Stop giving it out so freely. Test guys. See what their true intentions with you are. Be patient. Stop giving all of you to someone who wants to take that and crush you, leaving you alone - yet again.
4. Pay attention to yourself
You have a large heart, girlie. But you have to take time for yourself... To recognize your own likes and dislikes. To keep yourself sane and feeling worthy. Seriously. Do it. Watch your favorite shows, eat your favorite ice cream, read your favorite book. Just do it.
5. Know that you are capable of more than you think
I know it feels like the world is crumbling around you at times and that you cannot go on. That the situation won’t get better. Well, kiddo, I am living proof that it does... Even if it takes a few days. Months. Years. It will get better and you can get through it. You did - for eight years.
6. Cherish whatever time you’re in
You want to skip directly to college. Then to a dream job. Then to freedom. You want to get out of this small town. To run away from everything and everyone. You’ll miss it, dear. You’ll eventually come back and wish you had spent your time enjoying the people and places you grew up with. Make the most of it, even if you have to dig deep to do so.
7. The only person who will not disappoint you, is you
Do not put your happiness in other people’s hands. They will drop it and it will shatter, every single time. Take care of yourself and learn not to have expectations with other people. We are all human, after all. Save yourself the hurt and heartache of expecting others to cater to your every want and need.
Little me, I know everything seems so big and out of reach for you. Take it one day at a time. As cliche as that sounds, it’s the best advice I can give you.