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Words of advice to the shorter, chubbier, choker-wearing version of myself.
Dear Middle School Self,
First, you need to chill out. Take a deep breath. You turned out just fine. While you did end up crushing your dreams of going to an Ivy League school (you’ll come to accept the fact that it’s impossible for you to do well in a math class), you did end up going to an awesome university right by home. You’re doing pretty well in college and have a feeling you’ll do even better after college. You got your braces off, mom finally stopped cutting your bangs, and you’ve actually held hands with a few boys. Your wildest dreams came true! I understand, however, that middle school life is kind of tough for you right now. Here are some sage words of advice from a more sophisticated and experienced version of yourself.
Right now the bad kids might make fun of you for not knowing what the word “virgin” means and the cool girls might make fun of you for spending lunch in your English teacher’s classroom, but it’s their loss. You’re smart, beautiful, and quirky, and I promise that one day you’ll be better off than most of those people. Don’t fall at the feet of the mean girls, continue to keep a kind spirit and stick up for what you believe in. Treat everyone as if they’re your best friend and always listen to what they have to say. You never know what someone deals with at home and if you’re able to be the little beam of light in his or her day, be that. It’s a scientifically proven fact that middle school kids are the meanest people on the face of the earth; continue to be the rare, kind unicorn that you are.
Also, you’re a really smart kid. Contrary to what your lovely classmates may think, this is a wonderful and powerful thing. You’re doing well in school, and I’m very proud of you for that; don’t stop doing well and working hard. You’re going to want to skip a few assignments and not work too hard on a few tests to watch the Disney Channel Original Movie of the night but trust me, you’ll see “High School Musical” a trillion more times. (If “Life Size” or “Model Behavior” is on, however, do not miss it. You’ll spend years missing those movies and wondering why Disney never plays them anymore.)
Whenever you’re in the eighth grade sitting in the hallway reading “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath and your science teacher walks by and says, “If I was your mother, I’d never let you read that,” tell her to suck it. Okay, maybe don’t do that. Don’t get embarrassed and throw the book in the trash, though. What are you thinking? You won’t pick that book up again for another three years and you’ll just have that painful memory stuck in your head the whole time you read it. You shouldn’t be embarrassed of your desire to educate yourself. Be proud of your mind.
You’re dying to be the most intelligent 13 year old out there and while that’s admirable, you also need to take the time to enjoy being a kid. Go outside, run around, eat mud. Middle schoolers do that, right? Try to at least be mediocre at any sport. Seriously, anything. Also, while you love impressing everyone with your intelligence, it’s better to keep some things to yourself. You don’t need to correct everyone’s grammar, and you DEFINITELY don’t need to carry around a mini-French dictionary to impress that boy who ends up being the complete opposite of who you want to end up marrying one day. Boys are a whole different topic, but I’ll say this one thing: wait until college to acknowledge that boys exist. Listen to mom. Trust us on this one.
While you’re a little pretentious at this age, you’re a pretty awesome kid. I know the combination of braces, glasses, and those darn bangs doesn’t make you model material, but you’re still beautiful inside and out. Keep geeking out about “Back to the Future,” calling Brittney everyday and working on your Lisa Left-Eye and Degrassi impressions, and cracking jokes even if nobody else thinks they’re funny. Your unique personality will come in handy one day. The world needs more people like you.
Lastly, I want you to know that everything you’ve always wanted is around the corner; the best friends you could ever ask for, the boy you’ve always dreamed of, and unforgettably crazy memories. You’re cool now, but you’re a lot cooler outside of middle school, I promise. Just be patient. It’ll be well worth the wait.
P.S. I know that the cute boy on the bus called you flat chested, but for the love of God, don’t stuff your bra. The toilet paper will fall out in gym class, a girl will pick it up, and you’ll say that you were just holding it there for convenience because your nose was runny. Everyone will know you’re lying. Your boobs will come in soon enough, I promise.