An Open Letter to My 12-Year-Old Self

An Open Letter to My 12-Year-Old Self

Everything will be OK, I promise.
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Dear Shannon,

Nine years later, I write to you expressing how far you've come, but how far you still have to go. You will be OK, so just try to keep that in mind.

First things first, you are not ugly. You may have a mouth full of braces and a bad haircut, but you are not ugly. You may have more boobs than the other girls around you at your age, you may have grown fast, and you may have the ugliest wire frame glasses that are too big for your face, but you are not ugly, no matter who says otherwise. People are cruel and say cruel things, but it's going to be OK.

You also are not fat. Your body is going through a lot of changes, and it's important to recognize that. You have curves in places you never did, and are still dancing and swimming 6 days a week. You are beginning puberty, but everyone will. You aren't fat just because your body is changing, and starving yourself now will only stunt your positive body image of yourself later on.

You are not unintelligent or unwanted. That math teacher who screams so loud, calls you dumb, and has pushed your classmates in chairs will soon be fired. You will realize your strengths in writing and reading can be utilized and everything will be OK.

You will be loved. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day. Multiple times. The boys who reject you now will soon be irrelevant and you have plenty of time. Don't rush anything. Your first kiss story will be utterly hilarious, it's worth the wait. One day you will be held like in those really cheesy Twilight books you're reading. One day can wait though, so please try and enjoy childhood.

You will go through bigger problems than not having the same UGGs and Hollister jeans as everyone else. Plus, those will be disgustingly out of style soon anyway. You will grow stronger from the mistakes you will make, your brothers will make, your friends will make, and your parents will make. You will be broken-hearted, and you will break hearts. You will leave people behind. However, I promise you will find a new path, and it will lead you on.

You will see amazing things. You will go to Mexico, Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, and England. You will travel and continue to travel. The world isn't centered in that tiny bully-centralized grade-school in Cincinnati, OH.

You will change. You will be popular, unpopular, a hipster (you'll know what that means later), preppy, a partier, and eventually, you'll just be the best you. You are made up of all of those changes and the good and bad that comes with them. Embrace each and every one.

You will learn a lot, but try and learn more. It will improve much of your life.

Shannon, you need to trust your gut. If something feels right, do it no matter how hard it is. Keep loving others. Keep making mistakes, because you have a big future in them. That's life. But in the darkest times when you want to end it all, there is hope. There is always someone there who loves you, like Mom and Dad.

You have so much ahead of you, but don't grow up yet. Just enjoy being 12. Just enjoy being a kid, because once it's gone, you'll give anything to get it back.

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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To Those Who Feel The Need To Tear Down Others, Take A Seat

You have no right to hurt others because you don’t agree with them.

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I recently wrote a super controversial article, which I'm honestly very proud of. In the comment section, there were plenty of people criticizing me because of what I believe in, mainly because they didn't believe in the same thing as I put out there.

I would just like everyone to know that the people that write for this amazing company are just that — people. They are real, they have opinions, and they have feelings. There is nothing different about them than you. Would you like someone commenting hate on your Facebook post or anything like that? No, no you wouldn't. When you comment rude things on something that someone worked long and hard on, you are just being rude and inconsiderate of their feelings.

If you just go to the comments to leave a rude comment, you can write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away. You're being a bully. These writers more than likely will go to the comment section, just like I did, and will be hurt by your arrogant, inappropriate comments.

Ever heard of if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.

If you don't agree with me that's fine, but that doesn't give you the right to deliberately go and try and tear me or anyone else down. You're just being rude and you have no reason to be, all I did was write an article on something I believe in.

Also, don't let anyone rude enough to do this tear you down or diminish your self-worth. There are people out there who are still kind and caring, don't listen to the negativity this world brings. Just keep doing what makes you happy, because in the end, that's all that really matters.

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