It’s my 10 year reunion in a couple of weeks…
I already skipped the SDSS one, but now my first ever boyfriend and his amazing fiance are convincing me to go to DSS’s and although there is a part of me that wants to go, I cannot believe how just the sight of certain people on that invitation list can bring me right back to my fearful, insecure, high school-self who never felt like she fit into her own skin and was sure that she’d never be good enough.
No dumb male bully could ever cause the damage that I did to myself spending time with mean girls and telling myself that they were my friends.
A local councilor asked me if I would meet with one of her clients, a high school girl who is having a hard time; My salon chair is currently full of young girls getting ready for back to school; I’ve been watching cheesy rom-coms on Netflix like “To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before”, and “Kissing Booth”, and debating on whether or not I want to brave the reunion. All of which lead to…
If I could go back and speak to my younger self I would want to tell her so many things; things that all young women should hear:
- Stop making excuses for the people who treat you poorly. Don’t worry about it if someone makes you feel bad, but if someone doesn’t make you feel good then they are not your friend.
- It’s okay to gently ask for someone’s attention, if they don’t give it to you, walk away. They aren’t worth it and will only cause you more pain in the future.
- Some people are actually just not nice people. It doesn’t mean that they’re bad people, but they are not nice people. Nothing you do or say is going to make them nice people. It’s not your problem, you can only be kind to them and carry on. Do not, I repeat. Do.Not. try to be friends with these people.
- Boundaries are understanding where you end and another person begins. Boundaries are good. Boundaries are healthy. Boundaries feel good in your gut. (Apparently there are more gut-feelings than just the negative ones, you will learn that once you ditch these bitches, go through a few more years of poor choices and gain a sense of self.)
- That one girl who’s always agreeing with you, she’s not agreeing with you because she genuinely agrees, shes agreeing with you because that’s all shes capable of doing. She hasn’t learned her own boundaries yet, and she doesn’t know how to share her own opinion. She’s agreeing with everybody else too, and when it comes time to be your friend and stand up for you, she will not know how because she only knows how to be agreeable. This is her comfort zone, it’s not her fault, but either understand this or get the fuck outta there because you’re in for a huge reality slap when she ditches you for the dude that raped you. (Oh ya – go back to that boundaries thing above.)
- It turns out that high school truly is the best time of some people’s lives. That’s very very sad for those people. Let them have this; your time is coming and it’s going to be significantly longer lasting and more beautiful than the ones’ who peaked in high school.
- Some of the people who you don’t think twice about in high school are going to become your greatest friends later in life. Be nice in the hallways, you never know who those people will be.
- Keep your side of the street clean. Do you know how many people I’ve apologized to, years after the fact? It’s never too late to humbly own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions. Do not expect these people to apologize to you for their actions, even if in your mind theirs were worse than yours, just own your shit so you can move on in peace.
- Being “normal” or “fitting in” only means that you are a sheep. Be the odd man out; the 1 in 100; the 1%. Be the shepherd.
- Every year after high school gets better if you let it.
- “Be the change you want to see in the world” is not just a quote, its a lifestyle. The younger you learn this, the earlier your life opens up for you.
- Smudge your freaking house already.
- Stop conforming yourself to fit into everyone else’s box. You don’t fit. You’re not supposed to fit. Their boxes are too small and you are not a fucking contortionist – physically, emotionally or spiritually. You are brighter than their box, you are larger than their box, torch that shit.
- It turns out that you actually probably judge yourself and are meaner to yourself than anyone else would ever be to you. This makes your life a lot harder than it needs to be. It’s okay to be silly, to sing, to laugh, to cry it out. You do you.
- Nobody else has time to judge you as much as you think they do.
- Can you imagine how actually awful it would be to be a person who had nothing better to do than to judge you and put you down? That’s very very sad for them.
- Meet everyone who hates on you with empathy and love – they probably hate themselves more or at the very least someone important in their life has taught them that hate.
- People’s actions have literally nothing to do with you. Again, BOUNDARIES.
- At the end of the day all that is truly important is that you feel good about your actions. Keep your side of the street clean. Forget about what anyone else is doing and do what feels good in your gut. It turns out it’s a better judge than you thought it was.
I literally thought my life was over in my teens. Never expected to see 19. I was certifiably depressed and my coping skills were seriously lacking. (Also, it turns out when you surround yourself with people who don’t make you feel good about yourself… life is a lot harder.) I even spent 3 months in an adolescent psych unit which may be the only thing that saved me. I look back and I cannot believe how ridiculous that seems to me now, not because it didn’t seem like a valuable option at the time but because I never would have ever thought that my life would get so much better, but it did.
High school is not real life. When you’re in it its hard to see your way through it, especially if you’re struggling, but trust me, it gets so much better.
I think most people turn out pretty okay after a few years of finding themselves. In the meantime, be kind. Not only to others but to yourself too. And do not expect kindness in response to unkindness. Keep your side of the street humble and clean.
It gets better, I promise.