Dear 13 Year-Old Me
STOP! BACK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER! I MEAN IT! YOU WILL REGRET EVERYTHING.
Just kidding… sort of.
Let’s be real — none of us knew what the hell we were getting into when we first signed up for Facebook. MSN messenger was on the downfall and I guess we were all just looking for another way to digitally communicate with our friends. I signed up for Facebook in 2008, where I was among one of the last in my friend group to join. I didn’t see the point of social media, which in retrospect was very mature of my 13-year-old self. I remember thinking, “I talk to you guys all day at school, why do I need to send you messages online?”. But, being an awkward seventh grade pre-pubescent girl who had very little sense of individuality and self-esteem, curiosity got the best of me and I got my sister to help me make an account. And after looking back, all I can say is thank god I gained some social media literacy.
Dear 13 Year-Old Me,
- Stop caring so much about what others think. Okay, I know this sounds ridiculous and nearly impossible, but I promise, everyone is just as insecure as you are. Some people are better at hiding it, that’s all. As soon as you stop worrying so much about fitting in and focus on realizing your individuality, your life will get so much better. And, spoiler alert, this doesn’t really happen until you go to university. And even now, as I sit here writing this, I can’t honestly say that I don’t feel insecure from time to time. But it’s because of you that I have taken the time to discover who I am and what I like, and I’ve realized it’s okay, maybe even good, that other people enjoy different things than me. And it’s funny because being different is now almost synonymous with being ‘cool’.
2. The number of likes your photos and status updates get does not determine your beauty or popularity or self-value. I’m happy to say that you have (finally) developed, later than all the other girls in your class but that’s okay! Having boobs really isn’t that amazing anyway. But yeah, don’t lose sleep over the fact that the boy you like didn’t like your profile picture or that Vampire Weekend song you posted. He turned out to be super lame anyway, and the guy you’re with now was worth waiting for.
3. What the hell were you thinking here?
4. There’s a difference between being conceited and being confident. When someone compliments you, thank them. Don’t deny the fact that you’re beautiful and young and you crave love and acceptance just like everyone else. We’re so conditioned to praise others and put ourselves down, but it can be so liberating to say, “You know what, I am really good at that, and I practiced really hard. Thanks for the kind words”. There will always, always, be people who are better dancers than you and who can draw better and who always remember to feed their Neopets when you let yours starve, but you are way more talented than you let yourself believe. Just look at what you’ve accomplished, all while keeping up in school and maintaining relationships with friends and family. You’re a total boss bitch, so shut up and stop saying that it’s not a big deal.
5. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, and I’m sorry about this, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s better this way; the winds of change can take me any which way and maybe this is all a part of something bigger, something that leads to where I am supposed to be.
6. You’re not perfect (especially not on social media), but you’re me and I love you for it. Keep doing your thing and living your best life. Eat delicious food — take advantage being debt-free and having a high metabolism. Hug your friends, sleep outside on the trampoline and be the first one to jump into the lake. Keep on keepin’ on, and I’ll see you 9 years from now.