A Letter To My Younger Self
Dear old me,
High school isn’t another teen movie, where you finally go to the prom with your crush and end up living happily ever after. No. They may not be a pack of mean girls like The Plastics—but people will make you feel bad about yourself, and sometimes those people include your friends. And when that happens, it’s important to learn how to deal.
I’m in high school now, but 12-year-old me went through a lot of stuff, too. The worst was feeling that I was weird, and I would never fit in with the cool kids. They could always stay out late when I had to be home at 7 (not like I had anyone to go out with, anyway). I always wanted to be close to these people; but seeing the way they treated each other made me realize that I was totally OK with my few friends. I didn’t have to pretend to be someone else and was perfectly comfortable around them.
There was a time in my life when I was regularly humiliated because of liking Justin Bieber. Yep, really! Kids made me feel like listening to his songs was embarrassing. Then I became a fan of One Direction, and dealt with more of the same. I had to put up with phrases like “that boy band is so gay,” and “they are so untalented,” and “how can you listen to their music, it sounds like trash.” By then, I’d realized that there’s nothing wrong with having different taste in music. I learned that you don’t have to stop doing something just because some other person doesn’t like it.
Another huge problem for me was love—specifically, not loving myself. I didn’t like my face, the bump on my nose, my acne, or my weight. Boys were always laughing at us girls because of things like a tiny bit of facial hair; this negatively affected my self-esteem. Now when I’m thinking of how terrible I felt, all I want to do is talk to my 12-year-old self and explain how and why she should accept herself the way she is. To continue listening to that boy band. To stop feeling self-conscious about her appearance. To stop worrying about not being friends with everyone she wants, because one single friend who you can talk to about literally everything is enough.
I’m still dealing with these problems in high school, and I don't imagine they'll go away when I graduate. It’s never going to be a good feeling when you like someone and that person doesn’t give a damn about you, or when you want to be friends with someone only to have the feeling unreciprocated. Or worse, you think that someone is your friend but you end up feeling betrayed. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned came from my literature teacher, which I call the five steps rule. You can take five steps—figuratively speaking—to become closer to someone. But if they don't put themselves out there and do the same, save yourself the energy and stop.
School might be full of fake friends or stupid boys, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t good times. You’re not only learning biology and math, you are also learning how to deal with life and what awaits you after graduation And it includes bigger problems than your crush not texting you back.
By Anne Khubaeva, 17