10 Things I Would Have Told My 13-Year Old Self

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1. Actually try hard in school.

I know you like to act like you’re the hardest worker in the world and like every good grade you ever got wasn’t thanks to natural ability. Seriously. Cut the shit and hit the fucking books. It doesn’t seem like it will have any real effect right now, but in 4 years when your college counselor tells you your dream school is out of reach, it will all materialize.

2. Read.

I know. I sound like dad. But he’s not an idiot. Take the time to pleasure read now while you can. You may think you’re busy with school work at this age, but wait until junior year of high school when you start going to sleep at 3 AM every day not because you’re binge watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but instead because you’re cramming for a biology test and cranking out a term paper. Oh, and Shailene Woodley becomes a respectable actress who stars in Oscar-nominated movies. But really, I’d kill to have time to read a book for leisure now.

3. Puberty happens.

I know you think you’re a perpetual wallflower, but you’re not. Just because you haven’t gotten your period yet doesn’t mean you’re infertile – you’re 13. You’ll have your first kiss and you’ll meet boys soon enough. Chill.

4. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders.

Whenever you see someone at school talking about grams of sugar or calorie count, you gawk at how ridiculous they’re being at this age. Keep that mindset. Don’t let yourself become one of them. Don’t ever let yourself fall into a weight-obsessed spiral filled with laxatives and calorie counting apps – it will take all the strength you have and more to ever get yourself out of it. You’re beautiful; don’t listen when everyone at school becomes obsessed with thigh gaps and collarbones.

5. Enjoy your ignorance and the bliss that comes with it.

I know you think you’re an adult and you’ve seen all there is to see, but you really, really haven’t. Embrace that. Unfortunately, you have a genetic predisposition to mental illness. One day you’ll find yourself in a sea of depression and you will crave the days you’re living now. Be thankful that you don’t know what that feels like yet. But also, remember that once you do know what that feels like, it’s OK. You get better. Trust me. It gets better.

6. Stop promising dad and yourself that you will never have a sip of alcohol or a puff of a cigarette in your life.

It’s not true. You’re preparing your dad for a year of paranoia and disappointment come sophomore year of high school.

7. Boys are so dumb.

The summer after this one, you’re going to meet a boy who you’ll feel instantly attracted to. Let him go. Don’t pursue him, don’t feel for him, not even for a day. He’s not a good choice for you. He sucks. He’s going to spend 3 years leading you on and making you feel like shit about yourself. Really. Forget him.

8. Be careful.

You’re going to find yourself on a lot of medication one day. One of those medications will be Prozac. Don’t drink on it. Seriously, don’t fucking drink on it. Don’t drink on it early February of 2013, and don’t drink on it ever. Fucking don’t.

9. Freshman year, don’t agree to be that new girl’s roommate for the summer China trip.

She’ll try to poison you, and I am not kidding. Stay away from her.

10. Popularity is dumb.

You’ll get a fleeting dose of it in a couple years. It’s shit and it will fuck up your already not-so-great priorities. Don’t chase it. Don’t lose sleep over it. It’s super meaningless and unhealthy. Choose to focus on your own individual happiness and don’t look back. TC Mark

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