1. Your high school boyfriend
I had a super serious high school sweetheart, 90s-movie-style. We spent nearly every waking second together and even won the Cutest Couple award in our senior yearbook, a fact that now kind of makes me want to vomit all over everything I own. Anyway, this is all pretty funny to look back on because he and I had absolutely nothing in common — zero similar interests, totally different senses of humor, and wildly dissimilar ambitions. I sure as hell wouldn’t date him now, but I actually don’t regret a second of dating him then. He treated me like total gold — he was always buying me jewelry I didn’t want and ice cream I didn’t need, and he used to pull cute moves like decorating my car on Valentine’s day and planning elaborate birthday activities, all of which melted my malleable 16-year-old heart. I gained a valuable mantra from this relationship: always date someone you actually relate to, but never let him treat you like sh-t.
2. Your first best friend
My first best friend was named Paige. I don’t remember much about her, but I do remember that we were sickeningly inseparable for several years before she tragically moved to Wyoming. Even though Paige and I don’t keep in touch anymore, she holds an important place in my personal history — she taught me what it was to be loyal and to share an exclusive, special closeness with one single person. She taught me the beauty of having a friend who feels like family. She taught me how totally awesome sleepovers are, and that the amount of fun you have is directly proportional to how many snacks your parents keep in the pantry, which is a truth that I hold onto to this day. All very important lessons if you ask me.
3. Your old babysitter
As someone who makes most of her income from dealing with children, listen to my words — you owe your old babysitter a stiff drink and probably an apology hug. No matter how awesome you are now, you were a whining screaming sh-thead back then, and your babysitter, a confused, naïve 20-something sat bored at the park with you, read you that terribly uninteresting train book for the 28th time, and probably cleaned up your poo. If that’s not a good friend, I don’t know what is.
4. Every single one of your middle school teachers
So many wonderful, passionate teachers tried to give me the gift of education throughout middle school, but I was so busy doing important things like giggle-punching boys in the arm and crying in the bathroom that I never really paid attention to them. I would probably have to buy each of them a 3-floor boat in order to make up for how much of an annoying, self-involved douche I was. Since I’m on a pretty tight budget, maybe I’ll send them all alcohol-infused apples in the mail. Is that a thing?
5. The first person that had a crush on you
The first time I found out someone had a crush on me, I was immediately paralyzed with fear, but then shortly thereafter felt like Britney Spears in that “Stronger” video where she’s all sexy and wet and dancing on chairs and sh-t. I was empowered, confident, and totally blown away by the notion that somebody loved me who wasn’t my parent. I mean, this guy wasn’t at all genetically obliged to care for me, but he did in a totally romantic, manly way. Of course, I now realize that his love for me was actually about as deep as an episode of The King of Queens, but nonetheless, I discovered a newfound sense of self-worth that stuck with me.