A letter to my 16-year-old self

Monday, June 14, 2010

I think it's disgusting that I was 16 years old THIRTEEN YEARS AGO. Sad faces. That being said, it's getting kind of hard to remember what it was like to be the big one-six, but if I think waaaaaaaay back I can almost recall being a young pup.

For a 16-year-old, I was pretty drama free, which is mostly a side effect of being a bit nerdy and actually enjoying high school. There were still lots of things I agonized over that were completely not worth it. If I could go back and talk to my 16-year-old self, here's some of the things I'd tell her:

1. Dress your age. There's a picture of me and my friends from our grad banquet. My friends are all wearing cute, short sundresses. I'm wearing a twinset and a flowered skirt that reaches my ankles. I kind of look like their mother. There is nothing wrong with slutting it up as a teen, or at least exposing your knees, but I missed my window of opportunity.

2. He's just not that into you. My "boyfriends" in high school were a parade of sporty guys to occasionally hold hands with at noon hour. In addition to dressing like a nun, I had the sexuality of one, too. Whose fault is it that the guys I went to school with were not V-card material?

Anyway, because I was reluctant to get all deflowered, I would get broken up with the "nice" way: via the ignore tactic. My flame du jour would just stop talking to me in an effort to ditch me without hurting my feelings. The non-talkery would continue for one, two, three weeks. No conversations in the halls, no eye contact in class, no phone calls, etc. "Oh yeah, he's just really busy with hockey and work and stuff," I'd tell people when they asked suspiciously why I wasn't hanging around with such-and-such-supposed-boyfriend.

And then, Monday morning rolled around and I found out he'd hooked up with some hussy over the weekend, and surprise, it didn't count as cheating because we'd been actually been "broken up" for weeks. News to me!

3. What these people think really doesn't matter. My biggest source of stress was worrying about what other people thought of me. It wasn't until much later in life that I realized a) I'm never going to see 90% of these people again and b) it never mattered anyway.

4. Do NOT put that shit in your hair! 16 was the year I discovered Sun-In. I'm sure it was about as healthy as pouring a jug of Javex over my head.

5. You are not fat. I wasn't fat, so why did I moan about being fat? Because everyone else was, and that's how 16-year-old girls bond?

6. Don't change who you are for a guy. Over my high school years, some of the things I've faked in order to get guys to like me include:

-The San Jose Sharks are my favourite hockey team! (Not true. It's always been the Maple Leafs.)
-I like football! (I'm decidedly "meh" on football).
-I like beer! (In high school I LOATHED beer.)
-My boobs are at least a C! (What's up, pair of nylons stuffed inside padded bra!)
-I like it when you play your guitar at me! (I HAAAATE having people sing/play at me, to this very day.)
-I loooove action movies! (No. No. No.) And wrestling! (NO.)
-I don't mind the smell of smoke! (I hate the smell of smoke.)
-I have no problem wearing your favourite shirt three times a week! (Pathetic.)

7. Brown lipstick is not a good look. Ditto pencil-thin eyebrows.

8. You are a girl, not a professional basketball player. I should have left the Nike Air Forces and the XL Adidas track pants to the NBA and stopped wearing them to school. Especially with the brown lipstick!

What would you tell your 16-year-old self if you could go back and give her head a shake?

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  1. My favourite is: "What other people think really doesn't matter"

    Yep. I did NOT get that memo until I turned 19...let's say 25-ish :P

  2. if it makes you feel better, i was 16 ... 7 years ago.

    Anyways...moving along...#5. Totally.

    And I'd tell myself to just relax and enjoy my boyfriend at the time, because hooooooly jeez, we were ever not meant to be. And to relax on the whole "Catholicism RULEZ!" "Abortion should be illegal!" schick, and advise me to shut my bloody mouth until I grew up more. (Catholic high school, what can I say?)

  3. Ok, LOLZ ABOUND on this one! I have always loathed when guys sing/play to me, but now I'm dating a guy who sings/plays AMAZINGLY and that's ALL I WANT!

  4. I would tell 16 year old me that trying to be different will make you different - and is that really what you want?

    Also, I would tell her to stop trying to blow-dry her hair straight. It was some bad stuff.


  5. omg this is hilarious. ...and no, brown lipstick was never flattering, although I wore it too. And I'm pretty sure 16 was around 18 years ago for me ...yikes.

  6. ooooh Also just realized you're from the same city! It's really exciting to find a good blogger in the same city - I was tipped off by your reference to Empire Theatres in a previous post.

  7. oh boy! a lot of what you said! but I would also tell myself to stop trying to please everyone else, and to get two or three great friends and hold on. Being nice with everyone is good but you are left with a lot of acquaintances and no one to call a best friend. Not that I had many options for "good friends" I met my best friends in college and no one has compared.

    great post!

  8. LOVE this! I remember when high school flames would just "stop talking" in an effort to break up with me too... of course I always had excuses for him being "busy" as well!

    I'd give my 16 year old self most of the same advice, too. The biggest would probably be "you're fine as you are, stop trying to change yourself to fit in with other people and just be patient until the ones who like you the way you are come along." Definitely a hair-related one, too. "DO NOT TRY TO BLEACH YOUR ALREADY DYED BLACK AND RED HAIR. You will have to go three days before you can get it fixed as the biggest, frizziest orange mess there's ever been."

  9. Ohhh all of this brings back so many memories. I cracked up at this — "I should have left the Nike Air Forces and the XL Adidas track pants to the NBA and stopped wearing them to school." — I was the same way ... and I'm pretty sure my hair was permanently cemented in an elastic through all my high school years. I cringe at the photographic evidence.

  10. Oh, SUN IN.

    Those were the days...

    I think I've destroyed all the pictures.