Well HELLO! It is I, your resident Old Lady of Old Lady Movie Night breaking from her normal role as movie-watcher and getting into “let’s talk about feelings” mode. (And yes, I know 27 isn’t old, you guys, but I named the column when I was wearing a Golden Girls-inspired sweater and drinking tea, so I figured, SURE, why not. Live a little, you know? YOU KNOW? Anywho.)
Believe it or not, I was a teenager once. Truth be told, it wasn’t the greatest time for me. BUT, thanks to sites like this one and Rookie and xoJane and Tumblr, it’s probably a lot more fun for you. First, you’ve got the internet. And not the internet like I had with dial up, and ICQ, and GeoCities — Internet like, you’ve got this endless realm of possibility that makes being a teenager actually pretty fun. Communities! Articles to read! Meet-ups! Twitter! Seriously, you’ve got this. BUT sometimes advice isn’t the worst thing, either. So because I was hanging out with MY teenage cousin this weekend (YEAH, I’VE GOT ONE OF THOSE #BRAG), I figured I’d share with you ten things I wish I’d known then that would have made being a teen a little easier.
Disclaimer: I might be way out in left field here. But at the very least, now you have a list of things to say, “Pfff I don’t THINK so” to, instead of, well… not? I don’t know. LISTEN, I’m just trying to hang out, okay?
10. Whip your hair back and forth (translation: do what you want).
Maybe you like cheerleading, or maybe you like music, or maybe you like writing, or maybe you like none of those things and an entirely new thing I haven’t even heard of. As long as it doesn’t hurt yourself or anybody else, EMBRACE IT. Don’t apologize for liking the things that make you happy. Faking an interest in sports or in music or in anything else not only wastes your time, it doesn’t help you grow into yourself. Do you know how long I pretended to care about skateboarding? A year. A WHOLE YEAR that I could have spent doing anything else in the world. But instead, I sat in the parking lot across the street from my house and watched the guys — and my friend Jess, who ruled then and rules now — skateboard. Not even girls! (Only Jess.) (Because if girls skateboarded, they were “posers,” you guys, just FYI.) And do you know what I wanted to be doing? Anything else. Well, maybe dating the guy I used to watch skateboard. But still! That would have been the worst because we wouldn’t have had anything to talk about. Which brings me to my next point.
9. Ditch those negative, mean people.
I’ll let you in on a secret: those people never really go away. (Seriously, even in work situations sometimes it’s like, “Oh there’s THIS GUY again, UGHHH.”) But a good way to learn to deal with those people as an adult, is to learn to deal with them when you’re a teen. The quickest, and simplest way? Cut.Them.Out. (Just like Uncle Joey.) Odds are, in high school, you’ll at some point end up in a situation in which, you’re friends with people who make you feel crappy or make you feel like you can’t be yourself. Those people? Not your friends.
True friends will champion and celebrate who you are. You won’t ever have to feel like you’re putting on a show for those true friends. And it might take you a long time to find them! THAT’S FINE. You will. You’d be surprised at how like-minded people gravitate to each other, and end up forming really great groups. I had a few really great, close, understanding, like-minded friends in high school (after making my way through a few groups that were THE WORST), and they’re still my close friends today. But it wasn’t until my 20s that I REALLY started to meet people who “got it.” I know that might seem like a long way off, but it’s WORTH IT, I promise.