Recently, I was asked what I would say to my 15 year old self if I could go back and give her advice. I immediately came up with a few, like these gems:
- It is ok to not be who you want to be yet.
- It’s ok to grow into the image you put into the world (and past that image… you’ll get so much better than you could possibly imagine).
- It’s going to get harder before it gets easier.
- Ignore the people you know are petty and idiotic, they’ll grow up.
- Look beyond the surface.
I forgot to include my biggest and most revolutionary piece of advice to myself: Be afraid- do it anyway. Honestly, in the past ten years I have faced many of what I thought should be my worst nightmares and insecurities- some of them several times. Failed a class? Check. Got my heart broken? Oh hell yes. Broken up? Multiple times. Gone from Best friends to estranged overnight? You bet.
My point is not “Woe is me”- my point is that I have never gotten anywhere by being anything less than who I am. Shit happens; the only things you can do are: try your hardest to be the best human you can possibly be (whatever that looks like to you), anticipate difficulties, and allow for changes in your plans. There are going to be days that crush you- worse than you can plan for. There are going to be so many more little moments- which are so beautiful you can burst. It’s healthy to be afraid of the bad times, but it’s useless to give that fear enough weight to alter your behavior.
To let the expectancy of loss or injury stop you from living how you choose 100% is a disservice to you. PLEASE believe that the hurt you incur will be only carry a fraction of the impact as the unbelievably sweet moments you receive in return for showing up to your own life. Even now, I am constantly living in fear of the moment when people see me at my worst- but the only thing I get when I buy into that dread is some pretty intense anxiety (which ironically brings out my worst sides). It is only when I choose to defy my own insecurities and work as hard as I can to honor the best parts of myself and others that I find my version of happiness.
The best moments are the ones you can never plan or anticipate- like driving to sushi two hours away just because you need an excuse to share space for a while with a best friend, or staying up late with a sick friend to watch movies neither of you have seen since middle school… The magic is not in grand gestures and declarations, it is in the genuine connections shared with fearless individuals like yourself. Everyone has masks they wear at times, everyone feels the pressure to speak half-truths. Never fear the outcome of your full honesty- for every person you lose, you’ll create real and deep bonds with people… and trust me when I say you won’t EVER have to choose between quantity and quality.
The funny thing about this post is that fifteen year old me would have lost my mind if some self-important, self-loving, twenty five year old with blue hair had come up and tried to say any of this. At fifteen, I was too smart for anyone to tell me anything AND too scared to handle anyone telling me it was ok to be terrified (counterintuitive, I know). I still am that fifteen year old in a lot of ways, but now I embrace the fear… seriously, if it scares you, run in that direction. It’s a good one.
Until next time, babes