So it’s 1994, your in High School and you are pretty clueless. You don’t have an older sister or any other relatives to turn to for advice. First of all yes, you have been classed as a little bit of dork by some people but being kind of awkward doesn’t define you or make you that different anyway. Learn to roll with it, you’ll get a better sense of humour that people will love.
My 13yr old self
Here are all of the life lessons I’ve learned so far and how they can help you:
Most teenage boys are a total mess, they’re just better at brazening it out, so it looks like they have got their act together. Let me tell you something: One day you suddenly decide to act really confident around a bloke you meet and bag yourself your first boyfriend. It only last a month but that’s hardly the point!
Don’t assume good looks equal value. Being attractive doesn’t always mean blokes will treat you with any more respect. Years later when you’re looking hot and acting confident you will attract men in clubs that seemed really cool. Then after a while their act will slip and you will see the real (nasty) version of them. If a bloke is a d!ck he will eventually act like one no matter how attractive you are. Fortunately you will developed a great radar for these types of men, fairly early on.
Around the age of 18 you learn that you can wrap men who are a good few years older than you, around your little finger. You can chat to them on their level but you can also surprise them and charm (disarm?) them without trying very hard. Yes, this is fun and it gives you a massive and well needed ego boost, but don’t be too mean. Their heart is not yours to play with.
So you have your guard up after getting miss-treated, in fact you’re so tough you are in danger of developing a bit of a chip on your shoulder. Not every bloke who is charming is a player. Not every bloke who is polite and generous is a total pus…sh over. My best mate at that time gave me some fantastic advice. “If you want a nice bloke to actually take the lead for once, then for god sake let him!” Avoid mentally slotting men into neat categories and per-judging them too soon. Don’t end up taking control of the situation and making all the decisions, just because you find the man to be a tad too placid once or twice. Basically, unless you take the time to go on a few dates and really get to know the person you could miss out on someone amazing!
Saying that, never, ever put up with a wanker. Make sure you always keep your pride, independence and always value yourself. Nowadays I go off a 30/70% ratio. If he’s a bit of an arse 30% of the time but genuinely lovely for the other 70% then that’s acceptable. Sure the relationship needs work (all relationships should from both parties) but if you both love and really respect each other, that’s what matters.
Don’t be a victim:
If you are being bullied always tell someone, whether it’s a mate, teacher or a member of your family. You are a kid, it’s not your problem to deal with alone. Try not to be ashamed, it’s a weakness in the bullies personality, it’s not a true reflection of how you deserve to be treated. You will get told to just ignore it. Now although this is sound advice if you are out numbered or the bullies are easily capable of kicking your arse, but I wouldn’t recommend it constantly. There’s a fine line between trying to rise above it and becoming a victim who just accepts it. You don’t deserve it, you should never just accept it. You will quickly learn to get a smart mouth on you and come out with witty put-downs, which hone in on the bully’s insecurities. It really lessens the frequency of the bullying if you can get their group of mates laughing with you, rather than at you.
Obviously violence can get you expelled, tagged or arrested so I don’t really recommend it. However, I can think of a few people (who will constantly verbally abuse and humiliate you for a few years) who deserve a quick strategically placed kick! I’m now a great believer of starting off on the right foot ;0) You should take up some form of basic martial arts or self defense training. No, not so you can kick ass but so that you can defend yourself (and be in control of the amount of necessary force you use) in case any one attacks you in the future. Be that a bully, a robber or a pervert!
You are not thick!
There are different types of intelligence and test scores don’t always reflect how bright you are. So what if the words you write get jumbled up or you miss some out. I know it’s frustrating when you have to try so hard (even just to stay focused on the task) but no matter how hard you try, you still get crappy marks. You are not ‘lazy’ or ‘off with the faeries’ and ignore any teachers that say you are. They are the ones making lazy assumptions. Turn your energy to the subjects that interest you and sod the rest!
You have a load of emotional intelligence, that’s why people appreciate your advice. It’s also why you will learn how to manipulate certain situations to go your way. As you know, that’s not exactly an admirable quality so ease off on that, seriously. Insight will help you massively in a future relationship when you turn that quality toward yourself, and use it to figure out the motivations behind your actions and thoughts.
Street smarts, you have more of these than you realise. Thinking on your feet on the spur of the moment will get you out of a lot of trouble. OK it will also get you into some but it will be the fun kind! You will avoid several potential street fights between your mates and gangs as you will manage to talk your way around it.
Don’t try too hard to be liked or be too mean to others who are doing so
You are lucky as you have a big group of close friends. Very soon someone will turn on one of you in a really unfair manner and the rest of the group won’t stick up for that person. You will though, even though it means you end up in a petty war with the rest of them for a few years. You will do this because it’s the right thing to do. This person will become your best mate for the next five years and you will be there for each other through some really significant moments in your lives. In fact you will drift in and out of each others lives for years to come and still be in touch with them now.
Don’t be a doormat. If you try too hard to be liked you will end up like that weird girl that’s always clinging on around the edge of your social group. Oh by the way, be nicer to her. Don’t let people take you for granted, as quite often people treat you the way that you let them treat you. Don’t try to be cool, just try your hand at everything! Oh poor you, none of your friends wants to try indoor rock climbing, archery etc so you don’t get to do it. Man up and try it anyway! You might make an entirely new set of friends or at least gain valuable life skills such as resourcefulness and independence. Don’t bother with the bowling phase though, you get bored and end up with an expensive custom designed ball your folks can’t re-sell!
At 13 (or any age actually) don’t bother trying to be fashionable all of the time. I know you are not exactly arsed about this and you have your own weird grungy, rocker style anyway. This is popular with alternative types and students, oh and a certain Kurt Cobain but unfortunately you won’t even realise this until your around 17-18. I know popular kids at your school are often scallyfied, wearing named sports brands such as ‘Alley Ansen’ – which you will later learn is pronounced Helley Hansen and is (quite bizarrely for high school kids) a company specialising in clothing for yachting and fishing. WTF! Now in 2013, eye jewellery, dip-dye (even hair!) and DM’s are seriously in fashion, as in models strutting down the cat walk wearing them kind of fashion. Basically all street-style and alternative fashions will be embraced by fashionista’s if you wait long enough. It goes around on a loop about every 15 years or more. So just chill your boots kiddo.
Dressing slutty will get you male attention but for all the wrong reasons. It can also intimidate a lot of blokes that might have talked to you otherwise. It isn’t good to get stuck in a style rut though and a whole lot of fun to gather the girls around for makeovers!
If you are struggling, just pick a genre like nautical or boho or a celeb you like who has a similar figure as you or a certain decade that you identify with. Now you have a clearer idea of what you are aiming for it makes shopping a lot easier. It’s great that you go shopping with mates who’s opinion you can trust. Don’t wear all of your fave bold pieces at once, or your items will be fighting each other for attention. Or even worse you will look like you have come in fancy dress! Wear one loud/interesting/detailed piece at a time, combined with slightly plainer, simpler items. Unless of course you have the attitude to pull off acid wash dungarees with neon pink trainers and an oversize lime green slogan t-shirt. I was channeling the Fresh Prince of Belle-air there.
First thing, get into a good cleanse, tone and moisturise routine. Find the right moisturiser for your skin as it will have a massive effect on how your make-up goes on and whether it stays on.
Find an alternative to shaving, as hair will grow back coarser and really blunt. Have the patience to learn how to pluck and wax properly. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
You have bad skin so eat more fresh fruit and veg (one portion of each a day is a bit rubbish), drink more water and cut out fizzy drinks. Go to your Dr’s about your skin. If what he suggests/prescribes doesn’t work then Keep a food diary of what you eat and how your skin reacts to certain types of food. Bear in mind it might take a few days to react. Go back to your Dr’s armed with this info and ask to be referred to a nutritionist.
I’m talking about having fun whilst enhancing your features, not slapping on masses of colour everywhere. Yes it does make you look astonishingly older but too much also makes you look tacky and easy. Work with your natural dark colouring, so go for earthy or berry tonnes but nothing too harsh and dark or you will look drained. Eyeshadow that clashes with your eye colour (like bright purple for green eyes) will really make them stand out. Play up your best features and play down the ones you don’t like. Get used to using bronzer (only one shade darker than your skin tone and not sparkly) and highlighter (only one shade lighter and not too silvery) to slim down your features, as you feel self conscious about them. Stop doing that thing of lining your lips with a darker colour pencil than your lipstick. This is what Pamela Anderson does – nuff said.
There will be so many crappy moments, moments you shouldn’t have to deal with (you really should report more than just one of these to the police) but you will deal with and come out with your dignity and your head held high. Then there will be so many hilarious moments and times when you are having so much fun! You will make some wonderful friends, and unexpectedly loose some. Some friendships will drift apart and some you will be glad to be rid of.
You will completely fail at things you thought would be much easier and there will be times you achieve things you would never expect. Like getting to the top of a 50ft climbing wall. Abseiling down a 140ft cliff face. Braving half an hour in a kayak on the open sea whilst pooing your pants (not literally, that comes later, don’t ask) OK so you cried and had to be toed to the shore but at least you had the guts to attempt it. You will collect 4,000 signatures on a petition to save trees in your boyfriend’s local park and manage to save over 100 trees. You will help to set up a protest camp and go on marches for causes you believe in.
You will find a fantastic bloke who reminds you so much of yourself it highlights all of your flaws and your best attributes. You will go through a lot of crap with each other (mainly because of each other) but your relationship will be stronger and you will understand each other, and yourselves better because of it.
Never forget you are awesome.