So I was reading THIS POST today and I liked it. A list of things that Present you could tell Past you. Being the kind of teenager who really indulged in the "writing to yourself in 5 or 10 years" activities at church (seriously, teenage me is a very interesting person to find letters from), I figured, why not? I mean, writing to the past certainly isn't going to change anything, but writing to myself in the future didn't typically change anything either (if anything I found out that I can't predict the future - uh, such as none of the Willis boys married me, turning 22 did not open the doors to eating however much ice-cream I wanted (it was 18 actually), my hair isn't down to my waist, and I'm still single). So here it goes (p.s. I had a lot to say to myself but I will limit it to 20).
What I wish I knew when I was 17
Sadly, this is the best I can do as far as already having pictures of old me on my computer.
- First of all, thanks for learning to be ok alone. This may or may not have been a natural ability
youwe were born with, but it has come in handy. I'm not talking solely about boys here, but in all situations. It has helped me to learn that my value has no basis in the opinion of others, if people don't like me that is their problem and loss. I will always have enough good people around me to be there if/when I need them.
- Don't be so hard on your friends. Everyone makes mistakes, it doesn't change that they are a good person deep down, who care for you...and who also happen to be deathly afraid of disappointing you. You can't help them to fix their mistakes if they are too afraid to even tell them to you.
- White Out and Permanent Markers do not make for good nail polish. Ignore those friends who are talking you into it, I'm pretty sure they were sniffing the stuff and they all went down strange paths in the end anyway.
- Good job on that junior class photo, taking your hair down during U.S. History class turned out to be a good decision on photo day, turned out as nice as it could get with wavy hair like yours. Beats the pony tail you were sporting a lot back then.
- Listen to Dad...all that crazy talk about budgeting actually has some weight to it. You could learn a thing or two by opening up your ears from time to time.
- For the love, stop writing poetry. My sides can't take anymore from laughing so hard as I reread them. You're not in love with that boy you barely talk to, what you are feeling is not heartbreak (trust me, it's more painful), stop thinking that it's the end of the world if your dad makes you do the dishes (and please, don't write poems about that either).
- Stop being so afraid, especially if you are good at something. Don't stop taking sign language, don't be afraid to speak up in class when you know the answer, don't give up on writing short stories and novels (you'll actually finish one one day).
- Please, for me, Future Jessica - Stop doing the bare minimum to get by. Just because you get honor roll without trying doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Guess what? Some college courses will require study, college shouldn't be the first time you try it out.
- Don't ever give your heart to someone who doesn't deserve it. Trust me, it's easier to spot those people than you think. Start thinking with your brains and not with your messed up teenage hormones. Look for clues early on where you can see that he is not going to treat you as well as you deserve to be treated. (i.e. if he goes to Wal-mart at 10 o'clock at night with "the boys" to "pick up chicks" - drop him faster than a hot cookie sheet, you deserve better than that...and you will get it too).
- Don't, I repeat sans contraction, do not give in and get acrylic nails. A simple manicure is all it takes and you don't have to deal with fake nails randomly falling off and all that gunk remaining afterwards. Plus, you'll look freaking ridiculous with how long they will be.
- You look good with highlights, but you might want to buy a hair straightener and use a little product (leave in conditioner is not your enemy). People even might stop asking you if you've brushed your hair that day.
- WARNING - that bottle of Egyptian Plum hair dye is going to turn your hair purple, not dark red like the box suggests. It's temporary, so have at it if you must, but don't say I didn't warn you. (P.S. Could you find Jamie and warn him not to go to the haircuttery? No teenage boy wants to walk around with a triangle shaved in the back of his head).
- You're not fat. You're not ugly. You're not dumb. And that one friend who always went for the guys you like...she ends up sadly, so forgive her quickly and don't let her actions make you feel any less than what you truly are. (p.s. always forgive quickly, you don't know why people do what they do).
- Wear your retainer. I've got enough self confidence now that those little imperfections are "character", but it would be nice if mom and dad's money had longer lasting results.
- It's okay that you are one of the guys...you don't really want to date any of the guys who see you that way anyway. The one you want to date will love the way you are, they will see you (good and bad), and when you're walking through the store they will hold your hand and not seem to notice the other girls walking by (even if you think they are prettier than you).
- Give up gobstoppers now...the dental bill won't be worth it.
- Always be impulsive, some of the best things have come from when you say, "okay" to someone else's idea before you've let your rational brain work through it. (Going with Melanie to Utah, hiking with strangers, random road trip with Tami, etc.) Trust yourself enough to realize that when you impulsively say "okay" you aren't going to say it to harmful stuff. Deep down your self preservation skills are still working.
- Take photography more seriously, and give that Tim guy a chance. Underneath that creepy hairstyle (an upside down mohawk that covered most of his face) he is actually pretty cute, and he was always nice to you. But back to photography - you'll wish later that you had really learned to handle that camera, you missed a lot of opportunities by not really trying.
- Hold on tight to that Beastie Boys shirt, you know, your favorite one. One day it will disappear without a trace. Wow - I could get deep here and mention how the Beastie Boys shirt is a metaphor for all important things in life and how we should always work on maintaining our friendships, etc. etc. etc. ...but I won't.
- Your laugh is just fine. Don't put yourself on silent/vibrate mode just to mask that sound and don't try a new laugh every week (it's actually annoying). When people say they like your laugh, they aren't being mean to you. If you think something is funny, laugh as loudly as you want. People who say funny things actually want you to laugh loudly.