I was a pretty clueless teenager. I also had a hopeless sense of style (okay, NO sense of style).
With no idea how to dress or style my hair, I had from acne on my face and back (on top of my freckles) and absolutely no self-confidence.
As teenagers do, I worried way too much about friends and boys, was a sucker to peer pressure, and – as a typical redhead – blushed at the drop of a hat.
Classified a ‘square’, I loved books but deep down was a bogan at heart with a hankering for the ‘bad boy’, flannelette shirts and rock music.
I was also a good girl tempted by the other side of the tracks, just way too frightened to do anything about it (aside from getting drunk). I also loved surf shirts, secretly wanted to be a goth, surf, popular girl…
Man was I confused. But aren’t all teenagers!
If I could go back in time (if only!) I’d tell my teenage self…
There is PLENTY of time for boys!
Seriously! And the right kind of boy at that! As to the type of boy you liked, well, believe it or not you will grow out of the lust for the long-haired, greasy, wanna-be rock-god types who walk with a whole lot of attitude and treat women like shit. Stick to fantasising about Axl Rose and Sebastian Bach. They won’t break your hearts and leave you feeling all used and confused.
You ARE NOT fat!
Geez, you were never fat … not that there’s anything wrong with meat on your bones. Seriously – someone needed to feed you a burger girlfriend! So eat those school lunches you ditched in the bin. Starvation never got anyone far – and it will prevent the embarrassment of multiple fainting attacks. Just saying.
You are not ugly!
I know you hate on yourself. You think you are imperfect. You think you are the ugliest person in the world. Your legs, nose, hair, freckles, pimples, pale skin, knobbly knees, wobbly thighs, large hands, pointy elbows…
Well, let me reframe this for you.
You are beautiful. You have a vibrant mane, strong legs, a elizabethan nose, a face scattered with sunrises, ivory skin, pianist hands and slender arms. You are gorgeous AND you need to believe that!
Getting your period is not the end of the world…
Even though at times you will feel like an alien is about to explode out of your belly or like you want to kill someone… getting your period is certainly not the end of the world and it doesn’t mean you are dying. If only you had the internet…
Don’t listen to Miss Smith, the school PE teacher, who tells you that you aren’t smart enough.
Ugh if only you knew how much potential you had!? I really could bitch slap Miss Smith. Talk about crushing your self-esteem!
There are so many different options available to you. You so could have been a lawyer, journalist, park ranger, or anything else you had set your mind to. Regardless, you didn’t really want to be a lawyer anyway – follow your heart and write!
Rock your red hair, girlfriend!
Firstly, use a hair dryer on your uncontrollable fringe. A good blow dry will definitely help the unruly cowlick though![How did I not know the benefit of a good blow dry?]
Oh and DO NOT get your fringe permed!!! This will lead to at least 10 years of distrust for hair dressers and a whole lot of added personal stress over your bloody fringe! Consolation being a lot of other girls have big fringes too… it was the 80’s after all 🙂
Also, you need to realise that the incessant teasing actually means that people envy your red hair! The amount of times people say to me these days ‘..I would love your hair’ , well…That is why a lot of your best friends dye their hair a shade of red (because they can’t get the real colour!)
Oh, and then there are the boys – you will learn to recognise those boys with addiction in their eyes. Addiction to redheads, that is… They possess a few standout characteristics, such as obsessive-compulsive behaviour, compulsively dating girls with red hair, commenting continuously on your red hair and how much they love it… be cautious… they could become stalkers.
Stay true to yourself, sweetheart
You don’t need drugs or alcohol, and you shouldn’t allow yourself to be a plaything to boys. And you definitely don’t need to join in on the bitch-fests against others. But you are just a teenager after all. Shit happens, girls are bitchy, and teenagers suffer from raging hormones. Please just learn to say no and to treat your body with the respect it deserves, as should others.
You have something called depression
Depression. It ain’t nice, it runs in your family, and you will recover but have a few relapses. It’s not nice. It actually sucks. What you need to do is learn to look after yourself and drink less booze. Oh, and many people won’t understand it, not until around they year 2016 that is, but know that a lot of people suffer. You are not alone.
You also suffer from these things called panic attacks. These aren’t really talked about a lot – but they will be in the future and you will find people who understand you.
Oh, and no, you’re not crazy. You’re not a freak. You are emotional for a reason. You’ve also been through a hell of a lot so you need to give yourself some credit.
Please know that it will pass. In the meantime go see a doctor and talk to a professional.
Never deny where you came from
Growing up in the environment you did – a rough mining town and a farm – teaching you not to be so judgemental (eventually). It also teaches you not to judge people by appearances and to care for every living thing – ants even. It’s okay – you have a heart. But, most of all, it teaches you to be grateful for what you have, which might not be much, but that is more than enough.
Have a bloody hug
I’d grab teenage me and give her one hell of a bear hug. I’d also squeeze her tight and tell her that everything will be okay. I know that’s what she wanted.
Finally, if I could go back in time, the advice I would give to myself would be to be nicer to my family.
Your family really aren’t that bad, after all. You’ve been through some shitty stuff, and your parents divorced (for many reasons!). You will get over it and it all made you stronger. Plus, your parents were better off apart – you know this. You told them so!
Okay, so spend more time with your Nan, especially in the later years. Life, work, booze, friends, men. They can all wait. Your Nan, well, she won’t live forever and you will regret making an endless stream of excuses not to visit or call her. And seriously, stop picking on your brother because no matter how bloody annoying he is, he really is awesome and you will regret straining that relationship most of all. He loves you, even if he is a shit head at times! Boys will be boys!
What about you. What advice would you give your teenage self if you could go back in time?
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