Hi, this is you. I’m writing you from 2016. We are almost 32 years old and we are basically awesome. We’ve got a house, a nice man, and a really cute kid. Sometimes we write, we almost always read, and we regularly fail at baking. Wine and coffee are our friends and we’ve moved across country twice. We’re mostly happy and we have quite a few things figured out, which is good. But enough about me, let’s talk about you. Thirteen is not easy, no matter who you are. Look up pictures of famous people at 13, you’ll see what I mean. I know you’re 13 and not keen on taking advice from other people, but just hear me out, please.
FIND GOOD PEOPLE BY BEING YOURSELF
This might seem frivolous, but just go for it in the make up department. Embrace that purple lipstick you keep hidden in your locker, even if you feel like you need to wash it off before mom picks you up. In the same vein, don’t shave your legs just because the other kids laugh at you. Yes, mom will make you wear the optional school uniforms (seriously, who has optional school uniforms?), and yes the other kids will laugh at you in your polos and khaki shorts. Here’s the upper, you will learn how to weed the bad people out of your life this way. The kids who comment on your hairy legs, creased blue slacks, and purple lipstick? Yup, trust your heart and cut them loose. You will always read people well, keep trusting that instinct. If shaving your legs makes you happy, go for it (but don’t steal Dad’s razor, get your own), if not, don’t do it. Dye your hair if you want, get neon bands on your braces, draw on your sneakers; you’re 13, it’s ok. Find people who like you for you. That’s the most important thing.
IT’S OKAY TO LET GO
On that note, it’s okay to let go of toxic friends, especially when you’re young. You’re in 7th grade and between this year and next some of your friends are going to be pretty mean. Take the advice from above and trust your gut – let them go. I know saying that doesn’t make it any easier, but it is the best you can do. The girl who finds “cooler” friends to eat lunch with won’t be as happy. The girl who calls your mom and lies and says that you’re self-destructive is doing so as a cry for help. You’ll have a bigger heart later and you’ll want to help her. For now pull an Elsa (that will make sense in about 20 years) and let it go. Embrace the new friends you make and be thankful that you’ve learned to how to be independent. It may be hard to learn in junior high, but independence will be a valuable skill when you’re grown up.
BE SMART ON THE WEB
The internet’s a brand new thing when you’re in junior high. You’ll spend way too long logging on to AOL, listening to that horrifying sound that is reminiscent to a monster living in your CPU, but stick with it. The internet is here to stay, and yes, it will get faster. I must be serious when I say stop talking to boys in chatrooms, though. They don’t like you like you think they do, and those flower doodles they make out of symbols mean nothing. You’re on there because you’re shy, naive, and those guys say nice things. You would be better served to try chatting with real boys, in person. Except Matt, he’s never going to like you. Just being real. Better yet, make online friends with other girls! The internet is great; it will play a big part in life later on.
DON’T BACK DOWN. EVER.
Yes, that first week of school you will correct your English teacher’s spelling error on the white board. He will never forget it, and he will yell at you when your Tamagotchi dies in class and you cry that you need to save it. That spirit though, that never back down thing you’ve got going, hang on to it. Go ahead and stand up for yourself against that boy who will make fun of you at soccer try outs, and tell that gym teacher where she can shove her scale when she wants to weigh you in front of the class (true story). Your biggest cheerleader in life will always be you, stick up for yourself. And on that note – stand up for your friends. Don’t let anyone bully your girls, and don’t bully others. Girls standing up for each other will get you through school and will be a valuable skill to have later in life. Try to live by this motto – community over competition. Always.
Teenage Lindsey just remember this: plenty of people love you. Some of them even like you. Be kind to yourself, and just as kind to those around you. This made sound cliché, but everyone is fighting a hard battle out there and a little kindness goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to be happy, or silly, or odd. Don’t be afraid to be tough.
Oh, and stop eating Funyuns at lunch. I love you, and I know they taste good, but they’re not making things any easier for you.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self if you could? Tell us in the comments!
(Feature image via Free People)