Life : Five Things I Wish I’d Known At Fifteen : By Veggie Mama
Fifteen was a life-changing year for me. Here’s what I wish somebody, anybody, would have told me.
Don’t get your boobs out for the boys.
Book 8 of The Babysitter’s Club is called Boy-Crazy Stacey and doesn’t that sum you up? You are a lost little soul looking for love in all the wrong places. Sure home sucks (like, really sucks), but you’re not going to find what you need in the back seat of someone’s car. Someone wise once said to me ‘Men will profess love to get sex. Women will give sex to get love.’ Keep that in mind.
Short skirts and what looks like hankies held together with string masquerading as a top will only get you the worst kind of attention. Don’t look for a boyfriend in everyone you meet. Learn to love yourself and you will never settle for second best. And you know what? When you stop dressing like a hussy and vibing out your neediness in nightclubs, you will find the man you’re going to marry. And he will love you because you AREN’T doing those things in a sea of girls that are.
You are unique. Learn to rock it.
Soon you will hear the group of friends you’re trying to impress at your new school say ‘She tries too hard’ when they think you cannot hear them. And as mean as they are, they’re right. You are always going to be tall, you are always going to be underweight, you are always going to have unruly hair, big feet and crooked teeth. Stop trying to be somebody you’re not.
We all go through a period of trying out different looks and different styles until we find the ones we like, but learn when it’s not working and it’s time to move on. Or when you’re doing it only to fit in and be accepted. Who wants to be accepted by a bunch of b*tches anyway? Eventually you cannot be categorised into any one style or genre. You have your own unique way of dressing and you see the fun and beauty in that. You don’t look like anyone else and you carry it well. You’re a little bit punk, a little bit vintage and always unexpected.
Oh, and one day somebody will invent GHD hair straighteners. You will never be the same.
Stay in school.
Next year, you’ll drop out. On your 16th birthday. That bad crowd you’ve fallen in with? Probs best to steer clear of them. All the wagging and eating Hungry Jack’s and playing Daytona at Timezone is eventually going to lead you to quit school entirely and neither of your parents really give much of a damn. YOU have to give a damn for your own sake. Eventually you’ll realise education is your currency. It’s what sets your heart on fire and drives you, and you will spend the next 10 years frantically trying to get back what you lost. Hell Yes! You’ll enjoy those 10 years, and you’ll end up where you need to be. But you love reading, you love school and you’re damn good at it. Stick with something that you excel at and it might help combat some of your crippling self-esteem issues when you see you are good at something.
Sure you’re independent. You’ve had to be. But let others in.
Nobody likes coming from a broken home. Nobody likes being in a series of miserable relationships. Nobody likes realising at 21 that the only person they can rely on is themselves. Everywhere you turn, you see people who have friends they’ve grown up with, families, a cohort to belong to. You’ve never fit in, always felt like a burden, retreated waaaaaaay back into yourself and piece by piece, replaced your spine with steel. When you make that realisation at 21, you come out guns blazing. You are not to be messed with. You build your fortress so high and sit at the top, shooting anyone brave enough to try scaling the walls. Then you see those people with their families and their friends still enjoying themselves and being enriched by those relationships they’re having and you’re not. You will always find it hard to make friends, but the ones you do are worth the vulnerability. You don’t have to do this alone. Let people help you. Let them love you.
It’s ALL going to be ok.
You know what? It really is. You’re going to move clear across the other side of the country, from one parent to another. Then to a share house. Then to an abusive, drug-addicted boyfriend. All in 12 months. Not to mention you drop out of school, lose all your friends and live on an isolated property in the back of nowhere. You will be confused, you will be hurt, you will be the most naïve kid on the block. You are going to be taken advantage of and it’s not your fault. By 21 you will have mostly sorted yourself out. Done a lot of soul-searching, made changes, tried to be a person who lives in a place of positivity, and rejects the part of you that immediately thinks negatively, makes decisions from fear, and generally views everyone and everything with cynicism and suspicion. It’s not easy and you don’t always get it right, but you realise the importance of always trying.
Fast forward to 30
Honey, you’re RULING. Married to a phenomenal human who loves you and values you and puts you first because you learned to do these things for yourself. You’ve travelled, just like you always dreamed. You’ve read books that have moved you, had experiences you’ll never forget. You’ll have a degree and you’ll have your dream job. You’ll have a baby, a little girl. She is sugar and spice and all things nice, just like what all little girls are made of. She is the most awesome thing you will ever do. And the best part is when you look at her, you don’t see that sad little girl you were. You see someone who is going to be ok.
What do you wish you could tell your fifteen year old self?
Stacey is a vegetarian, mama, crochet lover, vintage collector, and a tea enthusiast. She blogs about delicious days and (sometimes) sleepless nights at Veggie Mama.
All images by Veggie Mama