Dear me at 13:
Let me begin by saying, stop stressing about your boobs. They’re never going to get any bigger, so let’s just move on. (Also, that kleenex in your bra is totally obvious and also so very overdone, I’m cringing at how cliché you are.) On the positive side, you’re going to discover makeup soon, and after an unfortunate tarantula eye phase, I think you’ll be quite pleased with the outcome!
First thing’s first. You know how you really hate wearing braces, and you realize that you’re probably going to be wearing them for the rest of your adolescent life, but that’s okay because at the end of it your teeth will be all gorgeous and straight? Yeah, well, you’re right about that, but let me give you a little hint: Once you get them off, conveniently prior to prom and senior pictures and all that jazz? Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, wear your retainer! I’ll leave the profanities out, because I know you have tender ears yet, but seriously, you’re not the expert here. How hard is it to put two harmless little pieces of plastic in your mouth every night? It’s not hard! Trust me, it’s much, much harder to drop $1500 in one go to repair the damage of NOT wearing those tiny little plastic bits. My credit card literally screamed in pain. That is something that you NEVER want to hear. Just think, you, a little 13-year-old child, are keeping me $5,000 away from owning seventeen pairs of Louboutins and a shoe room! I’m not pleased with you, or the 16-year-old version of yourself who led you astray.
Secondly, let’s talk about boys here. I know you love Ryan with the passion of a thousand suns, as do all of your closest friends. Why? I’m not sure… At that point he looked an awful lot like a Keebler Elf, but you know what? That’s okay, elves can be cute. And I know you think that there’s nothing worse than the agony of being “the best friend” to the guy that you have your crush on, but oh my God, girl, it is going to get SO MUCH WORSE!! Revel in this! Enjoy this! It’s so innocent and beautiful, and will eventually be up there among your favorite memories of school. In a few years a very smooth talker is going to come along and try to sweep you off your feet, and I need you to just say no, mmkay? I fear that experience led to an awful lot of baggage that I currently carry with me and at the rate I’m accumulating baggage I’m never gonna be able to fly on an airplane again.
There’s going to come a time- well, a few times if I’m being entirely honest here- where life is going to knock you down so hard, you’ll wonder if it’s worth getting back up. You’ll be so blind to the good in the world that all you can see is darkness and despair. It’s not going to be an easy time, and you will feel completely lost and alone in your sadness. But remember, you are NEVER ALONE. You have so many people who love you and will cheer you on, and in this one thing I can assure you, it will be okay. You will be happy again. Just remember this: Darkness helps us appreciate the light. It’s not all for nothing, and even the most heartbreaking moments in your life will lead you to a brighter future.
I wish I could give you some kind of wisdom and insight into the meaning of life and love, but frankly I don’t think any of us ever learn the answer to those questions. Just know that, despite what you may think, you’re a pretty cool kid and the memories that you’re making right now will be with you for the rest of your life.
But mostly, know that I really want to kick your ass about the retainer thing.
When Angela isn’t spending countless hours exploring the furthest reaches of the internet, she enjoys reading, writing, traveling the world and taking long naps. She’s still secretly hoping her boobs will grow overnight, and almost always remembers to wear her retainer.