Dear me at 14:
I know the idea of having your own money to spend is awesome. I know that you’re tired of being poor while all your friends seem to have everything. I know that you really, really want to get out of that house. I know that you want to feel as much like an adult as possible, even if it means giving up your blissfully lazy summers to have a job of your very own.
So please, please don’t get that job at Dairy Queen.
You’ll tell yourself at first that you won’t eat anything while you’re working there, because that’s the advice Mim gave you (she worked in fast food back in the day, remember). You’ll be determined and you won’t fail. This will be easy at first.
Then, once in a while it seems okay to have a little bit of ice cream here and there…then here and there and there and there…and so on until you’re eating too much ice cream every single day (and French fries, as well!). You’ll rationalize it, oh yes, by saying that you walk to work every day, so you’re burning the calories off. The only problem is, you’ll be eating way more than that short little walk burns.
I know that life at home super sucks, and you get made fun of almost daily at school, but food is not the answer. If you get that job, you’ll start eating junk food to fill the emotional holes, and you won’t be able to stop until years and years later, when you look in the mirror and wonder how in the world you could have let it get that far. Sometimes you’ll look in the mirror and hate yourself. And let me tell you, that is not a good place for you to end up.
You’ll be stuck at that job for four years. It’ll be familiar and comfortable, so you’ll keep going back there every summer to work. They’ll be happy to hire you, because you work so hard. But trust me, it really isn’t worth it.
So my advice to you is:
Find someone to talk things out with. Maybe a counselor. Food is not the answer.
And for heaven’s sake, get a job at the grocery store. Your waistline (and your poor, sensitive heart) will thank you for it.
Anna Walker is a chemist who loves not only electrons, but yarn, her husband, and her dog as well (not necessarily in that order). You can stalk her on her blog, Anna’s Life…or something like it.