Tag Archives: teen

*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 11: Teenaged angst is not just your thing.

9 Aug

Alison writes:

Dear me at 16:

Get over it. You’re not hardcore. Not even a little bit.

You’re sixteen. No one understands you or your music. That’s a universal thing, sweetheart. Teenaged angst is not just your thing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I fully support you exploring music outside of the Top 40. Listening to alternative and punk, though, does not mean that you are punk. It’s not a free pass to wear those bleached and ripped up jeans from Salvation Army. It doesn’t mean that you can forgo showering five days out of the week. It doesn’t mean that you should wear a men’s band tee Every. Single. Day.

I understand that you despise the mass-produced clothing and music idolized by so many of your classmates. I understand that your classmates aren’t socially conscious and ignore you when you climb on your soapbox about women‘s issues or various obscure third world countries‘ violations of the UN‘s Bill of Human Rights. Is it necessary for you to write poems for English class criticizing them for worshipping the Abercrombie gods and their chronic overuse of perfume and cologne? Different strokes for different folks, dude. Just because you’re marching to your own drummer doesn’t mean that everyone else has to. It doesn’t mean that you need to criticize them for taking a different path.

photo courtesy of alonegrg

It is possible to be an individual without filling up your frequent customer punch card from Hot Topic. So, please, put away the torn up Converse you so artfully graffitied with song lyrics. You are perfectly capable of asserting your individuality without following your friends to punk shows and thrift stores. Take some time and figure out who you are rather than jumping at who other people want you to be.

Also, you may want to tone down the soap box routine a bit. Being labeled a “feminazi” will not help your case in any way.

P.S. Remember all those times the DARE officer warned you about peer pressure? Remember how you are (and will remain) a sucker for peer pressure? In a couple years, your friend will suggest that you do something, and you’ll go along with it. Don’t. For the love of God, DO NOT LET ANYONE TALK YOU INTO DYING YOUR HAIR HOT PINK. The box will say it’s “semi-permanent” (ha!) and will only last six weeks (haha!). Really it means that the dye will last through two years and five hair cuts. Put the box back on the shelf and walk away. Please. Your hair follicles will thank you.

A rural Michigander, Alison splits her time between college, a job that involves handling raw meat, and blogging it up at http://literarycrap.blogspot.com/. Despite regrets over her high school fashion choices, she definitely still trots out the obscure band tees and Chuck Taylors when she’s not going out in public.

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The Hindsight Notes: Prom!

29 Jul

The Hindsight notes is a recurring section created for all you readers desperate to participate in THL, but lacking time to write a full letter. Each Note is composed of a question. All you need to do is answer it, in the form of a comment (below).

This week’s topic is Prom. Tell us about your prom experience! What did you wear? Who was your date? Did you get totally trashed and dance like a moron? Tell us!

I will start us out. But first, here is an embarrassing photo of me at prom:


*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 9: What are you wearing??

26 Jul

Candace writes:

Dear me at 17:

What are you wearing?  Oversized anything is not what’s best for your frame.

The author (right) and I (ugh...left) in our phat pant heyday

‘Phat’ pants are not cool.  They were never cool.  They will never be cool.   They don’t make you look good.  In fact, they make you look exactly like your mother told you, a “garbage lady”.  Those extra-large hooded sweatshirts don’t hide your extremely thin frame, but only make you look even skinnier.  I’m going to go all the way here and say from the back (and side) you look like a boy.  A smelly, garbage boy.  Showers or not, your pants are smelly.

Remember those snowy winters wearing those 36″+ pants?  Do you remember the salt stains, the frozen denim to the knees, the smell?  Oh the smell… It was as though you trapped two poor rabbits in each pant leg during a winter’s walk and they perished a horrible, phat pant death.

Remember Halloween when that kid asked you who you were dressed as, and you weren’t in costume?  Your shaved head, suspenders and ripped chord pants were the giveaway.

Why would you want to look like a raver anyway?  Are you trying to look different from everyone else?  Well, you don’t.  There is a whole group of you that all look exactly the same.  Including the smelly garbage people who do drugs.  And no, it’s not cool to associate yourself with drug addict, delinquent teenagers.

By the way, pull up your pants… I can see your boxers.

Candace Forsyth is a 27-year-old artist from Toronto who is currently studying at Pratt Institute in New York City.

Letter 8: She’s mean to you because she’s fat

19 Jul

Dear me at 13:

Your parents have always told you to turn the other cheek. Take the high road. Be the bigger person.

Screw that.

I mean, with all due respect…

Screw that.

They mean well, but your parents don’t know what they’re talking about on this one. You are dealing with a full-blown, raging hormones, 13-year-old psycho hose beast situation.

Amanda S.

Ugh.

Just the sound of her name sends shivers up your spine. When you see her walking toward you in the hallway you feel like cramming yourself sideways into your locker and shutting the door. When she’s not calling you names to your face, she’s saying goodness knows what behind your back.

You don’t know why she picked you as her target. You never will. She probably doesn’t even know. What she does know is that she has made you cry on at least three occasions in front of your classmates. The other hundred million times- well, we’ll just keep those between us.

You like school. You’re good at it. It comes naturally to you. You get straight A’s and you’re always on the honor roll. You used to look forward to your studies. Now the sight of those heavy iron doors makes you want to run screaming back to your mom’s dodge caravan.

Let me tell you some things about bullies:

They don’t like themselves. That is why they’re mean to other people. People who don’t like themselves are mean to people who threaten their tenuous sense of self-worth. You are smart, sweet, kind, naive, optimistic… All the things that threaten mean people the most. People who like themselves aren’t mean like that. Ever.

Bullies can smell you coming from a mile away. They know your type: sensitive, desperate for acceptance, and too slow to come up with something snappy to say in retaliation. They like the fact that they can get a rise out of you, and they think that you’ll allow them to push you around.

If you didn’t allow it, they wouldn’t push you around.

Here is some big, big news: You tell people how you want to be treated. You create the rules for your interactions. You dictate what you will and will not accept as respectful behavior. Each time you allow someone to walk all over you, you tell them that it’s alright for them to do it again. Your acquiescence begs for a repeat of the behavior.

Here is the unfortunate thing: Bullies will follow you around all your life. They will seek you out and try to rain on your parade regardless of your whereabouts. Bully-moms will seek you out at playgroup. Bully seniors will probably seek you out at the old folk’s home.

“Well that’s pretty depressing. What am I supposed to do? Lock myself in my parent’s basement with a crate of cheetos and watch Degrassi reruns my whole life?” you might ask.

The solution to your problem is twofold:

1) Stand up for yourself. Go for the jugular. It might feel weird at first, but rest assured, Amanda S. won’t ever bother you again if you look her in the eyes and say “Are you mean because you’re fat, or because your parents don’t love you? Just wondering”.

2) You need to change your reaction to the bullying. This is more than just “acting tough” when it happens. This is about “being tough”. Who cares what Amanda S. thinks about you? She might be popular at Windfields Junior High, but she’s not very bright, she’s about 30 pounds overweight, and she has eyebrows like gnarled pubic hair. She is a miserable person. And the bottom line is that all her animosity has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with her. Don’t let it get you down! Don’t let it hurt your feelings. Don’t allow it to take over your day, and certainly don’t allow it to taint your opinion of yourself. You are awesome, and that’s why she’s bullying you anyway.

So go back to school holding your head high. Focus on your studies. That’s why you’re there in the first place, remember? And the next time you see Amanda S.- in the hallway or otherwise- don’t be tempted to take up permanent residence in your locker.  Just look up into those massive eyebrows, meet her head on, and remember our chat.


*NEW* The Hindsight Notes

12 Jul

Do you remember passing notes in class?

Now’s your chance to be a badass all over again. Pass us a note!

The Hindsight notes will be a recurring section, created for all you readers desperate to participate in THL, but lacking time to write a full letter. Each Note will be composed of a question. All you need to do is answer it, in the form of a comment (below).

This week, it’s all about hair. Tell us about your worst teenaged hairstyle. Mullet, Chelsea, Mohawk, Aniston, whatever it was, we want to hear about it. If you’re feeling particularly brave, send us a photo and we’d be pleased to share it with the world.

I’ll start us out. But first, here is a photo to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about:


Letter 7: He doesn’t like you and he’s not that cool anyway.

5 Jul

Dear me at 19:

He doesn’t like you. And he’s not even that cool anyway.

You met him on a mild night in February. He was a good dancer. He was drinking something “on the rocks”. He was wearing a hat. With a sweaty palm, you had shoved your number at him, hoping for the best.

On your first date, he gave you all sorts of compliments, like “Is that eyeshadow gold?”. Swoon. You were really beginning to like him. And you were pretty sure that he liked you too. Surely you were a perfect match.

But then you didn’t hear from him again. For many days. Lots and lots of days. You sulked away at home, wondering what you had done wrong. Each time your phone began a preemptive vibration, you would jump on top of it, scrambling to pick up as quickly as possible. “Hello?” you would purr, only to hear “Hello, this is an automated call from Bell Mobility”, or “Honey, it’s Mom. Can you check if we need mayonnaise?”

“Bzz-” you slammed your hand down, expecting the sting of disappointment. But (miracle of miracles!), this time it was him. You weren’t sure why, but he invited you out again.

From this point on, you weren’t going to let him out of your sights. You accomplished this largely due to your willingness to follow him regardless of his intended whereabouts. Hip downtown nightclub, slummy Brampton bar 45 minutes out of your way, whatever. You considered these slightly-less-than-chance meetings to be dates.

He said that he liked you. He even talked about getting married once. Kind of. Okay, he was a little drunk, and he might have been talking about someone else, and maybe he didn’t actually use the word “marriage”, but close enough. You were convinced the two of you were headed toward commitment territory.

So you asked him. You asked “So, are we going to be boyfriend and girlfriend, or what?”. And to your astonishment (gasp!), he changed the subject. And then he never called again.

Hmmmm. You were perplexed. Maybe you just didn’t explain yourself properly. Maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe he developed some rare form of short-term hearing loss and didn’t hear what you said. If you could just get him on the phone I’m sure that…

Stop it! Stop it right now! He doesn’t like you. Period. Stop trying so hard to make him like you. You’re trying so hard, it’s making him not like you. Here’s the really backwards thing: The less you try, the more he’ll like you. It’s an inverse relationship.

“But what if that doesn’t work? What then?”, you might ask.

Here is the best part of this whole love thing: If he doesn’t like you, he’s not worth your time anyway. Truly. If he isn’t completely and totally smitten with you right off the bat, he’s not who you’re meant to be with. And why waste time with some loser you won’t wind up with in the end anyway?

You convinced yourself that he was something special. But the truth is that you were just feeling a little lonely and looking a little too hard for some companionship.

Here is the best news of all: You will meet the man of your dreams, fall in love, get married and have babies. And guess what: he’s not the man of your dreams. He works at the bank and sells pot in his spare time. He’s way too into his hair. His band sucks. He likes “Scarface” a little too much. Sometimes when he talks he sounds like such a chachi. And his two front teeth are enormous. Come on now, girl. Is this who you want to wake up next to in 50 years? Do you really want to be carting four kids around in his buddy’s beat up grand-am, listening to the Eagles?

Shake yourself out of it, dude. The faster you learn this lesson, the less heartache you’ll have in the future. Wait a while. Be single. Be alone. Become comfortable being alone. Take advantage of it. And when you do meet Mr. Right, let him take the lead. Let him do the work. Believe me, if he wants you, he’ll let you know.

Now step away from the phone, and put down the ice cream. It’s time to move on.

*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 6: What are you looking for?

28 Jun

Melissa writes:

Dear me at 16:

What are you looking for?  What do you think you’ll find in those new friends, those Saturday night parties, that hockey boy that barely gives you the time of day… love, acceptance, a place to fit in?  If you stopped and looked around you’d realize that you already have all those things, that there are people in your life that have given you a place to belong and that love and accept you just the way you are.

It’s amazing how in three short years the canvas of your life can completely change.  The friends and family that were once so prominent in the foreground start to fade into the background. Goals and priorities shift, changing the pattern of your life and altering your setting.

In three years, you can gain so much.  Experiences, knowledge, friends, and memories.  But, sadly, you can lose even more.  The friend that’s known you since diapers slowly drifts into the background and before you know it, she’s not even in the same picture as you.  When you realize that she’s missing, it’ll be too late to get her back and you will never find another friend like her no matter how hard you look.

You’ll make a lot of friends and have a lot of fun with them.  It will seem like nothing and no one could ever replace them. Only a few of those friends will become truly important in your life and you’ll always miss the one you let fall by the wayside.  Those precious few will stand by you through the storms and heartbreaks, celebrate your defining moments, and help you become a better person.

So, take note of those important people in your life and hold them close to you. Cherish them, make sure they know what they mean to you.  You will discover that true friends are invaluable and difficult to find.  Everything you are looking for can be found in those true friends.

A native Calgarian, Melissa married her amazing hubby while earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology.  After being blessed with their first two daughters,  Melissa juggled motherhood and working part-time until their son came along. She is now a full-time mom/taxi driver/cook/entertainment coordinator/nurse or whatever else is required in a day!