So, I'd like to talk about one of the trending topics on Twitter today. No, I'm not talking about the CooksSource debacle (although, I am proud of my comment on the matter that the stolen recipes always taste better. Zing!). Nope. I'm talking about the #TweetYour16YearOldSelf posts. Some of them I've seen have been high-larious!
@CadyTruckeeDon't stop practicing guitar in your room, but when the girl asks you to meet her after school to makeout... do it.
@HeffMania: Rethink James Van Der Beek.
@PaulAndStorm: [P] If you *must* buy a Members Only jacket, don't buy it in purple. (And no, it's not "burgundy")
But, there has been some real gold in those hashtags. Who knew that in 140 characters you could say so much about yourself?
So, I started putting together a few of my own. To give you some perspective, my 16 year old self was an awkward kid who was really concerned with marching band and whether or not the boys that I liked liked me. Sounds familiar, I'll bet. I thought I was fat and ugly because all the popular kids told me I was fat and ugly, so I dressed in baggy clothes hoping to just hide my body away. (PS: Didn't work. Still got made fun of.) I listened to Nirvana, Type O, the Beatles. I watched MTV when they still had music videos. I worshipped Aersosmith and had posters of Jonathan Brandis or Christian Slater on the ceiling. Yeah. 1996 was good times.
But it was also weird. It was high school, dammit, and that's just a painful time for everyone. At 16, I was just coming off of my second bout of depression. A second storm of suicidal thoughts. This is when my little habit of self-injury was born. (Haven't cut in 10 years, woot!) This is the girl I'm talking to when I tweet something to my 16 year old self. She's fragile, she's got this whole life ahead of her that she has no clue is going to suck as much as it will. These next few years are going to hurt and be weird and rocky and at times they're going to be fucking brutal. Part of me wishes that I could just hold onto her and spare her that shit. That I could tell her to avoid this pitfall or to take a completely different path because it's one that I never got to explore.
But I can't do that. Because there is also beauty there. There are gems mixed in with all that shit that went down in my teens/twenties. Sure, i could save myself a whole shitload of drama if I just told that 16 year old self, "Hey, I don't care if he's cute and a damn good drummer. Just say no!" I can't tell her that the future she has penciled in isn't even close, because I don't want to ruin the surprise.
In fact, as I sit here thinking about those times, I find myself humbled. Filled with nothing but gratitude for the people that were part of that life. The first boyfriend...how he trusted me with his heart, even though I broke it later. The ones who broke mine in karmic retribution. The lovers and leavers, the friends who are still around and others who are just memories...I'm so damn thankful for that time with them.Those years when things were so chaotic? Those were the primordial sludge of this existence, this life I always say is awesome. I needed those experiences to get HERE. While this is by no means the destination, it's still an amazing place to be. Each of those trials and joys and relationships gone bad or mistakes or successes... all of them are a chain that leads here. I can't rob that girl of this.
Call me selfish.
So, instead, I tweet the following to my 16 year old self.
Work on your posture NOW and go easy on your back later. You'll thank me and save money.
I won't spoil any surprises by warning you off of certain people. Go with it and enjoy it. Even the bad times.
These next few years are going to suck mightily at times. But at 30, you will look back and be glad you stuck around
Also, those puple shiny pants are a bad idea. Just sayin'. You'll wear them once.
Dude, stick around. You're going to love this.
I hope someday that I can remember this when my daughter is going through her teens. I hope I can tell her. I remember what it was like then, though, when mom or my aunts would tell me, "it gets better" or "it's just high school". I didn't believe them then, so I don't expect my daughter to believe me. But, I can hope.