We all have stories to tell, and we may have listeners too but what has happened, has happened. Growing up in South Carolina in the mid-1980’s was amazing; the sight of your family, the laughter and the happiness. It was like a dream. Well, until ten years after.
I became a teenager in the 90’s and boy, did that flip it upside down. Hitting puberty was a nightmare; increasing weight, hair growth at the speed of light and everything I was eating made my body its home.
So yes, I was the ‘FATTY FAT GIRL’ as they used to call me in high school. Every night I would come home, slam my door and cry for hours. Well, most would like to think that would be the end of the day but then they would prank call me and tell me they liked me, but in the end, I would hear the ‘coolest’ group at school laugh on the other end of the line.
I laugh at it now, but I wasted at least four years of my life being tormented by another person’s opinion and focusing.
As soon as I turned 17, I started to focus on how I look, what I do, what I wear and how bright is the color of my lipstick. I used to run around the block for hours to lose weight to attract cute guys and keep the bullies away! And eventually one day I did. I became one of the most asked out girls for prom.
I fell in love with a guy in my freshman year but believe you and me that was another mistake. Later regretting a lot! Don’t worry, my teenage daughter didn’t happen then, she is the only one, and she is 9.
Did it all feel amazing?
Not anymore that I think of it. But back then, I felt like the queen, living through an entire process of being a fat ugly girl at school to becoming the most asked out girl at prom, I had lost a lot of weight.
Nights when I should have been reading my favorite authors, I was crying. Nights I should have been a girl who wanted to conquer the world, I was thinking about what they said. Nights I should have been learning how my mother is so strong, I was thinking of what other girls have, and I don’t. Nights I should have been giving my father a cup of hot chocolate in the winters; I had a jerk snoring by my side.
So, what did I learn and what I would teach my daughter when she turns a teenager?
1) Looks Do Not Matter. Period.
We are who we are, we cannot change what we look like on the outside but we can on the inside. If you are getting bullied, you are mixing with the wrong people. It doesn’t mean they are bad; it just means that they don’t understand you.
Don’t victimize yourself by the way you look.
2) This Is The Best Time
One day you will grow old, work and have a family, hopefully, but you won’t have time. This is your time to explore your talents, work on them and make sure your perfect them. This is the time that won’t come back.
Make your present something you talk about in the future.
3) Be Strong
If you hate something, but you do it habitually, it is your fault. If you don’t like being fat, don’t eat. If you don’t like being skinny, eat.
But don’t cry about something you are not doing.
4) You’re Not The Only One
Deep down inside, you are not the only one who feels bad about something or what the others are saying. Trust me, we all do.
If you want to talk, I am here.
5) Life Is Beautiful
Life is beautiful; you are just looking out the wrong window. Sometimes when you focus on dirt, that is all you see.
There are many who care about how you feel, focus on them.
6) If He Says He Loves You Forever, Think Twice
If he gets drunk, tells you he loves you and wants to be with you forever. Trust me, sweetheart, that is just a load of you know what.
7) Stay Away From Closed Minds
Some people do not have the capacity to think beyond their lipstick, trust me, at a point, that was me. You must remember that you are the people you surround yourself with.
8) Discover a Talent and Push It
(This Better Not Be in a Hospital)
You are talented, but you might not know what you are talented in just yet. Experiment, explore and be a free bird who can do whatever she likes too. Be productive and thoughtful. Once you discover it, make sure you achieve the most at it.
9) Don’t Regret
I know I would never be able to make your life perfect or seize you from exploring but if you ever you do something and you hate yourself for it, don’t. Just don’t regret it. Move on, make it better and make yourself comfortable with it.
10) Start Writing
There will come a point where you will never confide in anyone. You know it. So, you have the most time to start writing your thoughts, or like mommy, you can share it with the world like this. There are people who are interested in what you say; you just need to find them.
11) Don’t Be Afraid
You are not weak or inferior to anyone. You might not have the money, the car, the friends, the lifestyle or the necessities but as long as you dream big and think big, there is nothing in this world that can stand against you and stop you from achieving your goals!
12) Always Listen to Your Mommy! … (Just Kidding)!
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Featured Image Courtesy: Flickr via Benjamin Balázs (www.flickr.com/photos/brenkee/)
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