A little while back, I was thinking about all these sweet, impressionable girls currently residing on the Wonderful World Wide Web. I thought about my younger cousins, I thought about the daughters I might have one day and what I would want them to know. Finally, I also thought about myself: Some things I wish I had known sooner. This is that advice.
1. What someone says about you says more about them than it does about you.
Take it from someone who has bad-mouthed and who has been bad-mouthed. Talking about someone else relieves you from taking a look at yourself. It’s a good distraction from your own shit and often a technique to make people feel better about themselves. It’s stupid, but it works.
Make no mistake, though: This goes both ways. Next time you want to say something mean about someone, figure out why you want to say it. This might make things interesting and make you grow.
2. Whatever goes wrong, it’s never the end of the world.
That fight with your friend, that dispute with the teacher, that embarassing rumor, the break-up, the bad grade or the pound you gained over your vacation? Not the end. You’ll live. Things will get better. Things will change. Always.
3. You are always allowed to say ‘no’ at ANY POINT DURING INTIMACY.
No matter how much you like him, how much you have flirted with him, and how you did kiss him back at first and how you responded to his initial advances: It is NOT okay when he takes it further than you are willing to go. The moment you decide this is it, he has to respect that and cease all fire. Just because you enjoyed flirting and making out, you are not obligated to do anything, okay?
Cut it short the moment you become uncomfortable. Your body. You decide. If he doesn’t respect that, you’re dealing with someone who either is crazy with hormones (it happens) or a jackass. Probably the latter, so just to be safe: Move away.
4. Be careful with your brain.
You’re currently in a period where all sort of crazy and very important developments are going on in your brain in terms of neurons and neural pathways. It would be such a shame if you fuck that whole process up by doing things you’ll regret.
DON’T fuck it up by drinking until you’re Lindsay Lohan-wasted every weekend. DON’T destroy more than can be repaired by binge drinking or doing drugs. You only get one brain and the more useable it is, the better throughout the rest of your life.
5. Sometimes relationships end. That’s okay.
The guy who is your dream prince and prom king right now might not be the guy you end up buying a stationwagon and a labrador with. The girl you’re friends with in kinder garten might not be your maid of honor.
I don’t mean to sound like you’re jaded, bitter aunt, but if there is one thing I have seen that sometimes things change in a relationship as people grow or get older. If it’s no longer a functional relationship that makes you really happy and your ideas of the future are too different, it’s okay to let someone go (with love and respect, preferably).
6. Dress to your body and coloring too, not just style and trends.
I much rather see a cute girl in clothes that suit her body type and her coloring than someone in jeans that are too tight and wearing a blouse that makes her look sickly and dull.
Some colors work for your skin tone, hair and eyes: they make everything pop. If you dress accordingly, both you and the clothes come together in a gorgeous, unique ensemble. You will thank me later when you look in the mirror and your look more beautiful and put together than ever.
7. Keep reading.
The biggest mistake I ever made was replacing my habit of reading 3+ books a week by Mindless and Endless Internet Intake. Grab a book and turn off the Wi-Fi every once in a while. it will help you keep your focus when you need to study and stuff. Which you will have to do. Stay in school girls.
8. Relationships are not (just) as portrayed on Disney and Tumblr.
I worry about a whole generation of young girls who have grown up with all these idealistic pictures on the Internet and television shows about how a relationship should be. Like you’re always going to be Cinderella and the Prince, Marissa and Ryan or Blair and Chuck or Rory and Amy*.
Sweetie, when you’re in a relationship with a cute boy who has great qualities and let’s not forget, whose lesser qualities are tolerable and non-threatening to both you and him, but there still are days that aren’t Romantic Movie Montage Material: Don’t be alarmed. This is normal. It’s called Real Life.
Sometimes your romantic life is just waking up together, having a normal day and then going to bed together at night. As long as you can do that together without being unhappy, you’re fine.
9. Learn to compliment instead of complain.
I’m not the Complain Police, okay? I think if you can do it every once in a while, with a little joke, nothing wrong with a comedic remark about something that sucks. Sometimes it makes you feel better. But being around someone who complains all the time? Not fun. Energy draining. Quite frankly, a little repulsive in the literal sense of the world: It will drive people away from you. Instead, be happy with the great grilled cheese. Compliment your best friend’s hair or shoes. Make a genuine remark about the good of that day. It’s attractive.
10. Accept that you’re responsible for the things you do.
If there is one thing that makes you sound weak it’s blaming other people or things for your own behavior. You don’t get a bad grade because your teacher sucks. Even if your teacher sucks, you still could have studied to make up for the damages, right? You got a bad grade because you didn’t study. So you started a fight and pulled out a girl’s hair because she gave you a mean look? Um, that’s still horrible of you, not her. Calm the fuck down, Thug Barbie.
Your actions are your choices, no matter who or what provoked you. Choose wisely, because whatever you do always ends up on your own record, not that of another person.
*Bonus points if you got that reference.