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7 Truths I Wish I Could Tell My Teenage Self.

West Yorkshire, UK 23/01/2017
When I was in primary school I once cried because my mum put an egg mayonnaise sandwich in my lunch box. I was adamant that having such a smelly sandwich would make everyone fall out with me and I'd have no mates. I didn't want to offend anyone with the stench of my sandwich and so I refused to eat it. Instead, I burst into tears because my mum had packed me such a smelly (yet delicious) sandwich that was guaranteed to make all my friends laugh at me, mark the end of my party invites to Adventure Island and ensure my whole school experience went up in flames.

Completely unrelated but bomb selfie.
I cried so dramatically that I had to be calmed down by the headteacher and sedated with a pack a Haribo. Why was I so upset about and egg and cress sarnie? Because I was a really dumb and sensitive child. What does this story have to do with anything? Well, besides being an obvious bit of filler for my introduction, it perfectly illustrates the people-pleasing stupidity of young Rebecca.

Though I've not cried over an egg mayonnaise sandwich since (a ploughman's now that's another story), I did continue to cry, and worry, and fret over what over people thought of me. That's why today's "7 truths" tend to be focused aorund other people. Here's 7 things I wish I could tell my teenage self:

Question everything and never stop. 

You'll be surprised at how many of the personal ideologies you hold so dearly aren't actually yours at all. Instead, they're just the opinions of others or the norms of society that you've just blindly accepted. Question it all. Explore it all. Research it all. Inform your own beliefs. Curate your own viewpoints. You're too smart to just go along with it.

Remember that opinions are just that, opinions. 

It honestly doesn't matter that those girls on the bus think your crimped hair looks stupid. In 3 years you'll realise that their opinion has fuck all bearing on your life. No one's opinion does because they are meaningless. Opinions require limited knowledge and understanding. They hold no accountability. They are, in actuality, pretty redundant. Most people's opinions won't affect the world one little bit. So don't get too strung up on them. They literally mean naff all. 

Your beauty is not derived from how desirable people find your body. 

You need to stop seeking validation from how attractive you are to men. Dave from sixth form said he'd "shag you senseless?" Don't feel secretly smug, that's not a compliment (and not just because being shagged into unconsciousness is rapey as shit.) That acquaintance who's last name you don't even know he doesn't think yer fit? That's not an insult. How sexually appealing men find you has nothing to do with how beautiful or "fit" you actually are. You have a lot more going for you than your looks. Don't let society tell you different.

You can't fight for everyone.  

Don't try carry that burden. Having empathy is an admirable trait but you can't let it consume you. It's one thing to feel sad for someone going through trauma, it's another to still be thinking about it a week later. If you can't do anything to help, you need to let it go. You can't be weighed down with everyone else's issues as well as your own. It's hard, but you need to close the door on it.

Don't spread yourself thin trying to please people. 

Because spoiler alert: you can't. There is always someone who isn't satisfied with what you give them. There's always someone who wants more more more. Tough shit to them cos you'll soon stop giving it to them. You can't survive by doing things for other people all of the time. You'll wear yourself out. Then what good are you to anyone? Plus, people can be arses. If you aren't careful, that one-off bit of paperwork you did for Babs one week will have become covering for the entire staff floor by this time next year. Choose how you spend your time wisely.

Most people will never change. 

There's nothing you can do about that. The man in the pub who has extremely problematic views on rape? Soz bright eyes, but he's not going to change his viewpoints anytime soon. Why? Cos it's much easier to stick to what you know than explore other ways of thinking. As the saying goes, you can't grow when you're comfortable & trust me, lots of people don't want to grow. So don't waste your energy trying to force them too. Circle back to point two and let those opinions go straight through one ear and out the other. A bit like the shitty verbal diarrhea that comes out their mouth.

Not everyone will like you but that's not your fault. 

Some people just don't mesh well together. That's fine. You don't need to tone anything down, or change anything, or go the extra mile to ensure their approval. They don't like you. So what. Move on. I can guarantee that the reasons they don't like you, are the reasons why other people love you.

What would you tell your younger self?

1 comment

  1. Ah I really needed this!! I'm 16 right now and I feel like I can relate to everything you've said. Thank you so much

    Hannah xx