Things I wish I could tell my Teenage Self

Inspired by Stef Metka

For some of us, adolescence can accurately described as a supreme form of torture. Here are some things I would have said to help my teenage self along a bit, given the opportunity for a quick chat.

  1. Boys are people too

Feeling bewildered about why someone you’re interested in hasn’t made an effort to establish that the feelings are mutual? Or worse, he goes after someone else instead of you? Try not to dwell.  And don’t you hate it when a boy acts very interested and then suddenly seems to change his mind? Try not to take it personally.

Teenage boys are just as (if not more) confused, self-conscious, and overwhelmed as you are. They just show it in different ways… So do yourself (and the boys around you) a favour and try not to get caught up in that mess.  Treat the boys around you with kindness and respect.  Empathize with the hard things they’re going through and be there to support them in their dreams and ambitions but try to keep your relationships with the opposite sex limited to healthy and fun friendships.  And no matter how attractive or seemingly mature the boys around you appear to be, remember that they have some serious growing up to do… just like you!  So enjoy them (as friends) and wait until you’re both a little older and mature before allowing yourself to be involved with anyone in a romantic or sexual way.

  1. Your body is in Transition

Your body is doing some crazy things.  Some of us get curves all at once (which makes you feel like you’ve suddenly become obese- or just highly sexualized- overnight) while others carefully stuff their bras and pray for just a few more fat cells to complement their stubbornly angular features.  And of course, we can’t forget acne, bad teeth, braces, retainers, period cramps, and the painfully uncoordinated.

Sound about right?

Please remember through all it that you’re not going to fix any of these things by agonizing over them.  Of course, if there’s anything going on with your body that is causing you great discomfort, and you feel like you should see a doctor about it (ex. Acne, or period cramps), then do so.  But for the most part, all of the above will be smoothed out and made less devastating over time.  Instead of agonizing, look for healthy ways to appreciate the things that you do love about your body.   You don’t have to be good at sports to be doing something physical.  Consider the skill and muscle development it takes for someone to master the piano, to perform a great work of dramatic art, to sing beautifully, or to enjoy a running route.   Whatever thing it is that most interests you, dive in, and use whatever skills you achieve as a means to appreciate the things that your body allows you to do.  And above all, be patient with yourself and remember that, in the long run, focusing on making healthy choices now (mentally, physically, and spiritually) will help you look like the very best version of yourself once the acne is gone and the braces are off.

  1. The girl who seems like she knows it all, doesn’t.

The other day walking out of the library with my son, I stumbled upon a hardened looking senior high school student educating a group of bright-faced up-and-coming high school girls on the ways of the world.  The scene was all too familiar to me.  The older girl used a lot of harsh language to navigate topics such as: “what guys are really like” and “clueless teachers.” I wanted to park myself in the middle of that circle, look each one of them in the eye, and talk with them about virtue and integrity and loving respecting themselves… but the scared little person in me kept walking.  I missed that opportunity, but I’m taking this one.  Find a girl or woman in your life whom you admire for her goodness and honesty, and look for chances to ask her questions and to listen to what she has to say.  This person doesn’t have to be anywhere near your age category either.  For some of us, the best person for this job could be a younger sister who just always seems to have her head on straight or even a loving grandmother.  And don’t forget to pay attention to how different it feels to talk with this very special person than it does talking to girls like the cynical one I met a few days ago.

4.Enjoy being a Teenager and Stop Worrying about trying to be an Adult.

Sometimes we’re so close to achieving something that we forget to enjoy the now.  Love your life. Embrace it.  Being a teenager is hard… but so is being an adult.  So take things one step at a time and don’t hesitate to go after the things that really matter to you.  I’m not talking about a crush or an attempt at popularity.  Do things that REALLY matter.  Achieve things that coincide with the best parts of yourself. And enjoy how amazing it makes you feel.

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Should I get a Boob Job?

Inspired by Bethany Robinson

Remember when everyone had eyelash extensions? I didn’t get them because it seemed like an unnecessary expense… but I found myself feeling a little more self-conscious of my appearance around some circles of women who had hopped on the eyelash band wagon.  Suddenly my regular old eyelashes didn’t quite seem to make the cut.  Because let’s be honest, the fake ones looked kind of fabulous.   How awesome was it that these women could roll out of bed looking hyper-feminine without so much as going near their make-up bags… and when they did whip the make-up bags out, it was like, “Hello Disney princess, Goodbye regular old human.”

I’m now starting to feel similarly about boob jobs.  Especially now that I have a couple of kids, I’m hearing about more and more people in my age category who have either purchased their new and improved breasts, or who have a boob job savings in place for when they’ve finished having kids.  It makes sense to me.  I mean, you just made this huge contribution to society by giving birth to your children, and doing so left your breasts looking particularly sub-par, so why shouldn’t you at least get that part of yourself back?  And even though your husband loves you the way you are, isn’t it only fair to both of you that he should be able to enjoy your body in its’ more perfect form?  And since it’s pretty expensive, you don’t want to be wasteful by going back to an A or B cup.  You should probably go up to at least a C or a D, because you want to look good in clothes too, don’t you?   Especially if you’re a fit person, you should have the boobs that you want, because you’ve worked so hard (or have been lucky enough) to be able to maintain your body throughout pregnancy. Besides, as far as surgery’s go, the risks are pretty minimal.

Am I right girls?

These are the arguments that I hear from myself and other women (and even my husband while attempting to comfort me) on a regular basis.  But despite how convincing they sound to someone who’s feeling insecure after pregnancy and breastfeeding, I can’t get rid of that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear them. I think sometimes what I really want to hear instead is that I look amazing because I look real.  I want to hear that my children look better beside me than any bit of perfectly shaped silicone or saline ever could. I want to hear that I should stop being insecure and be more adoring of the body that allows me to do everything that I do each day and still dream to accomplish even more.  I want to hear that I should celebrate my physical flaws with all of my personal attributes because, from them, I learn acceptance (And how can I be accepting of others when I don’t accept myself?)  I want to hear that my body is strong; that my body is capable. I want to hear that when I’m old, I can still love my body, just like I can love it after having children.

Everyone loves the feminist message in Disney’s Frozen that “true love” doesn’t have to come from prince charming to break a spell. The love of a sister, in Anna’s case at least, does the trick rather nicely.  So why do I feel like I have to wait for men (and society in general) to be okay with the way my body is before I can be?  Sisters, we’re lying to ourselves if we think this body image thing is out of our control.  Just like foot binding and corsets (historical bodily manipulations that posed health risks and physical limitations for the sake of hyper-feminine beauty), this boob job trend is being supported by women. And it’s not our mothers who sign us up for breast implants for the sake of an advantageous match…  It’s just us.

I hope no woman reading this feels like I’m trying to tell her what to do with her body. I think what you choose to do to make yourself feel beautiful is a personal choice.  But at the very least we can start with affirming each other in the qualities that matter most and focus a little less on the physical.

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