As I write this I am listening to the Jonas Brothers, which only seems appropriate since 15 year old me was convinced that one of them would be my husband one day — specifically Nick.
I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time but have struggled with where to begin. I think we can all agree, that if given the chance to sit down with our younger selves and offer some sound advice, we would jump at the chance. But I also wrestle with the realization that the pain and heartbreak we go through in our developmental stages of life prepares us for future situations.
I have so much to say to younger me, it’s hard to know where to begin, navigating the tough waters of reflecting on my teenage years and not wanting to change the experience entirely.
There have been times in my life where all I wanted to do was warn younger me of certain people, circumstances, etc. To go back in time and change situations, avoid certain people, but now as an adult I’ve come to realize those experiences developed me into the woman I am today. They have given me my wisdom, my courage, and my strength.
However, I do have a few notes I wish I could pass along to younger me…some comical, some more life-giving.
First we’ll start off on a light note…
You’re 15, you’re so young and have so much life ahead of you. Life right now is not the end all be all.
First, let’s go ahead and get something out of the way. You are probably hoping that by 26 you’d be married…well I hate to burst your bubble but you’re single as a pringle girlfriend. But let me let you in on a secret… you have plenty of time. You’re good and actually enjoy being single. You will be invited to a LOT of weddings and you will be in a LOT of weddings, but your life is not the movie “27 Dresses” I promise. You get rid of the dresses, you don’t hoard them and use up precious closet space with them like a grade-A lunatic.
Second, invest in a wide tooth comb and EMBRACE YOUR CURLY HAIR. Stop brushing it out, you are making it worse. Ignore the boys who say your hair is ugly, or the girls who constantly ask you why you don’t straighten it. Invest in some good curly hair products, learn how to use a diffuser, I promise you will thank me later. Oh, and stop cutting your hair short. Just stop it. You will never have a cute straight bob, we need to embrace that fact and move on!
Third. PUT THE TWEEZERS DOWN. STOP GETTING YOUR EYEBROWS WAXED. Seriously if they get any thinner they might as well be invisible. Just put them down. I still can’t believe that 7th grade you took a razor to them and they still grew back. You are lucky to even have brows. Thank the sweet Lord for that extra testosterone in your body. Again, you’re welcome in advance.
Fourth. Sorry, back to hair one more time. Do not go to your hair stylist with a photo of Whitney Port and ask her to dye your hair blonde. Listen, I know all you want in life at this moment is to be on The Hills, but you are from a tiny town in the Texas Hill Country and the hair stylist in your town has no business touching your hair with hair dye. You will not look like Whitney Port, you will look like a lemon. Like a literal lemon.
Now aside from cosmetics, let’s discuss what really matters — your heart.
Let. The. Boy. Go.
I could say that 100 more times and it would not lose its importance.
You know who I am talking about, and his behavior isn’t going to change, it will only get worse. He pursues you in secret, like something he needs to hide. He gaslights you and manipulates you. The moments you share with him are not good for you. He is dehumanizing you. He is leading you on.
He isn’t going to wake up one day and begin pursuing you like you deserve. You will always be second best in his eyes and that is unacceptable. It will be extremely painful, like experiencing the death of a loved one…but you have to let him go. I’m telling you now, even if you have the hardest time believing it, you deserve so much better.
Trust me when I say, boys will come and go, but do not let it change the way you see yourself. You are worth so much more than you know. You are worth far more than you even can comprehend. You aren’t fully aware of it now, but you have dark demons inside that want you to believe your life has no value — do not listen to them. They lie to you! They have lied to you for years and you cannot listen to them.
The boys around you will tell you that because you’re a girl you aren’t as smart, or as bright, or as funny, or as athletic as them…and let me tell you something. That is pure and utter bull****. Don’t give into the patriarchy surrounding you. They are boys, threatened by you. You are smart, brilliant, witty, and do not listen to the people around you who tell you the opposite.It’s as simple as that.
When you feel worthless, lean into Christ. Your faith is your constant and will continue to be the one constant in your life. You are still learning and developing your relationship with God, but remember that when you fall into the deepest darkness, He is the one who will and can rescue you.
My second to last piece of advice is this:
It sounds simple, yet so complex for women of all ages to understand and put into practice. At 15 it feels like everyone’s opinion but your own is fact. In fact, your opinion seems to be the “wrong” one to listen to. It seems like your own opinion is only critical, never uplifting, when in reality the only opinion that matters is your own. Confidence is KEY. You have no reason at all to not be confident. When the males around you question your confidence and excuse you of arrogance, do NOT listen to them. Confidence and arrogance are not the same thing, and in a world/high school where you feel like the last thing you can be is confident — BE CONFIDENT.
And my last piece of advice is a big one for you.
Do NOT take your healthy able body for granted. You are NOT fat. You do not need to starve yourself. Please eat. Eat the foods you want, the foods that give you energy, and remember food is GOOD. Your body is a sacred creation and starving it or abusing it will never satisfy you. I so wish I could give you a big hug and tell you it is all going to be ok. Being 15 is HARD. Heck, being a woman is hard. I want to tell you how much I love you. You truly are amazing.
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and observe myself as a 15 year old. Tap her on the shoulder and whisper wisdom in her ear to help her in different situations. But there is a reason time travel doesn’t exist. There is a reason God doesn’t let us go back in time and “fix” certain situations and experiences. Without those experiences and situations, we would not grow and develop. Growth can be painful but it can also have big rewards — like being 26 and truly knowing where one’s worth and value comes from. What a gift that is.
What would you say to your 15 year old self?