Letter to my high school self

*This was originally posted on my former blog.

Dear Elizabeth,

First of all, you’ve come a long way, but I’m going to start off sounding like a daily horoscope of sorts because I think that if someone had said this to you back then, it would’ve really helped: You might feel trapped in many aspects of your life, but you’re not and you will have options. Even though you’re angry about the lack of opportunities for you right now, it’ll be okay. I know you already constantly say this to yourself when deep down you have no idea whether it’ll actually be okay or not, but I’m telling you: it will.

That being said, I’m sorry to have to warn you that it’s not going to get easier right away. In fact, it gets harder for a while. This might sound harsh to others, but you can handle this because you already know this. Life is fucked up in that way. Some people have to work a lot harder than others to achieve the same goals. You will have to work full-time to pay for college and you will miss out on living on campus, traveling abroad, and joining sororities like you wanted; it will take you twice as long to get a Bachelor’s degree because you just can’t afford it; you won’t have a quiet space to do homework while you’re living with your parents, so it will be difficult to concentrate; you won’t have a car for a really long time, so you’ll have to take public transportation or have your parents give you rides and you’ll hate it; you’ll start chugging energy drinks because coffee just won’t do it anymore; because you’re so determined to be a “typical” college student, you’ll try to have it all by attempting to balance work, college, and a social life—you’ll be completely exhausted; you will feel alone when you don’t have anyone close to reach out to with your questions because you’re the oldest and the first one to go to college; you’ll meet people in similar situations who just couldn’t take it anymore and quit college, so you’ll try to motivate them, but deep down, you’ll wonder if you should quit, too; you will continue to feel pressured to defy the statistics you were bombarded with in high school; you will cry in the shower as you wonder why the fuck you’re even doing this anymore, but then you’ll take a deep breath and get ready for work; and, you’ll be so fucking tired beyond belief—both physically and mentally—that you’ll want to quit several times, but you’ll keep going and you will achieve your goals.

I’m not telling you this to discourage you. I’m telling you because you need to know that you’re a badass bitch. Even in high school, you’re already stronger than a lot of people. That sense of hopelessness and frustration that you’re feeling will go away and it will manifest itself into the positive energy that keeps you going. You’re resilient as fuck.

And you know what else? After dealing with all that shit, you’ll develop a dark sense of humor and honestly, it’s way more fun than having a regular sense humor.

I know you’re feeling awkward and self-conscious right now, but trust me: you’re not ugly, fat, or stupid and for fuck’s sake you’re not going to die alone. Oh, and don’t take dating advice from Mom. People normally say things like, “Mom was right,” and “I should’ve listened to my parents,” but not in this case. The idea of meeting the “one” on the very first try and living happily ever after is a fantasy. It does happen to some, but for the most part, it’s bullshit. (Don’t be too hard on her, though. It’s all she knows and think about how she was raised and how difficult that must’ve been.) You can have more than one boyfriend in your lifetime. It doesn’t make you a slut no matter what anyone says. So, be picky! If you don’t like someone, it’s okay to leave. Hook up with the hot guy, date around, make a serious commitment to someone. Do whatever you want. As long as you stay true to yourself and no one is getting hurt, it’s all good. By the way, no one should ever make you feel uncomfortable, try to change you, or pressure you into doing anything that you don’t want to do—listen to your gut feeling.

This next one is hard for me to think about again, but it’s really important that you don’t listen to your parents’ fucked up criticisms. I know you hate them right now and trust me, I’m stressing out just thinking about it again, but I think they mean well. I think they’re just scared and they don’t know how to express themselves in a loving way, so they do so by yelling, criticizing, and lowering the already fragile self-esteem of their teenage daughter…oh God, that’s awful. Just wait until you get to college. The shit really hits the fan then…ugh. What was I saying again? Oh, right, they brought you to this country because they wanted a better life for you, not so you could fuck it all up by becoming a single, teenage mom with no education. I think that in their own fucked up way, they’re really just trying to encourage you to go to college and follow your dreams. For now, just lay low for a while until after college when it gets better.

Embrace your “weirdness.” Don’t be ashamed of your obsession with LOTR. Seriously, it’s cool to be into that sort of thing now. But also, stop Googling Orlando Bloom and do your damn homework. I know you’re excited because you have a computer now, but c’mon, you know how to do basic coding to edit your MySpace page, but not how to double-space your essays on Word? Get it together.

I will advise you, however, to continue learning how to code because it’ll help you find a job in the future—unless it involves pre-calc because…

Fuck pre-calc and take a fun class instead. Spoiler alert: you’re going to fail this class anyway. Instead of fucking up your GPA with this class, explore creative classes. Maybe take journalism or art.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to speak up even if it means getting the wrong answer because here’s another spoiler: no one knows what the fuck they’re talking about. Like, even most adults have no fucking clue what they’re doing. We’re all just faking it til we make it and luckily, that’s acceptable nowadays.

Besides, your fear of getting in trouble will slowly fade away because you’ll realize that it’s not that bad and you’ll also just get better at not getting caught. Like later in your early 20s when you’re baked out of your fucking mind and a cop pulls you guys over, so you totally nail talking your way out of it—or at least, you think you do because you have no idea what you actually said, but the point is that he let you go. Or, later after that when you wake up at a friend’s house after a party and you have to go straight to work only to find out that you’re still a little drunk when you get there and the manager hears you say that to a coworker, but he doesn’t say anything because you’re just so fucking good at your job.

I think the moral of the story here is: be really good at your job. No, not really (sort of).

Look, you’re going to have a lot of difficult times, but you’re also going to have a lot of fun times. Just because life isn’t exactly the way you imagined, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and lead a “normal” life. Besides, this “normal” human being that you’re striving to be is boring. Fuck everyone else and be you. One of your many talents includes staying positive and following your dreams even when life gets a little shitty.

Sincerely,

28-year-old You

P.S. You go from a B to a DD in college, fuck yeah!

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