Seen a few of these posts floating around and really enjoyed reading them, because I'm a SHAMELESS NOSEY PARKER. So here's what I'd tell my teenage self if I had the chance...
Lighten up. I know you've invested a bit in this whole emo/mosher thing and you like feeling you belong to a "scene", but get over yourself a bit. You're not as hard as you pretend to be, and you're pushing people away by looking so miserable. You have a pretty smile, you've just had those awful braces off, remember? Show your teeth. You have lots to be happy about. Also, look people in the eye when you talk to them.
Don't cut a fringe in. *See above.* Trust me, you'll only grow to hate it and have to get up half an hour earlier in the mornings to wash and straighten it. It becomes the bane of your life and ruins literally hundreds of otherwise-acceptable photos. In fact, stop fannying about with your hair in general. Your Dad is right to be appalled, you cannot carry off bright pink.
Don't be so easily led. You know what I'm talking about, right? Just cos everyone else is saying they're doing it, they're really not, and even if they are, YOU don't have to. If you don't like drinking, not really, not deep down, then stop. It makes you sloppy and silly and sad. You're too young yet, just wait a while.
Try harder in the subjects you like but feel like you're crap in, like art and history and biology. You're not crap, you're just not trying hard enough. Just because you know you can coast along in English doesn't mean you should take your foot off the gas elsewhere. Don't restrict yourself. And don't be such a smug git about English either. One day you'll fail an essay at Uni and THEN you won't feel so clever.
Take care of your friendships. You do a pretty good job of this already but it doesn't hurt to put a bit more effort it. Try and be social even if you don't feel like it. Let your friends into your head. Don't be a wallflower when it matters - if shady stuff is going down, call it out. Trust me, those that count stick around and those that don't fall by the wayside. Don't waste time on those that won't matter in a few years.
Be kinder to the people who care about you. Be careful, you will cause damage to relationships that are hard and maybe impossible to heal. Your friends and family love you and want you to be the best version of yourself you can be. No one is perfect and even those who should know better will make horrible, stupid mistakes, but we're all human, and you'd expect compassion too. Try and be forgiving. Listen to and take the advice of the grown ups who look after your interests. They're right.
Be kinder to yourself. Internally and externally. You are funny and intelligent and empathetic and generous and imaginative... you have so many amazing qualities to offer everyone around you. Why did you bury this? Dig it up, say it aloud, believe it. Hurting yourself hurts the people who love you - see previous point. Some things are out of your control - you're still a kid and making mistakes and getting lost is OK. It's not your fault. You will find yourself in horrible situations, and that's OK. Everything you do and feel is valid, and you have lots of people around you who care about you enough to pull you out of the holes you get into, if you'd only let them. Forgive yourself, you are worthy of love. You're NOT weak, you're strong, so dust yourself off and start acting like it.
Turn off the telly and read more. Kerrang doesn't count, I mean books.
You don't need to wear those horrendous mini-kilts, boob-choobs and black lipstick to be noticed. You're the skinniest you'll ever be so show it off if you want, but don't wear that trashy crap and then moan about the lecherous boys you attract. Be smarter than that, you're worth more. See "Be kinder to yourself."
Don't be so naive. I know you still believe the best in people though you pretend to be more cynical than that. But a bit of realism, please. The boys you're wasting time on are stupid and selfish and WILL hurt you. You're not going to fall in love yet, be patient.
Don't give up dancing. It's the only hobby you stuck with since primary school and you're better at it than you admit to yourself. And I KNOW you really like it, stop pretending you don't! Get over your shyness and push to the front. Just remember to wear a FLESH COLOURED bra and pants for Tubular Bells or else everyone gets to see your undies! You do NOT find it funny.
Everything will turn out good in the end. Remember what your Mum always says - this too will pass. You pass your highers, make it to uni and start a whole new chapter of your life, the best one so far. Everything is cool, YOU'RE cool. Actually, I think you're pretty awesome. Give yourself a big huge break.
So... Yeah. I've been sitting with this drafted for ages but I felt really weird about posting it since I couldn't really make it funny or flippant or whatever. I'd have LIKED to, but when I sat down and imagined what I'd actually tell my teenage self if I really had the chance, this is honestly what I'd say. It felt disingenuous to pretend otherwise.
I had a fairly bog-standard teenage experience up until about 14/15 and then things began to head off track for a while. Being a teenager is bloody difficult. I picked things back up and the rest is history really, but it's been therapeutic to imagine what advice I'd give myself looking back, knowing what I know now.
It's also made me realise that at 25 there are still so many things I have NO IDEA how to do, in practically every area of my life. How great would it be if the 35-year-old me could give 25-year-old me a call and dispense the kind of advice I could really do with just now, eh?
Meh. Nothing like a bit of naval-gazing for a humpday afternoon. What are the things you'd tell your teenage self?