I turned 22 ten days ago and before that, I’ve come to various realisations about life as a whole. I feel 2014 brought me to a good place in many ways, but I’ll leave the details of that for a later date. If I’m honest, I don’t think I’m old enough to write this list in its truest form, because as individuals we keep on growing, whilst on a continuous learning platform. So I will probably re-adjust this list in 10 years time, as there will be more things that I wish I knew as a teenage girl. Here goes!
1. Being Shy Is Not A Bad Thing. You may not be confident enough to speak in front of your class, you may get nervous whilst giving said class presentations, you may even back out of events similar to the sort, because you know it involves things that take you out of your comfort zone. There’s nothing to worry about, because as you grow older it will pass, just as long as you make an effort to work at it. It is something that you chip away at little by little. There will be friends of yours that have motor mouth and you might be the complete opposite, but as I said, baby steps is all you need.
2. Don’t Start Shaving Your Legs Before Your Time. You will regret this. Once you shave what you THINK is visible hair, it never stops growing back. Plus no one likes the inevitable ingrown hair. Just don’t do it. (Not everyone is the same, as I know many races grow a lot more hair than others and at a faster rate. But this is what I, as a black girl wish I knew). My leg hair was seriously nothing to write home about, and then I went and shaved it. -_-
3. People Are JUST People. I cannot stress this point enough. Don’t be scared to speak up to people who have upset you or wronged you. You may see them as bigger than you or having a not-so-friendly demeanour and unapproachable attitude, but they are not animals. Rest assured that they won’t bite. Seriously, at the end of the day they have the same 2 eyes, 10 fingers, 1 nose… as you, they are humans just like you and I, so there is absolutely nothing to be scared of. This point goes for teachers as well. If you don’t understand something, ask. No matter how many times you have to get it explained to you, ask. That is what they are there for. When asking for something you would like, the worst thing people can say is ‘no’, but you wouldn’t know that if you didn’t ask.
4. Listen To Your Mother. Okay, so the girl reading this is probably thinking ‘yeah right, you’re only saying that because you’re sort of, kind of an adult now’. But no, that isn’t why. I say this because I speak the truth and nothing but the truth. Just listen to a lot of things that comes out of your mom’s mouth and you will regret less in life. It’s as simple as that. I was not a disobedient child, nor was I a renegade, but I know I defied at times and felt that I was right. And yes, sometimes you ARE right, but girl, those times are ever so rare when you’re young. When your parents say they’ve lived, that’s because they genuinely have, so they hold more knowledge of what the world is talking about than you do.
5. Don’t Kill Yourself Over A Subject. School is important and I know that. But sometimes you need to take a couple steps back and realise that you aren’t doing as bad as you think. I remember stressing over Mathematics like it was the be all and end all of life. In my secondary school here in England, (I attended two, long story) I was in the set just above the bottom set for Mathematics, for 2 years in a row and I used to feel like a dumbass. I would cry in private AND public. I can’t even lay all the blame on Maths; I’ve got to share it with Chemistry and Business Studies. Like I knew what it meant to breakeven, but could I always draw the graph or find the point? Nope. Back to Maths (the bane), I enjoyed Pythagoras Theorem and I always knew how many apples John was left with, but till today I still don’t know the value of X and frankly, I don’t care. Bottom line is, look at me know, happy and doing what I love. Some people are Mathematicians and some people aren’t. Give me an Emily Bronte novel and I will dissect it into little perfect pieces for you. But seriously, enjoy School and do your best, but it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t good at something everyone else seems to be good at. Take it easy
6. Accept Yourself As You Are. Everyone has different body hang-ups and mine is my skin. I spent years and still now, analysing my skin and complaining about my easily scarring skin. If I get a pimple, regardless of if I touch it or not, when it eventually goes, it leaves a mark. So I have several of those marks on my face. My mom has the same type of skin and had it much worse when she was younger. My two older brothers and my dad don’t -_- (How unfair, the BOYS got the good skin!) Sucks to be my mom and me right? No it doesn’t. The quote Things Aren’t As Bad As They Seem works well in so many life situations and this is one of them. When I think about it, there are people with much worse skin conditions than me, and I bet they would give anything to have skin that scars easily! Basically, complaining and whinning is a waste of time. My mom says they will fade with time and I believe they will with a consistent skin care routine. Being perfectly honest, it still bothers me from time to time, but I don’t care as much as I used to. We can’t all have Lupita Nypngo’s skin…
7. Don’t Be A Sheep. There is never an excuse to do stuff because other people are doing it. Don’t be part of the herd and instead, just do what you feel is right. By all means, if you feel that what others are doing and saying are right, then join in the action and conversation. But deep down if you know it isn’t something that sits well with you, politely excuse yourself from the situation. You don’t owe anybody anything. I know at a young age peer pressure is huge, and you don’t want to feel ‘left out’ but as I look back, I think to myself: ‘left out of WHAT exactly?!’ As kids you always anticipate things and hype them up so much more than they are, but my mom always said to my brothers and I ‘If they jump off a cliff would you do the same?’ Of course you wouldn’t, things aren’t always as exciting as they seem. Do the right thing. Be the Shepherd, not the sheep.
8. Friends Come And Go. Friends come and go and the sooner you realise that, the better off you will be. Sometimes it is due to distance, it is due to time or it is due to arguments. It could literally be anything, but those are all normal things that occur in life. As a side note: Remember, “Don’t Burn Bridges You May Have To Cross Later In Life.” But if you do burn them because they were THAT bad, then don’t be afraid to swim honey! Haha! Bottom line is, just know that not everyone is going to be your friend and not everyone is going to like you, but eventually you will find the ones who do and you should keep them very close to your heart. I have a couple of those 100% genuine friends and I could not be happier that I found them so early on in my life. Think about it this way, if whatever happened between you and your so called ‘friend’ never happened, then you would be going on with life thinking they were your good friend. Sometimes it’s better when these things happen early on in life.
9. Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy. Please believe me when I say comparison is the genuine thief of joy. You start comparing yourself to others and you get yourself down and upset. Don’t. Don’t be comparing yourself with what they have or what they can do that you can’t etc., and realise that there are probably qualities you have that they wish they had too. You just don’t see it that way, because you keep focusing on what you don’t have rather than appreciating what you do have. I rarely did it when I was younger, but it’s still something that I would think of now and again. Just know that it is a big confidence killer, so don’t waste your time on it. Learn to be your own person, then you can develop into the great person you want to be.
10. Tears Are Not A Sign Of Weakness. Just let them roll. Let them roll down your pretty face because there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It is not a sign of weakness or a sign that you did whatever you’re being accused of. So you’re telling me that I ate the last piece of cake because I’m crying? Please! Perhaps I’m crying because I hate being shouted at with an accusatory tone! (That didn’t actually happen to me, it’s merely an example).
I cry when I’m angry, sad, telling an emotional story, e.t.c. Whenever I was on the verge of crying, my close friends knew, because I would blink uncontrollably to try and push them back in. That tactic would have worked; if by this blinking stage, everyone else’s eyes weren’t already on me. So yes, they rolled down. I also used to tilt my head back to the ceiling in an attempt to push them back, but then when my eyes came down from the ceiling, everyone was staring and then they rolled again. As a side note to those who witness people that are on the verge of tears, can I just ask you all to NOT ask ‘OMG Girl, Please Don’t Cry.’ or ‘Are You Okay? or ‘Are You Crying?’ Seriously what does you asking any of those concerned questions do for us cryers? It greatly multiplies the speed at which our tears will pour out. Do us a favour and pretend you didn’t see us about to cry. Trust me, you don’t know how much you would be helping by doing that.
That’s All Folks!