Recently on my favorite local radio show they were discussing Wil Wheaton’s new book or book idea. If you could go back in time and talk to your 12 year old self, what would you tell yourself? I’ve been thinking of this quite a bit and have found myself actually wishing I could do this. If it were possible, I would go back in time and tell my 12 year old self the following:
1.) You are not fat. You developed early and your friends have not yet caught up with you. The reason you feel fat and big and huge is because you have a woman’s body while your friends are still in little girls’ bodies. Just be patient and wait. In 2 or 3 years, you will be back in amongst similarly shaped friends, though from now on, you will notice the differences more so than the similarities. Just try not to fixate on them. You may not feel normal but you are.
2.) Don’t spend so much time trying to please people…especially those you consider popular. Instead, cultivate the friendships with the people who are naturally drawn to you. Be your own person. Do what pleases you. Do what you have fun doing. Don’t be afraid to try new things, listen to new music, read new books. Reach out and embrace discovery.
3.) When you join the high school newspaper and yearbook staff, join as a photographer instead of as a writer. It will take you farther in the long run and is a heck of a lot more fun.
4.) When you begin to experience deep feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and suicidal thoughts, please do whatever you can to get treatment/therapy. This is called clinical depression and it is something you will battle all of your life. You will do well to do what you can to treat it with whatever treatment is available at the time. You will find it most beneficial while you are at college and in your 20’s.
5.) Try not to be so boy crazy. Dates and boyfriends will come and go but they will not define you. Develop yourself. Travel. Do things you want to do and like to do. Don’t wait for “someone special” to share things with. You will have boyfriends. You will get married. Don’t waste so much time, effort, and energy on crushes, infatuations, and fantasies.
6.) Finish college. Whatever it takes, whatever you do. Finish college. It will be hard, but you can do it.
7.) You can do it. You can do whatever you set your mind to. You can do anything. You are amazing, talented, and fabulous. I know things are hard for you and somewhat confusing, but don’t think that it’s because you are a loser or because of you in any way. It’s just life. Everyone is having a hard time. Some are just better at hiding it. Just remember that you are the best. You are wonderful.
These are the things I would tell my 12 year old self. In fact, I would probably write them down and laminate them for her. If I had had a laminated list like this when I was 12, I wonder how different my life would have turned out to be. Sometimes I wish I could have an “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment when my angel in training shows me my life, but different. Would it be better or just different?