Advice to my 16-Year-Old Self

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This post was inspired by former editor of Vogue Paris, Joan Juliet Buck.

If only you just remembered to always write whenever you strongly felt something, you could be your own life coach. So many problems can be solved once you write it out and reflect. You don't like being sixteen or high school or any of your childhood thus far, really. You dream of having a role model or someone you can trust that can help guide you through these critical years. If only you could hear me; it could easily be you.

First of all, you haven’t had the best or easiest upbringing thus far. It doesn’t get that much better until you leave for college, by the way. Something that took all of your effort and then some to even make happen. Although this isn’t necessarily all your fault, I know. You have no idea where or when to start or what to do or even what you want to pursue. You really don't need all the answers yet. This goes for most of life in general - just start and either way, you will be going forward.

Ignore the bullies in high school. They don't know your story or care to know and that is fine - you aren't ready to tell it anyways. Also, most of them are projecting and don't want to see you succeed. It'll take you a while to realize that this isn't a "cocky" statement, it's just the facts. And that word cocky is just a trend right now in your school, by the way. It's as if everyone just learned it yesterday. Also, it is okay to be confident in your successes. Stop feeling guilty – you put in the work. You've stopped putting in as much work since you've started letting your peers raise you, though. Don’t listen to them, they're kids!

You don’t need to have sex. I know there is pressure coming from all sides, but you don’t need to. In fact, when you do, you won’t even be happy about it. Even though a lot of your peers are doing it or want you to think that - remember, people lie.

Take it easy with the dark eye shadow. It's high school, you don't need a smokey eye for class. Your eyes will become one of your favorite assets about yourself, soon.

Stop thinking once you get out of high school, people will stop offering their unsolicited opinions and judging you. It never stops so just live in the moment so you can avoid the disappointment. Be strong enough to ignore it. With time, it truly will not bother you as much. Only look for advice from the people you genuinely trust and know have your best interest at heart. And don't be surprised that the number is low - having 1-2 trustworthy people is the perfect amount.

Be nice but protect your superpower.

Stop. Fearing. Speaking. Up. In class, when you see injustice, when you know you have been wronged. Speak up! Stop fearing embarrassment too. You are allowed to make mistakes, in fact, you need to in order to grow. Ignore the people that feel the need to point it out every time. You won't even remember them in a couple of years.

Don’t follow the crowd. You are not obligated to, nor are you obligated to stay friends with people just because they want to be your friend, when you see the relationship as toxic. Try harder in these academic clubs you are involved in, even though you are made fun of and most of your friends don’t try at all. Stop letting their insecurities reflect on you. And just change your friend group already.

Ignore the boys. They are immature and have their own agenda. You also are not mature enough to understand how you should be treated or even know what you want. Sadly, you won’t learn this for a while, either. Just focus on school and your beautifully, creative dreams.

How about you start saving that money you're making at your new job? Life could be easier later if you do.

You are beautiful. Stop worrying about your weight, your skin color and tone (when you leave the South, this won't even cross your mind anymore), your hair, your clothes. You are beautiful, and the right guy will see it the right way. Yes, some other guys think you’re attractive, but again, they have their own agenda and it will only make you feel horrible about yourself thus continuing the journey to find a guy that shows you that you deserve better. Tell yourself first. You won’t be able to truly love or truly be loved until you learn to love yourself.

Your life experience thus-far makes you not want to have friends or share anything personal. Try and be a little vulnerable. The right people will surface, and you need that. Also, it will teach you how to read people better in the future.

The South is full of idiots -- not everyone is one but there are a lot. Don’t be like them. Learn and figure things out for yourself. And remember once you do, there are ten other ways to figure it out, too. Basically, you don’t know everything. Stay an open book but also be confident, babe.

No one really knows what they are doing. Everyone is basically in the same position, trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. Remember this, focus on what you want and trust yourself. Because honestly, you know who you are and you know exactly what you want.

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