Dear 16-Year-Old Kendall,
I know that you’re strong-willed and stubborn, because I’m strong-willed and stubborn, but please allow me to drop some knowledge without rolling your eyes or dismissing my words simply because you think I don’t get it. I know things, and when you’re my age, you’ll know them too.
There is nothing wrong with wanting people to like you, but don’t waste your energy on trying to be amenable to people who don’t care. There will always be people who don’t like you for some reason or another, who are unkind to you and treat you like you don’t matter. You can’t change the way people treat you, but you can change the way you react to it. Once you learn to brush off the haters like dandruff from your shoulder (not your dandruff, of course… you have a great head of hair), life will seem a lot brighter and you’ll appreciate people’s kindness even more.
In that same vein, don’t bother dating anyone who doesn’t think you’re the bee’s knees. Don’t put up with men who laugh at you instead of with you, don’t put up with men who prefer you to be stupid, don’t put up with men who have no regard for your beautiful heart. Don’t put up with second-class treatment for fear of being alone. You’re better off alone if not being adequately loved and appreciated is the only alternative.
Yes, you cry a lot. You’re an emotional person. Try your best not to be self-conscious about it. The people who matter won’t care, and more often than not, they’ll find it endearing.
Don’t be afraid to ask knowledgeable people about the dos and don’ts of drinking. Yes, you may look uncool for a second, but you’re a late bloomer, so get over it. You’ll save yourself a lot of embarrassment and puking if you figure out the rules beforehand.
Diets are stupid and obsessively weighing yourself is pointless. You’ll never be as thin as you want to be, and diets will mess up your stomach for the rest of your life. Not worth it. When you reach the point where you’re truly happy with your life, your weight will cease to concern you.
You will never be happiest as a stay-home mom, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself it’s the truth. You’re intelligent and creative and you may not realize it yet, but you want to do substantive work that will utilize those traits. Don’t ignore that voice in your head. You have a great deal more to offer the world than simply your biological ability to make another life.
I know you take yourself very seriously, but please, act like an ass in public every once in a while and don’t give a damn about what other people think of you. You’ve got all the time in the world to be a respectable adult. You’ll find a lot of joy in moments where you do what you want and let go of the crippling fear that you’re being judged. Having fun and being goofy is important, so don’t neglect it.
Be you, and don’t apologize for it. Ever.
Love you girl,
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?