1. Don't Be Afraid to Like the Things You Like-You like punk & country music. It's okay to like films, Archie comics & fly fishing. It takes all kinds to make this crazy world go 'round. When you get a little older, you'll realize that all these oddly matched interests will make you an interesting, well-rounded person. Just try to pay a little more attention in Accounting class. That's a cool interest, too! And if someone doesn't like you because of something you're interested in? Well, one less person you have to lend your comic books to, I guess.
|Dressed as Josie from Josie & the Pussy Cats during Freshman year|
2. Your Parents Are Not the Enemy-So don't treat them like they are. No matter how mad you get at them. No matter how you feel like they've wronged, disappointed or failed you. Because it doesn't matter how smart you think you are. You have NO idea what it's like to be an adult. Moms & Dads have a lot on their plates that you can't even wrap your head around. They aren't perfect and the sooner you learn that, the sooner you'll be able to cut them some slack. Because you know what? They cut you lots of slack. ALL THE TIME.
3. Get Used to Your Body, Kid. It's the Only One You Have-
Don't dress in boys jeans and sweatshirts all the time. Don't try to disappear into clothes that are too big for you. I know it seems crazy, but in reality they're making you look bigger. Listen to mom when she tells you you're beautiful, because she really sees you; all of you, and at this point, she's a much more reliable opinion than you are.
Listen, you can't force this kind of thing and self-confidence will happen gradually on its own timeline, but just try to remember to ease up on yourself.
|With my brother at an awards ceremony, 16 years old|
4. Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help-
You're truly awful at math & science but you're not stupid. You wouldn't let anyone else talk to you like that, so why do you let yourself? Learning algebra & biology is not impossible and learning these things is absolutely worth your time. Get a tutor or talk to mom. Don't be afraid to work hard and fail. That is the only way you're going to get better.
5. Keep Working On Art-
Keep playing the euphonium. Work on your guitar daily. 29 year old Kimberly would KILL to have your chops. Hold on to the feeling of when you nail a really tough piece. You can't recreate it. Use it, don't lose it. Paint, draw, continue to collage even if no one gets it. You get it, don't you? Don't stop.
6. Don't Worry About What Anyone Thinks of You-
Most of the time people are so caught up in worrying about what people are thinking about them, that they're not even thinking about you.
Pro-tip: People can be mean. High school kids can be downright monstrous. I don't need to tell you. But that is not a reflection of you. Don't let their negativity make you sad, bitter or mean to others. You're not going to like this, but it doesn't really change as you get older. People just get better at hiding it. Focus on being kind. Focus on being generous. Focus on planting gardens rather than stomping on other people's flowers. You'll be happier for it.
Now, the subject of dating: Crushes are fine, but try to stay grounded in reality. Have you ever actually had a conversation with the person you're obsessed with? Do you have anything in common or are you creating a person that you wish liked you? It doesn't do to put real people on pedestals that they can never live up to. You're setting yourself up for failure and them up to fail you. That's not really their fault.
Also "chasing boys/girls" is a misnomer. The real kicker is that the person that is perfect for you tends to show up when you stop looking. Also, you're 18! You have YEARS to think about dating! I'll let you in on a secret; Rick Destree is going to sweep you off of your unsuspecting feet when you're 23. He's going to see you in a way no one else ever did. He's worth the wait. Trust me.
|Playing video games at 17|
7. Do Things On You Own Even if You're Scared Stupid-
Years from now you will be so mad at yourself for missing out on experiences and events because you were too scared to go anywhere your own. Don't wait for mom to speak for you. Don't wait to see what your friends are doing and don't wait for an invitation.
You might say something embarrassing. You might sit by yourself the entire night. Who cares? You also might be miserable for 30 seconds before you meet someone who goes on to be one of your best friends! Who knows what's waiting for you out in that great big world.
You'll never know unless you try.
|17 Year Old Kimberly|