Dear High School Me,
You have it all figured out, don’t you? It’s okay, though. You justify it by knowing that you’re still young, and you’re going to change, learn, and grow. You look forward to growing up a bit and then being able to laugh at your younger self, which — trust me — you definitely do. You cringe thinking about those teenage years. You’re so aware. You know how dumb you are. You know that all the petty, superficial things you worry about don’t matter. You know it will get better. You know you will be okay. You know everything you’re supposed to do to have a good life and be successful. You know that dwelling on the little things is useless. You’re not gonna let any teenage drama affect you. You’re not like other teenagers. You’re better off because you know all this. You’ve got a leg up. You’re set. You’re so prepared to not get hurt. You’re prepared to do the right thing and make the right choice and be the best “you” that you can be. You’ll keep telling yourself how great everything is and how lucky you are.
You’ll tell yourself that for years to come. You’ll try so hard to convince yourself and believe it’s true. You’ll get mad at yourself when you don’t believe it. You’ll call yourself selfish and ungrateful, and that’s what you’ll really believe. You’ll get sad and tired for no reason then tell yourself to stop moping, be happy about life; you’ve no reason not to be.
And the guilt will beat you down. You’ll hate yourself for not being able to control your emotions, for not being able to pull yourself together. You’ll think how silly and stupid it is for you to cry yourself to sleep. You’ll tell yourself that you ruin everything. You’ll think of how weak you are.
And one day you’ll turn it all off. You’ll fake every smile and laugh, you’ll fake the empathy for others. “I’m fine” will be an automatic response. You’ll bury yourself in fantasy. You’ll look at other people’s struggles and think how lucky you are to not have to feel anything or care about anything. You’ll think how much easier it is that way. It’s so much easier to just go through the motions, to not really be living. You’ll think about how easy it would be to not live at all. That’ll seem like the easiest decision, and it will make so much sense.
You’ll come close to making that choice.
So forget how great everything is. Embrace your sadness. Cry all night if you need to. Never fake anything. Make the wrong decision. Make a mistake. Be okay with it. Fail. Fail hard. Want something you can’t have. Be upset with someone. Get angry. Get frustrated. Speak up. Don’t be fine. Don’t be okay. Be miserable. Be amazing. Be a kid. Be unprepared. Don’t think logically. Take a nap. Take your blame and no one else’s. It’s not always your fault. Do not write off your emotions. Don’t be afraid of yourself.