Dear present me,
I know it feels like the walls are caving in on you. You have bad day after bad day after bad day. You’re exhausted all the time and you feel like your friends are getting bored of you. You’ve been on dates with boys and girls alike, but nothing ever happens because you’re bad at relationships. You’re averagely pretty, averagely smart, averagely friendly. You’re stuck in a loop of feeling bad for yourself, realising you shouldn’t be feeling bad for yourself, and smiling at yourself in the mirror until you realise that you have nothing to be smiling about. And thus the loop continues.
But the thing is, you’re not average. In fact, you’re anything but. You’re achieving so much at such a young age, and you’re working towards your goal with tenacity. You feel like trash most of the time because you never take a break. You work and you work and you don’t stop until you’ve reached perfection (which, of course, you never really do because nothing is ever good enough for you). Point is, the only reason you feel average is because you hold yourself to such high standards. Why don’t you let yourself relax every once in a while? That’s what everyone is telling you. You’re a high school teenager, for crying out loud! You don’t need to give your 110% all the time. No one is expecting you to.
Just because you feel boring, doesn’t mean you actually are. Look at you! Look at your accomplishments! You go to a prestigious art school and study creative writing! It’s your dream to be a writer, and look at you making that happen for yourself! You got into that program with absolutely no outside help. You did that! Take a moment to be proud! Stop dwelling on your own insecurities and shortcomings long enough to just appreciate yourself. I know that you’re a perfectionist and want to live up to everyone’s expectations all the time, but everyone already thinks so highly of you. Let yourself be a stupid teenager for a day.
And about the whole dating thing: stop worrying so much about that. You’re beautiful, and you’re smart, and you’re witty. People like you, and you’ll find someone. And even if your relationships don’t last long, don’t sweat it. You don’t even want to get married when you grow up. Your career always comes first. I know I can’t change your mind about that no matter what I say. You’ll always aspire to this level of tenacity that I can’t even comprehend. I think you’re brilliant for that, and you should too. So relax. Live a little.
I know you feel deeply average right now, but it’s okay. So does everybody else. As Dina said in I Am Not Okay With This, “Everyone feels like a freak sometimes.” That’s part of being a teenager. Take some of the pressure off. You’re the only one putting it on, after all. You shouldn’t be in a rush to figure yourself out. Have a label-less sexuality for a while. Wear whatever outfit you want to; it doesn’t have to fit whichever aesthetic you’re trying to create. Read science fiction novels and make pointless TikToks. Have fun and try to be happy, for me, at least. You only get four years of high school. I know that sounds like a long time, but believe me, it’ll go by fast. When you think about it, you don’t have that many teenage years at all. Live them up! Stop sulking so much because you feel like a nobody. I hope this letter proves to you that there is no possible way you could ever be a nobody.
Do yourself a favour and smile at yourself in the mirror every morning as you’re getting ready for school. I’m sure it’ll do you wonders.
I love you, and I’m proud of you.
-Your closest confidant and greatest supporter