A Letter to Teen Girls

Dear Teen Girls,

Hi, my name is Mary and I’m 19. Yes, I (might) have been in your position a lot more recently than most of your teachers, parents, and families. I’m not sure which of you will stumble upon this letter, nor do I know how old you are. I am currently rounding up advice from friends to share with you so that you aren’t only hearing this from me. I’m just going to try and cover a lot of bases so that you have someone more age appropriate attempting to give you advice in your life.

Okay, so you’re a teenaged girl and I’m sure the first thing on your mind is relationships. I would like to remind you that high school isn’t the world, and you probably aren’t going to find the love of your life within the walls of that godforsaken building. You might experience things like heartache. Heartache sucks, it does, but it ends and you move on, probably to someone a lot better. And if not at first, eventually. In the moment when you’re laying on the couch crying, hopefully someone is comforting you with chocolate and bad tv. Trust me, it’s the best cure. You might also break some hearts, try not to do it via text, Facebook message, or in any form of technology. Be brave and say it to the face, people are worth that much. It might be hard but be polite. When you are in a relationship and in a good place, things can get tricky. I’m not telling you that you should or should not be kissing or having sex. You have to do what feels right for you. Physical contact is part of relationships and for a lot of people this makes them really nervous  and in some relationships people feel pressured to do something they aren’t ready for yet. If you don’t want to kiss, don’t kiss. NO MEANS NO. Just because you are in a relationship it does not mean you are obligated to do anything with them nor do you owe them anything. Please understand this just so you don’t regret anything. I would also like to tell you not settle. Just because you aren’t in a relationship, it does not mean you need to lower your standards to finally meet someone, wait, you’ll find the right person eventually.

Transitioning into periods and puberty. At this point in your life you may or may not have your period, if you don’t, DO NOT WISH FOR IT TAKE YOUR TIME TO BE FREE! I know, that periods suck, it’s probably one of the worst things about being a girl. I’m going to give you a few helpful hints: chocolate cures all, heating pads are perfection, and ibuprofen every four hours. This will make it far less painful. Okay so puberty- boobs mostly. Don’t make fun of girls with no boobs and don’t make fun of girls with big boobs. As a girl with big boobs with friends who have smaller boobs, no one has any control over any of it.

Girls are mean. Girls are very mean. Be careful with who you befriend. If a girl has stabbed other people in the back chances are she’ll stab you in the back too. It’s really easy to be friends with boys, they usually don’t like drama and they don’t gossip about your secrets as often. Don’t share anything that you wouldn’t want the whole school to know is typically the rule of thumb when it comes to secrets, when you share them, they usually get out.

It’s true, this is a time for experimenting. However, you need to be careful. If you decided to try drinking do it with those who care about you, don’t do it with anyone who will try and take advantage of you. Also do not get caught, you do not need that on your record. My advice would be to stay away from drugs in general, that stuff is bad. Weed is even a gateway drug and you could start to try other drugs to get more high, and that’s dangerous.

Here’s some advice from some of my friends:

“Proper Nutrition” (from Eric): This is actually really important guys. The sooner you learn this the healthier you’ll be and the easier life will be for you as you get older. Learn to eat and like fruits and vegetables as well as balancing them with oreos and ice cream.

“I wish that I knew that I’d regret quitting swimming and gymnastics” (from Emily): I wish I didn’t think this for a lot of things I quit, like piano, acting, signing, helping with theater, just a lot of things I should’ve stuck with and didn’t. If you like anything even a little bit, stick with it, you might regret it if you don’t.

“How to work a debit card.” (from Gabby): I think this is just a good idea to learn how to manage money. Get a job (if you’re allowed) try and make your own money rather than depending on your parents. Then learn how to work finances, how to balance fun and savings, eating out and staying in, movies out or Netflix in.

“Be nice to the weird kid in high school, they may become one of your best friends” (from Meag): You really don’t know who is going to end up to be your best friends. Just because someone seems a little weird it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a ton in common with them. Looks and acts are only half a person, that’s not what’s on the inside.

“Classmates will always remember how you treated them.” (from Meag): It’s so true, people will always remember how you treat them. The not so nice girls in high school will always be remembered as that, the guys who tried to flirt with every girl will always be thought of in that way, your actions in high school (and even before) can leave a lasting impression, don’t you want that to be a good one?

“Boys are dumb, girls rule, don’t do drugs, do well in school, eat as much cake as possible while you still can, &ignore #h8ers” (from Alex): Alex first of all is very funny, yet her advice is pretty good. Boys can be dumb in relationships especially, and then you will need your girlfriends to help you out. Drugs are bad don’t do them. Try your best in school, as much as I wish it didn’t, high school grades count. While you should be trying to develop healthy habits, indulge. Your metabolism will slow down which leads to weight gain which leads to less cake. Always ignore those who don’t care about you. They don’t mean anything.

“Basic study skills for sure.” (from Logan): Like myself, Logan commented that it was easy to get straight a’s when she was younger without studying therefore didn’t. She also said to learn the material right away because you are always learning new stuff that builds off of it. She is very right, try and study even if you think you don’t need it. It won’t hurt anything.

“You only get one body so be wary of cuts and scrapes, hair dying, piercings, etc.” (from Logan): This is true. When you make these decisions, think “ten years from now will I still like this?” if the answer is no, don’t do it. If you get cuts and scrapes, take care of them. I have scars on my hands and feet because I decided not to take care of them, those are imperfections I will always carry. However, Gabby says you shouldn’t be wary, you should take your chances with these. So take either advice, do what’s best for you.

“Always say how you feel.” (from Meag): Never be afraid to share your feelings. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Say how you feel because you usually only get one chance to say it. If you let feelings build up it’ll be bad in the end, you’ll just explode.

Okay so that’s my advice so far. I hope it helped you a little bit!

Love,

Mary and Friends

Thanks to my friends who helped throw in advice and tips to share, if you know someone this letter can help share it!

XOXO,

Mary.

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Real Beauty

Okay so I’m behind, yes I knew about it but I have yet to write about it. What is it you ask? Real beauty. In case you were not aware, Aerie has a campaign going on about real beauty, they no longer remove moles, freckles, tattoos, or any imperfections, they are teaching girls to embrace them. So as I shared with you guys a few weeks ago, that I’m trying to treat my body better than I have in the past 19 years and since I shared all those wonderful details about my body with you why not share some more? First of all I would just like to brag at my view while I’m writing this, I’m looking outside my window on a side street of Times Square, listening to the beeping and construction (why it’s this late I’ll never know) and I just love cities, I swear I sleep so much better here.

Up until puberty I was a stick, literally arms and legs lankily hanging out of clothes, not exactly gracefully, but whatever. Then in about a year, I began to change like most do, all of the sudden I was graced with boobs, that were larger than most my age, and hips that made my legs expand to be quite larger than what my body was previously used to all of my 13 years of being a very boney person. It was around this time that I started to become a little insecure, and I think my quick metabolism recognized this and said “Well we’ve had our good times, but your body wants to change and I want to leave. Sorry your easily skinny years are over, peace!” and this took me a while to figure out.

I don’t know if everyone remembers when they first start becoming very insecure, but I do. It was the summer before 8th or 9th grade I was sitting on my best friend Hannah’s driveway, with her and another girl, and the other girl says “casually” staring at my thighs, “Do either of you have any stretch marks?” I remember sitting there in that moment, thinking to myself, “of course I do puberty hit me like a ton of bricks, but I don’t want to say that…” So instead I was just said, “yes, I have some here on my thighs, and I have some on my boobs, would you like to see those too?” and I’m pretty sure the topic was quickly changed. I remember just being ashamed to wear shorts, wear any type of tight shirt, just my own skin became uncomfortable for me to be in and that’s not a way for a 14 year old to feel. Looking back, I wish I would’ve talked to my mom about this, even know she is so supportive and encouraging as I try to become more health conscious as well as my dad. That was the first time anyone had acknowledged my insecurities to my face and it made me feel worse than I ever had before.

During high school I became more confident with my weight and how I looked, but I was always comparing myself to other people, “Oh her legs are smaller than mine, but my stomach is flatter.” or “She might have a flat stomach, but my boobs are better” and I don’t know why I compared my chest size to other girls, because I hid them all of high school with very few exceptions, like I made sure my prom dress made them look smaller. It was just another insecurity. However, I noticed the more and more I compared myself to other people the more imperfections I found in myself.

Now that I’m in college, I’ve noticed my insecurities growing (with the exception of the boobs, they’re whatever, they do what they want). My stretch marks have now made their way down my thighs due to to the freshman fifteen (okay more like ten) that I was convinced I wasn’t going to get, as well as are on the sides of my stomach, and even more so on my boobs because they don’t want to stop growing it seems. For me all this does is bring up old insecurities that for so long I was ashamed to have, let alone think about. All I want to do is hide my body. Recently, I decided it was time to try on a pair of jean shorts that I bought last spring, and to my dismay, they would not zip. Alas, I have to spend more money on yet another size up in shorts, however I will fork up the money because I do NOT plan on spending my summer in jeans, no thank you, Pennsylvania. But notice, that I’m buying shorts, I’m not hiding in jeans all summer just because my body isn’t perfect.

The point of this post was not to tell you about how puberty did nothing for me besides bring with it insecurities that I will literally have the rest of my life, but instead to help me embrace my body, and maybe help some of you embrace yours. If I feel confident enough in July to wear my bikini to beach week, I will, if I don’t I’ll be disappointed in myself, but I’m going to to do what I think is good for me. I wish I had the courage to post a picture of me in a bikini right now to show you guys my puberty scars, the physical remnants of what has left me with lasting damage, but I will not post a picture in my underwear, and I don’t have any bikinis here for me to do that in either, maybe eventually I’ll do that. However, with the world slowly realizing that every woman is beautiful, I encourage each and every girl here to do the same. Trust me, there is something beautiful about you and I hope someone will show you that. I love that I have great skin, my eyes have a unique color, my nose is little, and if I wanted I could really show off some nice cleavage.

Please comment with something that makes you love about yourself, and support someone else who comments!  Thanks for reading!

XOXO,

Mary.