A Note to My 13 Year Old Self

Dearest Gabrielle,

This is future you, writing from college. Yes, you get in! And yes, you’re happy there! Hallelujah. Looking back on the past few years, there are a number of things that I wish you had known when you were younger. I wish you hadn’t been so concerned with what other people thought of you. I wish you had just let the haters hate and gone about with your life. I wish you hadn’t worried so much. I wrote a list for you as you take on the rest of high school and soon enough, college. This is a list of things that you should remind yourself of everyday. Maybe look at it when Dad drives you to school in the morning. Please read it and think about it and remember it. Love ya, girl.

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1. Surround yourself with people with integrity. People who love you and care about you and make you laugh and challenge you and respect you and want to see you succeed. Don’t waste your time on people who bring you down, care too much about themselves to notice when you need help, and concern themselves with things that ultimately don’t matter.

2. Love your body. Don’t compare yourself to other people, do what makes you happy, and treat your body well. I spent a long time really disliking myself (disliking you?), which lead to a lot of other problems. Part of the reason that I focused too much on my body was because I was in a toxic environment. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with the absolute best people.

3. Do what makes you happy. Don’t let other people deter you from what you love the most.

4. It does not matter what other people think. Not now and not ever. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. The people who matter love you for how quirky you are. Be yourself and the right people will find their way to you.

5. Chill out. Things always work out, so stop freaking out when things go wrong. Seriously, chill.

6. Have fun. Please have fun. Don’t worry too too much about school. It matters, but it’s only one part of life. Enjoy your life–go out and have fun and let your hair down and sing and dance and smile.

7. Don’t worry about boys. The right one will come along when the time is right.

8. Play a sport.

9. Don’t worry about following trends. Wear what you want. Don’t wear something that you know is heinous just because a ‘cool’ person was wearing it. Wear it because you want to.

10. Spend time with other people. Don’t isolate yourself. It’s not healthy to be alone too much. Be open to new people.

11. Spend a little time alone to think and center yourself. Understand who you are and who you want to be.

12. Hug people more. Let people hug you more. I’m not a hugger–I get really awkward and feel like I’m a bad hugger. But when someone gives me a really good hug, I want to melt into their arms. One of my friends gave me a hug last year even though he knew I wasn’t a hugger and he has no idea how good it felt to let myself be embraced. I sometimes don’t think that I need to hug other people, but physical contact is a good thing. Learn to embrace the embrace.

13. Stop shopping at Abercrombie and Hollister. Just stop. Please.

-G

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