Pouring My heart Out: A Letter to a Teen

Dear Teen,

I know it's hard for you to imagine, but I was once very much like you.

I did not always make the best decisions. (Hell, now, I don't always make the right decisions.) Many decisions I made just to display my independence. I was strong. I could do things on my own. I didn't need any one's help with anything. I did not fit in, so, I would stand out. But, most the time, I wanted to crawl inside my shell and hide. I dreamed of a perfect world where I wasn't an ugly redhead with freckles, and chunky thighs.

I hated school. I thought the world revolved around my social life, or the lack there of. I thought I would surely die of a broken heart when that boy chose someone else over me. And, sometimes, I even wished I would die because it would make everyone realize how much they miss me.

I listened to the same song over and over again, crying my deep tears of pain that no one else could possibly know or understand. And, sometimes, I hurt myself with the sharp point of a safety pin, I scratched my skin until it bled, carving initials and symbols into my skin. I wanted to feel a physical pain that would lift me from the depths of my sorrow. One that would bring me back to the reality of life.

I created an image. An exterior toughness that very few would get to see the other side of. I lashed out at my parents, who knew nothing about life. How could they? They were so old, and things were so easy for them. They could never understand what it's like to be a teen. To not have the right clothes, to not have the right body, to not be friends with the right people. They could never know.

I smoked cigarettes to be cool. I brought vodka to school. I shoplifted eye liner, reasoning that it came from the earth, so it belonged to us all. I skipped 1st period and 5th period just, because I could. I stayed out too late, lied to my parents, didn't do my homework, dated an older man...

And, I had sex because I should. Because I thought it would make me feel good about myself, make me feel loved, make me fit in, make me forget about me. And for a brief moment it did. But that moment was gone in a flash. When the act was done, I once again felt the pain of being me. But, maybe the next time would be better. The next time would be good. It would be like the movies; so perfect and romantic. But, it wasn't and so the cycle continued.

Each Summer break I envisioned a whole new me, one that would get my homework done, and get awards. A girl that would be in the running for homecoming queen, that would be a star in the school play, that would date the perfect guy. This year, I would get involved. I would run for Student council, and win. I would do everything right, this year.

But, it never happened. No matter how badly I wished it, there was no magical alignment of the stars to set my world right. I talked myself out of trying out for anything for fear of rejection and humiliation. I couldn't bear to be told that I wasn't good enough, so I never even tried.

It was easier to not be the real me. To not be the me I wanted to be, but to just be the me everyone expected.

I just needed to get through with High School, then it would all be different, it would all be perfect. Things would go my way. I would be a star. I would return for our reunion and I would show them! They would wish they hadn't been so cruel. They would see...

I was a teen. It was hard. I remember. I do. I haven't forgotten how it felt. I wasn't perfect. I wasn't popular. And, maybe I wasn't open with you. Maybe I should have shared the things I've done wrong. I just didn't want you to know the hurt, the heartache, the feelings of isolation. I hoped by keeping these things to myself, you would know only the fun and friendship of being a teen. I wanted you to have hope for your future, for you to have a life better than me. I wanted you to know happiness and love.

I wanted only to encourage you to strive for greatness. I was wrong. Instead of encouraging you to be better. I should have encouraged you to be you. To be the real you, the one you want to be, not the one that is expected of you. Your greatness lies within you. Your greatness is you just being you.

I once was a teen. I made mistakes. I did things wrong. I have regrets. But, I will never regret you. You are my greatness.


♪You are beautiful no matter what they say. Words can't bring you down♪
(Christina Aguilera)