Thinking back to my middle school years, or what me and a lot of my friends from back home refer to as “the St. Pat’s Days,” I realize that those were some great years. Me and the other Born&Raised girls attended a small Catholic school called St. Patrick School. I love reminiscing about those days because it entails lots of funny stories. But after middle school and junior high came high school. Freshman year I decided to go to the public school by my house where my brother and sisters went. I wish so desperately I could turn back the clock and give fourteen-year-old me a little pep talk. What would I say to this scrawny, five-foot-nothing, frizzy-haired, brace face?
I would have told her that this awkward phase will end…eventually. Just ride the storm out. I would say that she’ll learn how to straighten her hair without missing chunks of curls. That she’ll get better at doing her make-up and that soon her eyelashes won’t look like three big clumps. I would tell her to stop worrying that her braces would follow her into adulthood (which was a legitimate fear of mine). Those damn things will come off, and your stupid orthodontist will go to orthopedic hell for keeping them on you for so long (honestly, five years?!).
I would tell her to always have respect for herself. High school was rough for me—somewhere along the way I became a person that wasn’t me. Looking back, it seems as though I’m on the outside looking in at this person that just couldn’t have been me. I would tell her that her friends are the most important thing in this world, and no high school boy is deserving of her time and effort. I would tell her that it is okay to step outside her comfort zone—she’ll always have friends and family to lean on. I would tell her that it’s okay to transfer to the other high school (which I did), but also that it’s okay to stay where she is, but she is going to have to try harder.
I would tell her not to worry about math. It is a stupid subject taught by Satan’s minions (except for you Ms. Shivers, you sweet angel). One day you will be a part of a magical major where only six hours of math is required. I might also tell her to avoid the steps outside of St. Dom’s on snow days—she may or may not slip on the ice and fall and land on her lunch.
Finally, I would tell her that everything is going to be okay. Because in the grand scheme of things, high school is so miniscule. No one I met in college has said, “Oh, you weren’t popular in high school? We can’t be friends,” or, “You played softball? Are you a lesbian?” Okay, maybe people still say that last one, but it just doesn’t matter. And the people who did know me in high school and still stuck around—well those are some great people. I’ll tell her that she’s gonna hit her stride, and it’s gonna be awesome.