I know that for many returning high school students fall can be a stressful and scary period of time, because it’s filled with unknown school issues, bullying, familiar faces, secrets from the summer vacation, and insane expectations. You want to look and do your absolute best, especially the older you get. Keep your head up and your dreams close. I’m here to guide you through the rough days and laugh with you on the bright ones.
First off, take a breath. I know how hard school can be and I don’t mean academically, but socially and mentally. Girls are cruel. Boys are clueless and the teachers are tough. Remember, no matter how popular the girl or guy is returning to school, they feel the same way you do (believe it or not). Don’t let loads of makeup and hair extensions fool you, even the “popular” girls feel insecure and fearful. It’s called being human. Everyone has insecurities, issues, and a home life that has its problems. No one is free from family pressure or financial stress, regardless of how flawless a person’s life may seem. Now, I know it’s easy for me to sit here, typing happily on my laptop as I’m at work, far away from the high school world, and give you sound advice; I understand that. Although, I am no longer in high school and I am out in the real world, ready to become a mom and start the next chapter of my life, I went through heartache, bullying, lies and secrets during my four years of high school. I was sexually assaulted my Sophomore year, lost “friends” from year to year, had my heart broken, fell in and out of “love”, went to many parties, drank lots of liquor and smoked some weed, my dad had a stroke, my family endured incredible change, and I was bullied by insecure, dramatic girls. I can say now, as a strong, motivated twenty-two year old that high school fades fast. I promise you, there’s so much beauty to come and those who are still living in the past won’t make it very far. We all know someone who LOVED high school and wants to go back (maybe they still wear their high school ring), but you have to wonder…why? Why go backwards when you can move forward and create new chapters? There’s nothing worth seeing in your rearview mirror.
My advice is to change the world with your passion, ferocity, and individuality; don’t allow the world to change you. It’s intimidating going up against a pack of mean girls, but knowing who you are and remaining true to yourself is just as powerful a weapon as a loaded gun. Kill them with kindness and a eye-catching wardrobe. Be nice to everyone, even if it kills you. When that handsome boy or pretty girl breaks your heart, move on and realize it is only the beginning. Yes, you can still eat some chocolate and cry, but don’t spend too many nights wallowing. You will find much more heartache and love in the future, I promise. Fashion knows no rules or limitations and your youth is the time to discover your own, crazy, fun sense of style. Fashion is what you buy, but style is what you do with it…remember that quote*.
Regardless of the secrets that have followed you into the halls of your school, from your summer break, never deny or confirm anything. Let them talk and wonder. If they’re talking (good or bad) they’re still paying attention to you and that always says more about them than you. Never stoop as low as a bully. You want revenge? It’s not worth it. Karma is my favorite gal and she sure is a bitch when she wants to be. If someone hurts you and causes you pain, the universe knows. Trust that the universe has a plan for you and everyone around you, regardless of what you believe in spiritually, trust that statement. What goes around comes around in mysterious and magical ways. Don’t let an insecure, awful person ruin your whole year or break you. You’re too strong for that, darling.
There is so much life after high school. Hang in there. I cry over the souls who found high school too much to bare and didn’t make it to the next stage in their life. Please, if you are feeling alone or broken, I am here. Don’t you dare give up and don’t allow others to steal your happiness. Also, don’t let your happiness depend on a person, because sadly, people leave. Some souls are lost not because of depression, but because of foolish “friends” and recreational drugs. Your life is fragile and valued…take risks, but also take precautions. Being young and reckless can turn into a living nightmare, insanely fast. I spent many nights feeling bent and broken, but I woke up the next day and pushed forward through the brutal battle of high school and the infamous teenage years. The teenage years as I always say consist of drama, lies, and tears. The smiles and picture-perfect moments aren’t always as frequent as the days of heartache and stress. Of course, everyone experiences something different in high school. Some are bullied, some are adored, and some are ignored. Regardless of your personal experience, high school is only a tiny fragment in your life story. Writing sentences never ends.
College is wonderful if that is the path you choose, but you can do whatever you want and be whoever you want to be. I thrived academically during high school (minus math), but I realized once I graduated that I didn’t want to go to college. I was accepted into all of the schools I had applied to, but college life wasn’t for me. I know my passions and my strengths and I knew that I could make it without a college degree. Many who graduate from top schools are left with no job and a lot of debt, or they find themselves in a job that doesn’t satisfy them as a person. If I ever choose to pursue a degree one day, I certainly can and now I have incredible life and work experiences to back me up. There’s always time! It’s okay to work, discover what you love, and wait. Life is short and a degree isn’t everything. You are not judged in the end by the money you had, the degrees you collected, or the cars you drove. You’re judged by heart, spirit, and experiences.
I know it feels as though you have a lifetime to make decisions, experience the world, and fall in love with life, and yes, you do have time…but, time is a funny thing. It goes by so, incredibly fast and each moment we are here is special and as I mentioned before, our lives are fragile. No one knows exactly how long they have to spend on this earth, so if there is something you wish to do, something you wish to say, or someone you wish to know, don’t waste any time. I appreciate all of the chaos, pain, and happiness I endured within my twenty-two years on this planet, because every moment has become a part of me. I look at Andrew, my baby bump, my parents, friends, family, my animals, ballroom dancing, and everything I’ve worked for and I feel thankful. I wouldn’t want to spend my time (however long that is) with anyone else, or as anyone else. I can honestly say, I love who I am and the life I’ve created. I remember turning seventeen, and then eighteen. Nineteen is a blur, and then before I knew it, I was twenty-one years old. It was “the moment” everyone waits for and yet, twenty-two has been more beautiful and fulfilling than twenty-one. Age is just a number, my loves. Milestones aren’t numbers, they’re experiences. The first time you kiss your true love, finding out you’re pregnant, having a baby, creating a home, finding that perfect job, and traveling to amazing places…those are milestones. Turning eighteen, twenty-one, and even forty aren’t milestones. Measure your life in dreams and love.
I wish everyone returning to high school, beginning high school, or embarking on another journey the best of luck. I wish I knew then what I know now, but unfortunately that isn’t how life works. You must live to learn and the learning never stops. Every day I discover something new about myself and the world around me. Open your eyes to new experiences, ideas, and dreams. Lastly, always search for the beauty around you and make the most of each moment, because this isn’t the dress rehearsal…this is it.
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