A Letter to High School Me
Dear High School Me:
You were right about some things, but wrong about most of them, and you spent way too much time being melodramatic and obsessive. As an adult, you’re still that way, but on a more functional level, and by the time you’re in your fifties, you might be a normal person.
I’m writing to you today because you spent most of high school assuming you would not out live Kurt Cobain. As of a few months ago, this was officially false, but since today is his birthday, I’ve decided to address it.
I’ve also decided to address a few other things: You didn’t die because that boy didn’t like you. In fact, eventually, you did realize that boy was a HUGE loser and not worth of any of the emotions you wasted on him. He wasn’t funny or attractive or that bright. But he was – most importantly – unavailable. This will become a recurring theme in your life. Being attracted to unavailable men so you don’t ever actually have to get involved with them, and therefore, in some deluded way, you think you risk never getting hurt.
This is false. The only way to avoid hurting is to not care about anybody at all, and you care about everybody. So you’re going to hurt. Let’s just save you the trouble right now of trying to avoid pain or thinking there’s something wrong with feeling pain: Life is very painful But not all the time. If you accept the pain and deal with it, you’ll find much more happiness than if you spend the whole time avoiding it.
But you know what, now that I think about that – you don’t go after unavailable guys because you want to get hurt. You do it because you know it will. You know that they’ll reject you. Your self-esteem is so ungodly ridiculous that you only go after people that will reaffirm it – meaning people that will reject or will treat you like shit. This is not an enjoyable way to live life. At all.
On a related note, many of your boyfriends will turn out to be gay. I feel like you should establish better gay-dar. This will also be helpful. I think deep down you know that they’re gay, because you were never really that attached to them, but it would just save time for everybody if you stopped dating gay men.
Also – those kids you’re trying really hard to be cool for to impress, they are dickholes. They are all dickholes. Ten years later, none of those dickholes even talk to you. The friends that you’ve kept and made long term were the ones you thought you were too cool for. Now you have to spend the rest of your life making it up to them for being such an asshole in high school. Again, it would save so much time if you just avoided being an asshole in the first place.
And another thing, High School Me, you’re not the center of the universe. Assuming that everyone hates you is incredibly narcissistic. Everybody else around you is too worried about their own shit to even notice you, let alone care about you or what you’re doing. The sooner you realize that, the more fun you’ll have.
Also, you should do your schoolwork more. There’s absolutely no reason to do an assignment, and then not turn it in. Who the hell does that? Why did you do that? You got a D in history because you never did a damn assignment but aced all the tests. Why would anybody do that? If you know the shit, do the work, and move on. You could’ve gotten scholarships. And even if you didn’t, you would’ve felt more pride in yourself and the things you did.
That’s your big problem, High School Me. You gave up before you even started. You’d decided that everything in life was going to be pain and miserable, so you just sat around sulking for four years (more like… eleven years) and obsessing over dead people and grunge and people that didn’t care about you to affirm your own life view that everybody hates you and that life is misery.
Fun fact, High School Me: Life isn’t misery. It’s really not. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes things happen that you have no control over that hurt really, really bad. And yes, those things weren’t your fault, but you can’t spend the rest of your life assuming you’re damaged or that you deserved that. You can’t spend the rest of your life being hurt because that’s how you think life is supposed to feel.
If you want to know the truth, High School Me? I’m angry at you. I’m angry at you for wasting time when we should’ve been having fun. It’s not until you’re in your early twenties that you have a nervous breakdown and figure out that nothing is hard or as painful as you thought it was. You were making it that way in some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.
You cannot control everything that happens to you. But you can control how you react to it and how you feel about it.
I’m mad at you and Kurt Cobain for thinking suicide is ever an option. It’s lame. It’s seriously so lame. I am still so young, there’s so much stuff I still want to do, and so much joy I still have to experience. And High School Me, you are a god damn idiot for thinking that I would be done by now. That life had already shown me everything it had to offer by the time I was sixteen.
The point is, High School Me, you have the potential to be happy, to have fun, to love and be loved in return. And I am still so angry with you for wasting it, for wasting so many years of my life thinking that suicide was an option. Not only that it was an option, but a probability. You never tried at anything because you thought you’d be dead by now.
You were so ignorant and so wrong. And I wish more than anything I could have those years back, that I could usually them to do something. Because unlike you, High School Me, I want as much time on this earth as I can possibly have.
I could deffinately relate to this. You expressed the sentiment of not realizing how big and diverse and wonderful life can be. I feel the same about my highschool years, but thats all part of growing up isnt it? Us introverts need good examples to follow. Im really glad you have a platform and were so willing to be honest. To see the forest through the trees.Unfortunately its all part of the journey and no matter what we try to say to help our teenagers in turmoil it’s a case of supporting them until they see the possibilities around them. Everyone has to learn through practical but a little theory doesnt hurt. Love Tina.
This definately matched my feelings when I was young. I read this to my daughter who is going through a lot of this and it definately helped her! Thank you for posting!
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It’s like High School You was High School Me’s best friend! So glad you posted this. I think it will help a lot of teens who are feeling like you (and I) did.
This may be completely random, but I suffered with depression for my whole life until I was 37 and I could never figure out why. There seemed to be no reason at all. No amount of counselling, meditation, yoga, or hippy feeling cr*p seemed to help. I still just felt sad and pessimistic most of the time.
Then, recently I did an allergy exclusion diet to try to figure out the source of my hayfever. I not only found out what causes me to sneeze, I found out that something called Salicylates has been causing my depression. I’ve stopped eating Salicylates (you just cut out tea and certain fruits and vegetables) and I feel great, happy, optimistic, its unreal! I just wake up in the morning feeling great. But if I go ahead and eat these salicylates, then I start to feel depressed again. Who knew???? I WISH I had known this so many years ago, it would have honestly changed the course of my life.
Anyway, if you are interested, it is called the Failsafe diet. It was developed to treat kids with ADHD, but has since been found to help many people with all sorts of mood related problems.
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To Present Amanda:
Shouldn’t use the GD word. No one hates on your beliefs here.
but high school you helped make the adult you that you are right now. don’t be angry at her- just move on, realize the mistakes she made, the way you no longer have any desire to be like parts of her, and rock this shit! be even more amazeballs than you currtenly are! life is rad- it’s super fun- and you still have SO MUCH MORE FUN TO HAVE!!!! git some. 🙂
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Thank you for sharing this. I’m much older than you are but my high school years were not that great.
Having survived a life-threatening virus as a youth, I left high school standing six foot four and weighing 125 pounds. I was so thin that from the side, I probably almost vanished.
From high school, I went straight into the U.S. Marines and soon found myself in Vietnam being shot at by unseen snipers during the day and surviving rocket and mortar attacks at night.
A few years later, in the early 1970s, I was home alone with a loaded sniper rifle planning to end it when I decided that maybe it was a better idea to outlast the depression.
Since then, I’ve discovered that no matter how bad “it” gets, there’s a strong change the situation will improve and that was true for me.
I’m glad I changed my mind. Life did improve and continues to improve. There have been down times but there have also been the up times.
If the end came tomorrow, I have to say it was a good life overall and I really have nothing to complain of and if it doesn’t end for decades, I have lots of plans.
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