Dear Teenage Girls: The S.H.I.T. Guide to Being the Best You
For my darling daughters and all the girls out there, with love.
You got this. x
Your body is changing and it’ll seem alien at first when curves start to appear. And boobs. And hair. Nobody ever loves the hair but I promise you you’ll get used to it. And it’s easy to get rid of if you want to. But that body is yours and yours alone. It needs looking after. It needs love and care. Embrace it. It is an amazing vessel and whatever shape and size it is, it is truly beautiful.
Don’t wear things just to fit in with the crowd. If you actually like what the crowd’s wearing, then that’s cool. But If you don’t, as scary and hard as it is to do, choose clothes that you really, really like, and make you feel like you, even if nobody else is wearing them. Your friends will secretly be in awe of you for being your own person.
Don’t be afraid of periods. They’re bloody annoying (scuse the pun) and relentless. Monthly in fact. But they’re part of life and just remember, all your girlfriends are going through the same thing.
Don’t ever kiss or touch a boy or girl because you think you should. If you feel uncomfortable, then ten times out of ten it’s not the right thing for you to do at that time. Instinct is a pretty clever thing. Never be afraid to say no.
Exercise makes you feel good. It doesn’t matter if you’re an Olympic star or a beginner, it just feels good. Endorphins fly and those babies are so good for your mental health. If you think you can’t be arsed or won’t enjoy it, chances are you’ll feel really arsed afterwards, and a lot better about yourself.
Hair – nobody is ever happy with their hair. Fact. I don’t know any fellow female who adore theirs. If it’s thick we want thin, if it’s straight, we want curls, if it’s fuzzy we want sleek. But don’t sweat it. It’s yours, it’s gorgeous. And the world will keep turning if it’s not quite the way you’d like it to be.
Spots are annoying. The blighters seem to invade overnight. But try, try, try NOT to squeeze and poke them, because believe you me, you’ll only make them worse. Wash your face properly. Drink plenty of water. Eat healthily. Get plenty of fresh air. Exercise. And they will go in time. They won’t be there forever I promise. It’s just your skin changing. But I know, they can still get us down.
Work hard at things you want to achieve and feel passionate about. Practise. Nothing just comes naturally to anyone. Don’t give up if it doesn’t come to you at first. It will do. Keep trying and you’ll get there.
Believe in equality. Men and women. Not women ruling the world. Not men. Both together.
Look around you. Not down at your phone all the time. There’s no natural beauty in there.
But as phones are a part of life, use yours wisely. It’s a privilege to have one, so don’t use it to say anything mean to anyone or about anyone. The golden rule is never message anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Social media can be a wonderful positive force when used correctly, so use it to make yourself and others feel good about themselves.
On that note, try not to waste hours scrolling through Instagram. Most people on it aren’t real. It’s a snapshot of what people want us to think their lives are like. Look at it from time to time by all means, and connect with good people sending positive messages on there. But disconnect from anyone who makes you feel bad. You don’t need it.
Reading is good for the soul. It transports you to another world. Escapism through stories is a joy when things seem tough in the real world.
Try new things. I know we all fear that we’ll look a total idiot when we try something we haven’t done before, but you might just have a lot of fun. And it’s only in our heads that we look a prize plum, nobody else is thinking about you at all. They’re too busy focusing on themselves.
Be kind. Don’t bitch behind others’ backs. It’s a waste of your time and energy and I guarantee you’ll just feel a bit shit about yourself. All girls do it at some point – some more than others – but it’s just a crap activity all round and nothing good comes of it. How about lifting each other up instead?
Stand up for what you believe in. Use your voice. You’ll be so proud of yourself afterwards. There’s nothing worse than staying schtum when you don’t agree with something but you pretend that you do. That voice of yours is an awesome tool if you use it positively, and though it takes guts to speak up at first, the more you do, the easier it’ll become.
It’s ok to feel shit. It really is, even though I know it doesn’t feel ok at the time. But nobody in this life, no matter how charmed their lives seem, has ever not felt shit at some point. And if you can’t shake the shit feeling off, it’s really good to talk. If you don’t want to talk to your parents, then try to talk to someone else you trust. I know it’s a scary thing to do because we all feel like everyone else is doing just fine, but I can assure you they’re not. Chances are they’ll have felt the way you’re feeling too. You are absolutely not alone.
Look after your friends. Check they’re ok. If you feel like they’re not being themselves, ask them if they’re alright. If they say yes but you’re not convinced, ask them again. It’ll do no harm, only good. Even if they don’t want to talk to you, at least you’ve let them know you’re there for them.
Try not to care what others think. It’s an age old saying but it really is none of our business what others think of us. 9 times out of 10 everyone else is far too busy thinking about themselves (we’re a very self absorbed society don’t you know) to give 2 hoots about you.
Live in the moment. Don’t worry about the past. It’s done and dusted and there’s nothing we can do to change it. Don’t think too much about the future because it will come, but it’s not here yet. Live for the here and now.
And most importantly remember, there’s an awful lot of love around you. Give it out, grab some for yourself, and give it out a bit more. It’s all that really matters after all.