GIRL TALK: A letter from 2002

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First Posted: 3/17/2014

Dear Melissa 2002,

I was flipping through my yearbook with friends and realized I have so much I want to tell you. You are going to lead such an interesting life but will need some help on the road to get there. So heed my advice and stop wearing so much leopard print.

First and foremost, there is life outside your boyfriend, and when things eventually go south, you will survive this regardless of how much it hurts and see that there are tons of better things in store for you. I know at 17 he seems like the king of your world. He is not; you are far more interesting than this (trust me; he turns out to suck as a person). Rarely do people marry their high school sweetheart, and you will grow into your own person over time. She is awesome and worth the wait.

Follow your passions – figure out something you love and happen to be good at. Your yearbook says you want to open a flower shop and be a business major. Let’s be honest; you have allergies and were never good at math. You can write, keep at it, and by age 29, you will be an award-winning columnist, have a radio segment, and be an executive in the fashion industry. Don’t let other people tell you what they think you should do with your life. Remember, you are the one who has to live with the decisions you make, not them.

Read “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” any time you feel your life needs some direction; it is the best self-help book ever written.

While you are in high school, get your face in the yearbook as much as possible. You will appreciate this when you are 40. You will not flip through the pages to look at pictures of the other kids; you are going to look for you and your friends because that was your life. Furthermore, while in school, pay attention in Home Ec – you are going to live on your own and need to know how to feed yourself more than Taco Bell and ramen noodles.

There will ALWAYS be mean girls; blow them off. Whether you are 6, 16, 26, or 66, there’s going to be someone out there trying to bring you down. Flash them a smile and move on with your fabulous self. Laugh and be silly. You will never have memories of the time you sat stewing in a corner while everyone else danced in the spotlight. Get out there and joyfully embarrass yourself; it makes for great stories later.

Finally, being codependent sucks. Figure out what makes you happy. DO NOT look to others for your source of happiness; they won’t always be there, and you need to love yourself before you can love someone else. Make sure to never lose your sense of self along the way. It took a lot of years to mold you into this person, and remembering the things you do that make you happy will help you survive the things that make you sad. Go get ‘em, tiger.

Love and glitter,

Melissa 2014