There's loads... isn't there?
I wrote this post ages ago and it sucked. Way too soppy.
All in all, though, looking at it now, I think I waded through my personal dark ages okay in spite of bowl cuts, braces, college weight gain, acne, insecurity, awkward young-person fumbling and sex, more acne, disastrous highlights, illogical job moves and career stagnation, blah blah blah. I'm not winning any awards, but I've come through with my health, a career(ish), a mate, a dog...
I salvaged at least 40% of my eyebrows from the '90s. That alone makes me feel like I'm winning.
I do wish someone had given me some gentle guidance though. I'm pretty sure the most I learned at home was wipe from front to back. If that.
- No one wakes up looking amazing. Except for Ryan Lochte and Kate Moss. Remember those gorgeous Italian exchange students in high school? They looked so casually amazing because they knew how to dress, talk, walk, do their hair/makeup, eat, etc. They didn't just put in a scrunchie and throw on a sweatshirt. The Italian exchange students gave me the stink eye (despite my delusions of grandeur) because of my bedraggled appearance. My mom might have told me that I was beautiful just the way I was, but she'd have said that if I looked like Sloth from Goonies. The take away? Know your source. Those Italian exchange students were right and mom is just nice and blinded by maternal love.
- Just because the clothes in the department store don't fit properly does not mean there's something wrong with the shape of your body. It's because the clothes are all cut from one generic pattern. You don't have a generic-shaped body. One day you'll have enough money to buy the good sh*t anyway so don't sweat it.
- Don't ever wear anything with a crew neck. Ever. Or cap sleeves. Moving on...
- You'll never believe it, but those Hammer pants (or Harem pants as the fash pack call them) you own and live in in 5th grade totally come back into style twenty years later.
- Buy clothes in solid colors instead of trendy patterns (well, when you're the one finally doing the shopping and not mom) and you'll keep them and use them for longer. That batik-motif from the early 1990s you worn on a pair of overalls to match is no bueno. So Blossom.
- Don't cut off your hair! You get bobbed like 5 times before the last time -- finally (hopefully) -- at 27. You always let the stylist convince you that your hair is the perfect texture for it. (It is not.) And every time you cry... and end up getting hit on by girls because you look like the butch half of a lesbian couple missing her other (more feminine) half (nothing but love for my lesbian friends but I am not and my hair, if cut right, can sends out mixed sexual messages).
- You will feel uncomfortable if you expose your legs or your arms/decolletage at the same time in any situation but poolside.
- Never ever wear knee-high boots and bare legs. EVER. So common in college and feels horrid. Looks even worse. Learn to love tights.
- Avoid products labelled oil-free, for acne prone skin, etc. That sh*t is like napalm on your skin.
- The only upside to still having acne when you've started to get wrinkles is that it'll make you look more youthful. Personally, I just don't want acne anymore... the dark side to looking youthful is that you also look less professional.
- Have more confidence by simply thinking better things about yourself. Punch the a**hole in your in head in the face and get on with it.
- If you wear anything that stands out, some people will sneer with contempt “why are you wearing that”? (Because I want to.) People feel threatened if you're not wearing their uniform of choice (SO often it's the boot-cut jeans/Northface polar fleece brigade). Ignore them too. They are like the a**hole in your head.
- It's almost easier to make an effort than not. It really is just as easy to put on a dress as it is to pull on a pair of jeans. Ballet flats vs. trainers. Whatever. In the words of modern-day sartorial sage Kimora Lee Simons, "always dress like you're going to see your worst enemy".
- Whether you like it or not, you're judged on your looks. Like all the time. Life is easier for pretty people. Science proves it.
- Don't spend loads of cash on fast fashion. It's is the pits. You always look that tiny bit ratty after one wash cycle and it's ruining the earth. Ever time you wash a synthetic shirt, a fish dies... maybe not entirely true but it's close.
- Never wear long acrylic nails unless you're on the cast of Mob Wives. Then it's probably a requirement written into your filming contract.
- There is nothing that says you have to gain the Freshman 15 when you go to college. Maybe don't eat that box of Pop Tarts as an APPETIZER before the all-you-can-eat dining hall buffet dinner and, you know, see what happens, mkay? Beyond thankful that social media was a few years away from being around then. I graduated college with a fucking mullet and a bloated face that would have looked at home on a corpse found floating face down in a river.
On to bullies...
- The older girls in high school will be mean, especially when 'their' boys talk to you. Ignore them, But be prepared to rumble because they probably won't leave you alone until the get a reaction out of you. Lauren Smith and Becky Davis, you were assholes then and probably still are now. I hope Karma's worked its magic on you two.
- That one time in 8th grade when you're mean to that one girl (the first and last time you'll do such a thing (you were at the mercy of a bigger bully bullying you to do it. My deepest apologies, Christina)), DON'T DO IT. You momentarily became one of them. Never again, my friend, never again. Most of us remember if/when we've been less-than nice to someone, unless your name is Mitt.
- People don't stop bullying as they get older... they just change their methods. They go underground. Sh*t gets real.
- Give a wide berth to people who are toxic/needy/narcissistic/who lie/do drugs (except for the pot smokers, who are a delightful bunch)... Just cut and run.
- Not everyone will like you and it doesn't matter. Seriously, who wants everyone to like them anyway? Most people are awful. Do you want awful people to like you?
- The same people who always ask you "why you're dressed like that" when you've ditched the jeans-polar fleece uniform are bullies too. Punch them... in your mind. Clearly you can't go around punching everyone.
- Men will feel entitled to your time, your space, your attention, your looks... all of it. Don't allow it if you don't like it. Hard to do at first, but you'll get used to it with practice. And if you possess a vagina, you will likely have loads of practice. If some random taps you on the shoulder to interrupt while you're clearly trying to avoid human interaction by, say, reading a book or wearing ear buds at a bar/on the train/on the beach/at a cafe (and it is ALWAYS a man under the pretext of wanting to know what you're reading. My lifetime of data points confirms that zero women do this to other women) because, hey, he wants your attention and hasn't learned that he's not entitled to automatically, don't indulge the man. It goes against everything women are taught (about being polite, about how we relate to dudes, etc.), but it's your time and space and attention and looks, not his to command as he sees fit, even if he acts like it is. Some guys will get nasty, some won't. Some will play the "geez, I was just trying to be nice/talk/insert thing here that you supposedly misinterpreted" card. Bullshit, all of it.