Vixxie’s letter to her Sweet Sixteen
Vixxie’s letter to her Sweet Sixteen
Writing a letter with advice to your 16-year old self is a trend.
And I like trends, because it makes you feel like one of the cool kids. And who doesn’t want to be part of the gang? I did. When I was sixteen, I wanted nothing more than to be part of “something”. Alas, I had R.E.C.L.U.S.E written all over my forehead and I must have been in a bad state of decay, because most teenagers avoided me like the Black Plague. Unless they wanted to copy my homework. Then, all of a sudden, the risk of contagion seemed reduced to a negligible level.
Yeah, being a teenager wasn’t really my forté. Still impressed that somehow, out of that miserable, emotionally confused, hormone-infested, moodswinging bullseye for bullies, rose a woman that isn’t a hundred percent f*cked in the head. Puberty. Hmmmppffff. Honestly; I don’t know if I would be able to survive puberty a second time. Not sure my parents would, either.
So if there was anything I would have loved my 16year old self to know at that time, it would have probably been something like this.
I know you are far too stubborn to take advice from your future self.
I know that you think I’m full of shit, like most people are.
And I also know that you think it doesn’t matter, because you won’t live for another 15 years. Trust me, you will. Nostradamus was wrong. No comet ever demagnetised the earth’s gravity field. The world doesn’t go to smithereens in 2012. Polarities don’t shift. Only your moods do.
But first things first, here’s the bad news: You will never be Mrs Jon Bonjovi. Nor own a Pokemon in real life.
You think life can’t get much worse? It can. But fortunately you won’t have to find that out for yourself. Thinks will pick up soon after closing the gates of hell in high school. Being bullied on a daily basis has dug demon claws deep inside your skin. It will scar you for a long time, but you are much stronger than you could possibly imagine at this moment in time. So listen to me…
Those douchebags girls that bully you and speak ill about you since the very first second of your time high school? One of them is a kid from a marginal family of delinquents just trying to make herself feel better. It’s not your fault that her brother is in a court trial for theft, and that she needs you to be her personal piñata. She has no other means to get rid of the shame. She picked you, because she wishes she had the strength to rise above it in decency, like you do. She is failing school, even if she is already on a special BSO education program for intellectually challenged teens. While you are acing the toughest ASO courses with no effort what so ever. I know you don’t understand that right now, and I know you are genuinely hurt when she asks you if your mother bought new curtains and you got the leftovers to make a legging out of it. She didn’t know that you were already hurt because you didn’t fit in the pair of jeans you wanted so badly.
I know you cried for hours in bed while cutting out the chewing gum she stuck in your long auburn hair.
All the nasty comments made on your looks that made you feel fat and ugly? Take a good look at her, she is fatter than you, dear. Defend yourself against those bullies, but use your logic, not your anger. You are different, but not less and you will rise above it all soon.
In a few years, you will discover Facebook. And a couple more years later, you will search for your bullies on social media and laugh. There is that guy who bullies you by mimicking everything you say and do during lunch break. Everyone finds that so hilarious and all you want to do is just pretend that you have to study, or work on the school newspaper… so you hide in an empty classroom upstairs.
15 years later, he works in the city centre as a garbage man, runs behind a truck all day picking up stinky leftovers, while you work with your degree doing something that you feel very passionate about. I don’t want to spoil your path in life, but long story short: karma is a b*tch. That blunt cow who criticized your ambitions and your fields of interest? She’s a stay at home mum with 3 children who has nothing remotely intelligent to share. In fact, she only writes about diapers and dealing with tantrums. Boohoo, let’s cry her a river. The girl always looking in your direction, and talking that tad bit too loud about how fat you are? She dreamed of owning a beauty salon, she is probably wondering what went wrong. Ironically, the collagen is starting to give. She looks like she is 45 years old. I think her imaginary salon doesn’t do botox.
The triplet bullies don’t really have a dog called Vicky. They don’t own a dog at all. They are just trying to work you up.
Stop wobbling the chair on 1 leg instead of 4. Sometime soon, the girl will kick the leg, the chair will slip from under your behind and you will knock the back of your head on the desk behind you. It will hurt more than all of the volleyballs combined she aimed at your face in the past.
Pick up your self esteem. The triplets are over compensating because their mother is a teacher in the same school. Everybody knows they can’t live up to her expectations. Not everyone is gifted with a pair of brains. Some children are just plain thick. She picked you as a bullseye, because you never disappoint. Because you always have the answer to the question. Because all the teachers like you.
Except that one c*nt from Chemistry.
I know you don’t like chemistry. I know the smell of her classroom deeply disturbs you. Next exam period, don’t forget to wipe your hands clean. Yes, I know you’ll only be writing biology on your hands to remember what you will need to revise during lunch break, but that teacher from Chemistry will be firmly convinced you are cheating her exams. You, cheating… stop laughing. It’s not even funny. You can have a straight A+. Instead you will get a 0 and we both know you would have never needed to cheat in the first place. Stupidity is all around you, and always will be. Some people, teachers and later on bosses too, are so righteously stuck up their own arses that even if you waved evidence in their faces, they would still rather see you burn on the bonfire. Don’t worry about it. It’s not personal. Some people are just like that. In a few years, you will see them for what they really are and you will learn who is worth the worry, and who is not.
While on the topic of cheating… Stop allowing people to copy your test answers. Use your elbows, you will have to use them in a few years to get where you need to be, so better start practising. You’ll be surprised at the sheer amount of ignorance and incompetence that exists in the world. You don’t need to chase popularity by spoon feeding the idiots with good grades. They don’t like you. They don’t want to be your friend. They will not remember your name come two years from now. They only pretend to want to spend time with you because they want to copy your homework.
Don’t put any energy into these superficial “friendships” because they are going to fuck you over come next spring. You worked so hard for the team’s grades during last group project. You basically did all the legwork while they paraded with the feathers dangling from their arses. Next spring, in preparation for a school trip to Lille, they will choose to cast you out of the group. They will clique with two other girls, you won’t be part of it. Instead, you will be forced to join another group, that unfortunately missed one member. You will have to join the barbie group. The ‘cool kids’ will abandon you in the middle of Lille, all by yourself, while getting a drink. They don’t want to be seen with you.
They are shallow, don’t heart the rejection.
You will finish the whole trip in solitude, heartbroken but with an amazing journey review essay. Your barbie group will try to pressure you into sharing your report with them. Instead of doing the research, they went shopping. You will tell them to go fuck themselves and it will feel awesome.
Do you want to know why that superficial friend abandoned you in the first place? Remember starting to learn to play saxophone together in the band? You remember how she completely tormented that instrument and gave up after a few lessons? You intimidated her by being able to just read music notes on the fly and playing an instrument as if you had done so for many months. She is jealous of you. Women don’t generally want to hang around other women who are smarter, prettier or funnier than them. Keep that in mind, it will save you a lot of deceit in the future. Don’t be heartbroken. Feel proud instead. If people don’t invest in you to the same extent you invest in them, it’s an unfair trade. Just move on.
Speaking of deceit. Stop buying those album cd’s filled with music that you don’t like. You know you only buy them because you can borrow them out to people you are trying to befriend. They don’t care about you, nor your cd’s. They think you are weird because you are the only one in class who pays attention in history. Stop fooling yourself. You like cold hard metal rock. You always have, you always will. Instead of infatuating yourself with R&B pop culture bullox, listen to your father’s music collection. In 15 years, you will discover the music of his era and you will spend the majority of your days browsing youtube listening to it anyway.
I know that you think everything about you is so not cool. It will take you a few years to realize that it’s quite the contrary. It may comfort you to know that the “popular” teens do not seem to stay that way for very many years after graduation. High school is not an indicator of who you are or what you are capable of. Stop pretending to be a gray mouse and cultivate that which is unique about yourself.
Not everyone is going to like you. Some people will dislike you for any reason…or for no reason at all. That’s their problem, not yours. So, stop torturing yourself about not fitting in. It’s your thing, and you even manage to turn it into a charm. You are awesome, in a weird square peg sort of way.
In just a few years’ time, it will become cool to be a nerd.
The eccentric, intelligent geeks are running the country. Soon, you will stop people in their tracks by just telling them your profession. The little animal doodles you draw on the chalkboard and on the desks? I’d keep drawing them 😉 You like to take refuge in a fantasy world, surrounded by fascinating characters that sprouted from your imagination. This does not make you a weirdo. It makes you an artist. And that’s the last thing I will mention about your professional path in life.
The faster you realize that being rebellious is a waste of time, the better. You are a lazy runt. Even in 15 years, you still are. Being rebellious takes a lot of effort so it’s easier to just be lazy instead. Besides, there is nothing wrong with being a good girl. It’s okay to leave people wondering about you without leaving a permanent mark on them. You will see what I mean, after that first high school reunion. The first and the last for that matter. You will find closure, you will move on, and you will not feel the need anymore to be confronted with your demons of the past.
Stop punishing yourself for eating those waffles in secret. You should stop eating them regardless but I know you won’t. You still eat them a decade later, although not in secret any more. But your metabolism is about to throw in the towel, so if you ever want to build a healthy lifestyle, now is probably your last chance.
Last but not least, here’s a couple of short little advices that will change your life alltogether:
- Write it down. Your memory is shit even though you won’t ever admit it
- There’s no better time than now. Stop cultivating that procrastinator mentality. I’m still trying to get rid of the bad habits as I’m writing this.
- Don’t settle for less than what you deserve in relationships
- Trust your intuition and the vibes you get from people. Really, do it. Men call it paranoia. We call it I’m not fucking stupid.
- Mom knows everything. EVERYTHING.
- Next year, she will make you the prettiest prom dress you will ever own.
- Be kind to everyone. People remember kindness more than graduation results.
- Invest all your money in Facebook and Microsoft. You will thank me later.
I know that it all seems a bit much to handle right now, but hang in there. In two years time, you will start to enjoy the journey to adulthood. And Cervantes is right. The journey is more interesting than the inn.
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about to learn how to dance in the rain.
Take care. You can do it.
Every year, around this period of time, during my daily commute, I get confronted with a flock of school kids venturing back into the jungle which is high school. And I know for a fact, that each year, there will be children and teenagers who are being treated the exact same as I was. Who have been bullied for all the wrong reasons and who have occasionally wondered if “this thing called life” was worth the bother at all. So if your friend/teen/child/neighbour/etc gets bullied, or is being the bully himself… please speak up and inform the responsible authorities because they will be too scared to do so themselves. There is no greater injustice in this world than a child being tormented in school by another’s cruelty. Take that from someone’s who had front seat view in that department.
To combat bullying, Singapore-based society Coalition Against Bullying for Children and Youth launched an animated film in an attempt to tackle the problematic in 2014. I have used some of their stills and interpreted their imagery to fit my very own personal story. I reworked them, but all originals and copyright belongs to them. You can see the whole movie here.