Here’s the thing. Being awkward, learning things the hard way, and diving into puberty face-first seems to be a reality for most 10 year olds. Hell, the reality is that my experiences are similar to probably thousands of others who went through life as a gawky, uncomfortable pre-teen. But there’s some fun in reliving those experiences.
I came of age surrounded by the latest “it thing”, years after 9/11. I struggled with embracing my dark skin, a struggle that took me years and many faulty remedies to come to terms with. Learning about sex was scandalously delicious, but hey, once I knew, I knew, and it served to blow my mind.
Of course, there are a few realizations I wish I had made a little sooner. I’ve written a few of them out – so enjoy.
1. It’s okay to want to play with the boys. Girls are cool too, but Bratz dolls and shimmery lip-gloss are not in your agenda right now.
Don’t feel bad when people try to ridicule you for wanting to play with the guys and “act like a guy” – because guess what? You’re a totally kick ass GIRL who can do anything she damn well pleases. But honey please, ditch the XXXL T-shirts from Footlocker and those horribly atrocious sweaters you secretly stole from your uncles, you’ll eventually get some curves and want to flaunt it.
2. Boobs will eventually appear… Well, kind of.
Those little knobs that all the girls are sprouting on their chests while you’re still flat as a washboard? Yeah, they’ll only grow a little more but it’s okay because it makes running and working out a lot less of a hassle. You also won’t feel as self-conscious wearing a blouse. Boobs are overrated anyways… At least, that’s what you’re still trying to convince yourself. Just stop begging your mom to buy you the trainers all the girls were showing off in the bathrooms; escape the prison that is a bra while you can.
3. You will only get taller, stop hunching your shoulders and appreciate the fact that you loom over those other losers who give you shit for your height.
Those kids are small for a reason: their intelligence is directly proportionate to their height. The annoying “whoa, you’re tall!” and “you should play basketball!” comments will eventually stop when people start to catch up to your height and the boys finally pass you, just be patient. You’ll learn to love your height and guess what! You qualify for America’s Next Top Model so who’s the real winner? This Amazonian.
4. Keep writing. You’ll be the next Ann M. Martin one day!
You may feel like an idiot attempting to write poetry and little snippets of stories when you don’t even really know what onomatopoeia is (or how to even spell it, thanks spellcheck) but don’t worry, you’ll get better. You’ll even enter competitions and win awards! Continue to fuel your imagination with books; don’t be so afraid to read, because guess what? Those kids who called you a nerd (btw, being a nerd is going to be cool in a few years!) for always having a few books in your bag won’t get very far in life. Although your vision will suffer, your mind and soul will not.
5. Stop overanalyzing horribly embarrassing moments because boo, you’re going to have so many in the future you won’t be able to keep up.
Your overwhelming dorkiness will never ever go away, but you’ll eventually learn how to mask it – or at least, you think you have. You’ll trip, fall, struggle to filter what you say but it’s okay; you’ll soon learn self-deprecation is a great defense mechanism. You’ll never really learn how to stop going off on crazy tangents on random things, but some people will love that passion and that’s all that matters. You’ll even create a blog entitled “dorkiibabii” (yes, the double ii’s were ACTUALLY your idea of trendy) but that’s a dark tale for another time. You’ll find the light at the end of the tunnel, young dorky grasshopper.
6. You will continue to lose friends and gain friends, but will forever be surrounded by the coolest, strongest people ever.
Okay, so this is going to be a little sappy but you are seriously going to be surrounded by some great people. You may be feeling crappy now because every year it feels like your closest friends are moving to different schools, getting assigned to different recess periods, or just being dumb in general for not liking the same things you do but it’s okay. You’ll gain new friends, some who will stay and revolutionize your mind and others who, well, don’t. They’ll want to see you fall and ridicule you, but you won’t let them. Not to sound too Seventeen Magazine, but your real friends will always remind you how kick-ass you are, and assist you in your journey to becoming the greatest, most radical person you can be.