I was so confused, self conscious and afraid when I was thirteen years old. I had just gotten my period, I was underweight and I had no idea if I was supposed to be playing with dolls or smoking with the kids at school. I couldn’t even buy my clothes in the 13-14 yr section, because I was too small. The only thing I was certain of, was that I was really depressed and tired all the time, and the only thing I really was afraid of, was: When will this pass, will it ever pass?
So if I could give that small, scared girl some advice, I’d tell her this:
- Pull your hair back. All of it.
- You’re not anorexic, your body is changing, adapting and growing, you’re going to turn out perfectly fine.
- Stop comparing yourself.
- Having your period isn’t gross or weird, you’re not different, and you’re not dirty. Learn to use a tampon instead of a pad, and claim your womanliness, it’s natural, and it’s beautiful.
- Talk to Mom about your feelings! She wants to help you and support you, and she’s got some bomb-ass advice that can help you now, instead of a year from now, when you’ll actually realize you need it.
- They’re not your real friends, stick it out, the best friends are coming!
- Never gossip, never lie, never give in to peer pressure.
- Smoking isn’t cool.
- Boys DO have coodies. Forget about them and focus on developing yourself. Their coodies will break your heart, and leave you all alone.
- 13 and never been kissed? GOOD FOR YOU!
- Play, dress-up, hunt with Dad, laugh, build a fort, do whatever you feel like, really.
- You WILL meet your prince charming, he DOES exist.
- Being a tomboy is kinda cool, despite what other girls are saying about you.
- School is temporary.
- Bullying is temporary – also, learn to punch someone in the face – especially inappropriate boys.
- You’re beautiful, and the girls around you are going through the same things you are, reach out to them, by supporting them, you’ll feel supported too.
- Blood is thicker than water – reach out to family.
- Yes, you are depressed, don’t downplay your feelings, speak to Mom, Dad or anyone at home. You matter, you’re relevant, you’re strong, so love yourself.
Puberty is cruel and hard, and teenagers tend to be so rude to each other during this phase. I remember not wanting to speak to my parents about it, but I can’t exactly remember why. Women need to be more supportive from an earlier age. Looking back, and talking to my friends about that phase, all of us felt lonely, none of us felt like we could talk about all the confusion we felt. We always felt judged. We felt alone, and judged and awkward. We weren’t kids anymore, but more than half my friends still played with dolls without telling one another, we weren’t adults yet, but we started to notice our bodies changing, and our feelings changing, but never, not once, did we talk about it with each other.
If I’m ever blessed to have a daughter of my own, I pray that she will be confident, and strong, and that she will talk to me, and that she’ll know how relevant and amazing she is. Every woman on this earth is amazing, and strong and capable and loving, we just need to reach out to one another more.