I've toyed with the idea of writing a post like this for quite a while. Haven't we all, at some point, wished that there was a way to somehow communicate to our younger selves that everything would be okay, a la Bruce Willis in The Kid? Well, I have, so I'm going to dole out a little advice to teenage Ash. Hope you don't mind.
17... and knew it all. Right?
Oh, little girl. You are a trip. It's funny how outgoing you are while being painfully insecure at the same time. (Sorry, that never completely goes away.) While you are stumbling through the scary abyss that is your teen years, I guess I should warn you of a few things. After all, I've been there.
Don't be scared to start wearing makeup. In fact, take it easy on the eye shadow there, tiger. You'll be so excited about FINALLY leaving your tomboy roots behind (kind of) that you'll get a little heavy-handed. It's okay... everyone else is breaking out, too. The zits eventually clear out, mostly.
You know that group of boys that loves to torment you at school every day? Believe them when they say they "only do it because you can take it." It just feels cruel (and it's a little mean, yes) but they, in their dumb boy ways, actually like you. I think. Just tell yourself that, anyway. It's not as malicious as it seems. And don't you let them make you feel like Princess Mia, pre-makeover. That part is mean, I admit.
Don't feel like a loser because you're the only one who doesn't "get" the conversations going on about stuff you really shouldn't know. I don't blame you for playing along, but just be glad that you're faking it and hold onto your innocence a little longer. A lot of those kids wish they had.
Take notes in English class. It'll come in handy pretty soon... and your teacher is a master. Learn her ways.
PLEASE... for my sake, enjoy the size/weight that you are. You're active, healthy, and VERY SKINNY... enjoy it. Say hello to all those size 4's for me and chug Mountain Dew whenever you want. It will all come crashing down around you soon enough. And while we're on the subject, take better care of yourself. Metabolism is a fickle woman... and she'll turn on you before you know it. Let exercise be your friend. (HA.)
Hide your retainer... Mom's going to go on a cleaning spree in your room and throw it away. Your teeth will become crooked and all the pain of braces will be a total loss. Just a head's up.
The time you spend teaching yourself to spin the basketball on your finger is, believe it or not, a pretty good investment. It will impress the boys you teach for years to come.
Listen to Mom and Dad. Even though you are just soooo misunderstood and they are seem soooo clueless about your angst.... in a few years, you genuinely won't even be able to conjure up the reason for one single argument. So, obviously none of them really matter. And (irony) you'll end up talking to Mom a LOT... like, multiple times a day. So just work at being a little more pleasant.
PLUCK YOUR EYEBROWS. Oh, honey... just do it. The pain gets better, and your eyes won't be hidden by the bushes growing on top of them.
A few things are going to be really, really hard... like moving across the country, then another 400 miles away all within a few months of each other. Some friends won't stick. That's okay... be thankful for the time you did have. And the ones who do are still your best friends today. Keep smiling!
Even when it seems not that cool, or just plain dull, stay on the road you're on. I promise, no experimenting or testing your limits is worth it. You'll thank yourself when you turn around and see those who went the other way. Not pretty. (By the way, you'll grieve for those friends... and pray for them. Because no matter what, they're your friends and you love them.)
Try (a little) not to fight so much with your sisters. None of the clothes you're fighting over are that cute, anyway. One day they'll all live far away and you will miss them tremendously. But, fight or not, you'll always send them a Christmas card and their children will love you, no matter what April says. =)
Go ahead, be the class clown... you'll be paid back plus interest by your future students.
You'll try out for cheerleading, and, shockingly, you'll make the squad. You'll also be the only one on the squad who knows what's going on in the game or wears a size 9 shoe. Yes, you'll feel really stupid and you won't be the best one out there, but you're not terrible. Promise.
... however, a better use of your time will be becoming the statistician in 8th grade. It'll come in handy when your husband (!!!) coaches basketball in about 10 years.
Every single guy you like up until that adorable one you fall for at 16 is going to be a big fat waste of time. Well, not entirely... but all the heartache is definitely not worth it. No offense, G, S, or A. (And yes, everyone knows... so don't bother trying to hide it. He knows, Ashley. Your attempts at subtlety are fragile at best.)
But, when you do meet the guy, you know it. He flashes those big blue eyes and that smile at you and you are going to be a goner. Don't worry... this one works out... and this
.... which turns into this:
Not bad for a girl who could never "get the guy" and was the one all the boys came to talk to about other girls. The "pal", if you will. Go ahead... drool a little and then smirk for a while. I give you permission.
You crazy kid. I envy your endless supply of energy, your ability to be excited about another day, simply because you think something fun might happen, and your (endearing if misguided) belief that you know exactly what you'll be doing "when you grow up." Your plans, if I remember correctly, aren't really that far off... teaching, married to a wonderful guy, serving the Lord, etc. And while the guy in your dreams changed a few times and you weren't sure when or where everything would work out, it does. And what you get is better than what you planned. Pretty cool how that works.
Chin up, Squints. Everything turns out just fine... I promise.