Because if I only knew then what I know now…
Dear High School Alex,
You really care too much. About what people think of you, school, fitting in, guys. I mean, you know none of it matters, right? You’re going to go to college, get a job and learn that life is ultimately pointless and the most you can hope for is a good relationship with a dog before you die—mainly because the dog will then be able to alert your neighbors of your death by barking incessantly because it has some bizarre intuition/after a while it will want food.
Let’s start with boys. First of all, stop trying to fit in with all the senior boys. You’re just a freshman. This is your time to try in vain to make new friends your age, and fail at different elective courses, and hate yourself even more when trying out for the soccer team. Don’t get distracted by these magical, dangerous, older boys. The only thing you’ll get from them is a sloppy drunken make out session and a huge gash on the back of your ankle from trying to climb down the unfathomably jagged concrete stairs at one of their apartments, which will be worse than any shaving cut you could ever give yourself. And that scar will never heal. So that’s some symbolic shit.
Fuck guys—don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to be colossally disappointed by them later on in life. For now, focus on getting to know yourself. But lower your expectations—you’re going to change a lot over the 4 high school years, and then even more in college, and then even more when you go adulting. So just go with the flow, man. Roll with those punches. You’re going to want to be a perfectionist, but spoiler alert: perfection is a mirage. So quit taking your homework so seriously, and feeling like you have to take ALL the AP classes, and be in ALL the honor societies and get ALL the awards—you’ll never catch up to the cloistered, pretentious, God-fearing little goody two-shoes valedictorian who you’ll get into a debate with over abortion rights and she’ll cry, not because you said anything offensive, but because she’s a pussy who can’t handle intelligent discussion over the merits of religious moral authority.
In other words: there’s always going to be someone who wins more than you, so really stop trying so hard to catch up. That doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough, it just means you get to give less fucks. Which is the end goal. On our death bed, we want to give equal to or less than 0 fucks. So you may as well start early. And this goes not just for guys, and academics, but making friends, too. There are going to be those girls who seem just so effortlessly cool, and like everyone loves them, and their friends are part of this secret club where life is just more seamless and sooo creative. But let me save you some heartache—those girls are manipulative sociopaths, and that’s how they pull everyone into their web of lies. You won’t see this going in, and before you know it, you’ll be the fly—caught, helpless, while they continue conquering their prey.
And you are NOT a fly. You are not prey, you are not a victim, and you are not as uncool and in need of validation as you think. You don’t need these capricious foes. Yeah, it may be lonely, but at least you’ll be free. Free to be yourself, free to be unapologetic, free to not be made to feel less than. The girls who seem like they have it all peak in high school (it’s really too bad that you didn’t see Mean Girls until after you graduated). And then they all become fat secretaries. You don’t want to be that. You don’t need to be that. What you need to do is work on finding your own center, and grounding yourself in that, because if you think high school is bad, just wait for the rest of your life—it’s awful (cue all the psychology students’ concern for my mental health). But it will be a lot easier to navigate if, at the end of every moment, you have a strong sense of yourself to come back to.
This is all a long way of saying whatever. Fuck everyone and everything in high school. People who like high school are not our people. They’re like people who don’t enjoy pizza and do enjoy running—we just don’t get them. High school seems so permanent, but it’s really the most fleeting thing (outside of your skinny prepubescent body and Britney Spears’ sanity). You just have to get through it, so that as you walk across the stage at graduation, you can bid everyone ADIEU and GOOD RIDDANCE with your middle finger held high.
I won’t say good luck, because I hate when people say good luck (it just makes me hope they fall down a spiral staircase), so I’ll just leave you with see you on the other side. Where, I promise, the grass really is greener (I mean, I don’t know because I never leave my bed, but I hear it’s lovely outside).
Present Day Alex
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