Freshman year. The start of high school feels like the start of everything. You feel like you’ve never seen so many people crowded in one place before. All going different directions, all with their own agendas. You don’t feel insecure yet which is a good thing, but it’s mainly because you’re so naïeve. High school will slowly chip away at that naïevity and begin to bring out those insecurities. In some ways, it’s necessary, because you need to grow up and realize that not everyone was raised the same way as you. In other ways, being insecure sucks so you’ll struggle with that along with every other teenage girl. And I hate to break it to ya, but you should probably realize that high school will be nothing like the movies, i.e. Mean Girls, High School Musical, or anything else on Disney Channel for that matter…
First things first, your acne will clear. Don’t fret about it too much and please stop putting so much concealer on your face. You know you’re just making it worse. And I know that braces suck too but they’ll come off sometime in your sophomore year. Sadly, because your vision is awful you will have to wear glasses forever because contacts still freak you out, even to this very day. Eventually, you’ll get some frames you actually like and look good on your face so you don’t hate wearing them as much.
You are incredibly shy but you kind of know how to handle your shyness which is surprising for someone of your age. Making new friends is hard as well as speaking up in class. There’s nothing wrong with being shy and you’ll eventually learn where your voice resides and how to use it to speak up, but I’m afraid making new friends will always be difficult. Sorry kid.
There is some good news, though, you will meet one of the most influential teachers of your high school years. She’s the epitome of punk rock and espresso, she looks like she just stepped out of a french café and she will be one of your best friends one day. Although you won’t actually be friends until the end of your junior year, she still has more influence on you than you realize. You should speak up more in her class so that she knows that you care about learning. I know it’s hard but just try.
It’s okay to like school. Don’t think that it makes you a “nerd” (and even if it does, so what) because doing well in school is not something to be ashamed about. There will be people who make fun of you for sitting near the front of the room and taking notes in class. You will be tempted to pack up your notebooks and drone out the teacher like the rest of the class, but don’t do it. They will make fun of you for actually reading the book and not just getting the spark notes. They will also think you’re crazy for actually liking the book. Please, please, don’t let them get to you. Reading is one of the few sanctuaries we get in life, being able to escape into a book is a fantastic thing. Go to that sanctuary as often as you can and soak up all the knowledge that you can just like the little sponge you know you are.
You will have so many people pouring into you this year and continuing into the next four years. You should really appreciate them more. They are giving up so much of their time and energy to spend with you and teach you more about the Lord (which is not an easy task). You mean a lot to them and they want to see you grow spiritually as well as mentally and socially and in any other way for a young, naïeve, teenage girl to become a more mature follower of Christ. Since I decided to follow Christ the summer before freshman year started, I was just a baby Christian going into high school. So thank you to the senior who made me, a freshman, feel so much more important because “oh my gosh, I can’t believe a senior actually wants to hang out with me.” Thank you to my former gym coach-turned youth pastor and was the “momma” of the church and was exactly the role model I needed at the time. And thanks to the many others who were instrumental in my freshman year. A simple and vague thank you note won’t suffice, but for now, I’m afraid it’ll have to do.
I realize that you’ve been super passive in most of your relationships up until now. You were really good at taking punches and brushing them off, without even breaking a sweat (metaphorically of course, not actual punches). Freshman year is going to hit you hard, emotionally and socially so be prepared. One of your best friends will be going through a bit of a “rough patch” for most of the year. Stay by her side through it all because she needs you more than either of you know. Every little problem might feel like the end of the world when you’re 14-years-old, and just because it isn’t the end, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about it. It’s still a big deal at the time so give it the attention that it deserves.
I wish that you would speak up and tell someone what you think the first moment something feels wrong (or when you feel like you see a giant neon sign with “Danger!” in bright bold letters across it). It’s times like this one where your shyness and your need to cause the least amount of casualties as possible snuff out that little voice inside your head that says to tell the truth. The one that says “it might be hard to say now, but it’ll be better in the long run.” You shut it out and pretend that everything is fine but now that I’ve already figured out, shutting out that little voice causes a whole other realm of pain that you didn’t even know existed. Pain that was unnecessary and that could’ve been avoided. There’s a reason that God has given you the gift of discernment, so when you see that something’s not right, say something! If you go through your life with this pit in your stomach, knowing you could’ve done something, anything to help it, then nothing’s ever going to happen.
Now, I’m going to step down off my metaphorical soap box. In lighter news, I realize that you feel like a rebel because you dyed part of your hair red. I get it, you are stuck with the braces and the acne so you just want something that you can control. A little rebellion is good every once in a while. Break from the norm, do your own thing, you’ll learn that you like your life a lot better anyways. Speaking of which, you shouldn’t even bother with the fads in fashion because they’re usually not worth it. So chill with the chevron, the Miss Me jeans, and all the Vera Bradley. (Please chill.) You’ll soon realize that you much prefer slouchy cardigans and Toms to whatever’s in the fashion magazines.
Remember you’re only 14. There’s so much more of life you have to live,