Dear 13 year-old Joanne,
It hasn’t been long and you’ll only be 20 when you’re writing this. Almost 21 in 4 months. But because you think you’re a deep and intuitive teenager, you find the need to do stuff like this. But regardless, let’s get started and I’ll try and give you advice from my 20 year-old perspective.
You will have just started high school right about now and you currently have 3 awesome friends. Unfortunately, only one will remain your friend and she is still pretty cool to be with. You’re going to encounter many, many people that you may think are right for you but you’ll learn eventually that they aren’t. You will be in 5 different relationships from then till now. You will only really love one. The others will forever shape your perspective on relationships and life itself and you will grow up to be a very kind, and energetic human being. So don’t worry about meeting people in the wrong crowd, because you will know better than to do something you will regret for the rest of your life.
Your parents are going to give you the freedom you hoped for and they are going to trust you with their lives that you’ll do the right thing. High school will seem hard in the beginning but it gets better. You’re going to get betrayed by your closest friends but you’re going to meet your lifelong friends along the way. You’re going to be the scapegoat for this one problem at school, you’re going to be devastated, and you’re going to be all alone. But don’t worry, you’ve already hit rock bottom, it’s only just the beginning. You will meet a new group of friends and fall in love all over again. Of course there will be minor teenage problems but you’ll survive. People love you because you are genuine and sincere, so don’t change. You are going to fall in love with your best friend and it’ll be painful at first because he won’t love you back, but you guys will be together eventually, and only for a short time span. After you guys break up, you will lose touch with him for the next 3 to 4 years. But don’t stress, he will be one of the most reliable and trustworthy friend you will ever have. After that, you’re going to meet this amazing boy and he is going to break your heart. Before I start, I would advise you be single for the rest of the time being in high school but we both know that won’t happen. You are going to feel like you died a little inside but I promise, it’ll be okay. And when you think about him later on, stop comparing him to everyone else you meet. It’s not helping.
You are going to fall in love with high school, so please enjoy it as much as you can. Do stupid stuff (not drugs), and be positive. The last year of high school is going to be the highlight of your life, for now. I wouldn’t change any part of grade 12 because it was utterly perfect. I cannot have imagined a more perfect and loving graduation class.
Oh I forgot to mention, you are going to go to Dominican Republic in grade 11 to volunteer with Megan and it is going to change your life! It is going to be the biggest culture shock and you are going to change your perspective towards life forever. I swear. You won’t want to go at first, but please do, you won’t regret it.
However, as much as you enjoyed your last year of high school, it’s going to be hard, academically speaking. You are going to get accepted into your dream university, and then rejected. This will happen 3 times within 4 months. You are going to cry yourself to sleep because you will feel like you’re a disappointment and failure among all you friends and family. The moment you finally settle for college and are content with your situation you will have gotten accepted into university again. It’s going to seem tough, and you will get a tattoo based on this traumatic experience. Don’t worry though, as of right now you still love your tattoo. You have another one your neck by the way, you’ll get it when you’re in grade 10.
Once you get into university, it’ll be a blur. Time passes by ridiculously fast there and you’re not going to meet many friends but you will have a steady group of people you rely on outside of school. Your best friend is going to leave you to go school a couple hours away. You guys are going to have a huge falling out, not because she’s far though, but because she doesn’t trust you and till this day you don’t even know if you fucked up or not. As upsetting as this sounds, you will realize who is really there for you when you needed them most and you only have to remember 3 names. Chantal, Megan and Chantal again.
Throughout the years you are going to be very insecure about yourself. You’re going to think your fat and ugly. But you’re not, so stop being so critical about yourself and fuck everyone else’ opinions. Don’t be so worried about what other’s think of you because you have a great personality and people will love you. No matter how much you weigh, you won’t be happy because you feel like you can be skinnier. You will stop eating for a while and be a size 0. But you’ll learn that size is not everything, and you will slowly gain confidence in yourself.
During your third year of university, you will have just broken up with your most recent boyfriend. He will be one of the best boyfriends you will have ever had. And he’s truly the only person in the world that will love you for your flaws. He will make you feel good about yourself, make you feel loved, and most importantly you learn to love yourself when you’re with him. You won’t really understand why you broke up with him, because I still don’t, but you know he deserves better than what you can give to him. He will love you forever despite what you think, or what I think, because his love for you is unconditional.
Your relationship with your parents gradually gets worse. Not the “I hate you mom and dad because we fight every day” worse, but the “you don’t have anything to say to them” worse. You won’t know how to fix it because I still don’t know. Your relationship with your siblings seem distant at times, but only because everyone is busy with their own schedules, you guys barely manage to communicate on a daily basis!
All in all, you are going to be all right. You’re a strong and determined girl, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Oh, and don’t stop smiling, you have a great smile. People seem to tell you so.