A Guest Post: A Letter to My High School Self

The following letter is republished with permission from its original author.

Dear High School Me,

When I look back at you, I see a girl who felt trapped in high school. You were the popular, pretty cheerleader, but you were also known as the Party Girl. People knew you were the one who liked to have a little too much fun. You didn’t know your limits, and you did not know your worth. In the moment, you didn’t always know what you were supposed to do. However, the lessons you learned are ones you can bring to use now that you are older.

You dated on and off, you and the star baseball player, for all four years in high school. You thought you were so in love with this boy. You even told people you were going to get married. Most people that hung out with you honestly thought you would, which is crazy to look back on now. As the years continued to pass by, you only saw the good qualities in him, but a couple of your friends saw the bad ones. You didn’t buy into their warnings, or even listen to them, because you were so caught up with what was wonderful and addictive about him. As his senior year came to an end and summer began, you finally started seeing it, too — some of those bad traits — but you didn’t want to believe they were real. But the truth was, he was toxic for you. He made you feel guilty, not good enough. You were fighting with him more than you actually spoke. So many mind games were going on. You tried to finally cut things off, then you seriously thought you were going to die without him. You thought about doing that…dying. It hurt far more than you could put into words, and it was so hard to explain the heartbreak you felt to others.

Knowing what you know now, would you change anything? You wouldn’t.

You still believe some people are not meant to be in your life, but instead they end up teaching you lessons about yourself. You cannot make someone change, and as much as you love each other, they will not always stay with you. People are not always good for each other, and sometimes you cannot make it work as much as you want it to. Learn to be patient with yourself. It took forever for you to let go of him, and it was one of the hardest things you have ever done. But you lived.

In Sacha Z. Scoblic’s “Rock Star, Meet Teetotaler” the New York Times guest blogger expressed herself as a newly-established teetotaler and what it felt like to be one of those. She’d been a “hardcore” drinker and partier in her past, the person who could hang in there all night long in every situation, and she knew she had to stop that kind of living. It was a life-or-death situation for her.

She believed she would be judged for not drinking anymore, so Scoblic was quick to assure people that “I’m still fun,” even though she felt stupid having to remind people of that fact. People who didn’t drink were “vanilla” in her eyes, vanilla meaning, to her, to be “uptight squares who wanted me to treat my body like a temple, take Jesus Christ as my savior and drink Kool-Aid with them at mixers in church basements.”

She had friends who were perfectly okay with her not drinking, so why was it so hard to be sober?

Right after your break up, a monster started living within you, during your senior year. Drugs. The breakup had destroyed you and you were kicked off the cheerleading team for partying too much. It brought you so far down, you thought you would never be yourself again. You’d always casually smoked marijuana, but now you were addicted to it. The sad thing is, you never even saw it. You were a pothead, a stoner.

You surrounded yourself with those same kinds of people. Almost every day, you smoked at least one joint, and if you didn’t, you craved it. If you could just smoke, it would take all the pain away for a little while.

You never in a million years thought you would end up being that kind of girl.

Your mom learned everything; you had to quit, and that was when you finally realized you were addicted. All the traits of an addict were there: the withdrawals, you couldn’t quit even when you said you would, one joint was never enough. You wasted more than half of your senior year on marijuana. Almost every football game, you left early because you were too high to be there, or you just wouldn’t go at all because you would rather get high. It was a crutch. You have a bad memory now, and you can’t concentrate. There’s damage. When you think about the past, you see now that it was a toxic substance you used to forget about a toxic person in your life, both of which you had to let go of.

Now you can’t stand to watch people let drugs take over their lives.

In life, you’ve got to closely pick out who is good for you and what is good for you. You’ll get burned a few times, but you can always learn from your mistakes. Take those lessons you learn and carry them into the new situations that present themselves. Cutting people, or substances, out of your life is not an easy thing to do. Even though the boy didn’t come back into your life, you could not be happier with where you are today. Be patient. It can be such a poison to your well-being, harming your life without you even realizing it. Do not let drugs take over your life. It will be a downward spiral from the very start, I promise you. Don’t let anyone change you, and do not change for anything or anyone else. If they are meant to be in your life, you will know. They will come back to you at the right time.

Remember. You are worthy of so much more!

Love,

Still You, just Older and Wiser

For more great reads on topics like this, check out:

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Beautiful by Amy Reed

Did I Mention I Love You (trilogy) by Estelle Maskame

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About Dawn Quarles

Dawn Quarles is a high school political science and American history teacher who moonlights as a blogger and writer. She lives on Pensacola Beach, Florida.

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