10 Things I’d Say to 15-Year-Old Me

You know what I love doing?

Looking back at old pictures from middle school/early high school.

I mean, the fashions, the hair styles, the flip phones, the boys I had crushes on. It is just a blast from the past.

And let’s be real, it wasn’t thaaat long ago. But given every twist and turn my life has taken thus far, it feels like a lot of life has been lived since then.


I developed anorexia when I was 16. And looking back and reflecting on those delicate and formative years, I can see traces of the disease creep in at various points in my adolescence.

I think we all have things on our hearts that -in hindsight- we wish we could say to our former selves. Nuggets of sage wisdom that could have been helpful.

So here’s 10 things I would say, given everything I know now. Things that recovered me would say to a budding young me, on the brink of succumbing to what would be a long battle with ED.


Dear Fifteen-Year-Old Me,

Freshman year can be a pretty scary time. New high school. Older boys. Drivers licenses. Changing bodies. Navigating it can be tough. So here’s a little help…

1. Relationships are important. Invest in the people who know who you really are, and love every quirk and imperfection. At a sleepover, if you can’t wear your retainer or walk around in sweats with them…reevaluate.


2. Mischa Barton from The OC is pretty awesome, but you don’t need a boy to rescue you. And while we’re at it: stop idolizing her body type. You’re not 5’10.” You never will be. And  being waif-thin is not something to gamble your life for.

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3. Everyone’s bodies change at different paces. No, your body may not look like your voluptuous friend, but that doesn’t make you any less beautiful, or any less worthy of being loved. Just be patient. Bikinis aren’t everything. And being able to fill out a Victoria’s Secret bikini isn’t the “be all, end all.” Nor is having your ribs show.

4. Boys will say a lot of things. Good and bad. But never let that determine how you feel about yourself. Or how you dress. Or wear your hair. Or who you’re friends with.


5. Knowing the dance to High School Musical is great, but that’s not real life. High school is not idealistic, and boys won’t serenade you like Zac Efron. Don’t expect them to.

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6. Don’t dismiss people because they belong to a certain “group.” People are people. And they can surprise you. But you have to give them a chance. And the “cool” table, is full of just people.

7. Just have a damn beer.

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8. Getting good grades is important, but not at the expense of your mental health. Get a B. You will be okay. Perfection is stupid.

9. Don’t do the beauty pageant. Just don’t do it. There’s more to you than your outer beauty. Being judged by how you look in a bikini is frankly stupid. You are so much more than that. Oh yeah – and stop going to the tanning bed. Like, immediately. Your skin will thank you later.

10. You are enough. Just as you are. You don’t have to be the lead in every school play. You don’t have to play varsity sports. You don’t have to sit at the “cool” table. You don’t have to get straight A’s. You don’t have to wear a size 0. You are enough. Just by being you. You don’t have to earn your worth. Your worth was established when Jesus went to the cross.


11. Let people love you. The real you. You don’t have to put on the air of not caring what other people think. You have feelings and emotions, and that’s important. Honor them. Feel them. Share them. Your heart is a beautiful temple. Protect it, but don’t be afraid to show it.

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High school is kinda like a big game of poker. Everybody has insecurities. Everybody’s in the same boat, a little bit over their head, just trying to figure it out. And everybody’s trying to put on their best poker face that they’ve got it all together. Spoiler alert: they don’t.


The sooner you realize that you are beautiful just as you are, and that your worth doesn’t come from any of these superficial things, the more abundantly you will live.

Respect and accept your body. Listen to your parents. Stop striving for perfection.

You are enough. Right now.

Love,

Your older and wiser self 😉

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BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

296 thoughts on “10 Things I’d Say to 15-Year-Old Me

  1. Love this: At a sleepover, if you can’t wear your retainer or walk around in sweats with them…reevaluate. Same thing goes for if you feel you can’t invite them to your imperfect, modest, not always clean house without them thinking less of you, they aren’t worth your time. Perfectionism is unattainable, and trying to attain it will actually make you less than what you are. I have held off from even trying to do certain things because I’m afraid it won’t be good enough. A psychologist one told me people say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well should be, ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing’.” I mean, how many ways can you put a loaf of bread on a shelf, is what my manager of a grocery store many years ago told me. As far as letting people love you, same thing goes for compliments. Just say “thank you”. Don’t be a humblebrag (that’s worse than being a braggadoccio). Accept them graciously, but don’t be overly effusive, because you will embarrass them. Great post!

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  2. For we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Thanks for sharing. Frankly I think some of what you say applies to adults too. Until we learn to love ourselves the way God made us, we will always think there is something wrong with us.

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  3. I had to stop at #8… that one really hit for me. A month ago, I was going through some difficulty with anxiety, and I was talking to a friend… and said those exact words. I will get good grades but NOT at the expense of my mental health. Quick note. Sorry if I’m bombarding your notifications, but I can really relate to your blog.. This is crazy.. and wonderful 🙂 Thank you.

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    1. Hi again friend! Oh my gosh, no worries at all! I am so honored that you would take the time to read my posts and respond! so thank you! I’m glad you could relate. You’re so right, there are some things that are just more important that perfect grades when it comes right down to it. have a beautiful weekend! hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so awesome! I wrote a letter to myself at seventeen as a blog post, and it’s so therapeutic! I hope it has brought you healing love ❤

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  5. Hello Caralyn, thanks for liking my article: ‘Christianity on Trial (Biblical Evidence)’, I really appreciate it. I’ve read a couple of your posts and I’ve just got to commend you on your writing prowess and your ability to express yourself with such honesty. It’s quite refreshing I tell you. Even your name’s honest if that’s possible(how ironic coming from the guy who’s named Adeyinka) haha. But, jokes aside from my observations you’ve touched and are still touching lots of people with ‘beautybeyondbones’ so keep it up Caralyn it’s great thing you’re doing on here.

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  6. A wonderful piece. The honesty and vulnerability you reveal cause the reader to connect deeply to your thoughts and emotions.

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  7. Hello BBB,

    New to your blog. Found it due to your comment on my blog post about Dr. Campbell-McBride’s shocking words to GAPS practitioners.

    As a Gut & Psychology Syndrome consultant I know ED is a result of the disruption of gut flora early in life which changes how the brain functions (emotions, thoughts, perceptions, etc.).

    I’m trying to learn more about how this all fits together (the chicken and egg question) and appreciate the current wisdom shared with your 15 year old self. It does give me insight into the decisions of that 15 year old girl.

    Hopefully I will continue to learn from people like you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “7. Just have a damn beer.”
    Haha, well, I don’t think I’ll go for a beer but I’ll take that box of chocolates. I get what you mean. Treat yourself. I’m currently fifteen years old, but already have a serious sugar addiction. I’ll keep your pointers in mind, except for number seven. I’ve taken too many chocolates for my own good.

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  9. You are right about being enough, perfection is so over rated as if anyone was to become perfect there would be nothing to strive for
    They could also become unbearable to live with, so imperfection will do me until the day I am made perfect by God

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    1. Hey again Graham, thanks for this. You’re right – perfection is impossible. One One Man was perfect 🙂 haha yeah, I feel ya there. I’ll embrace my imperfection until that day! 🙂 big hugs xox

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