Thirteen, hey? Officially a teenager. And to go with the title, you have braces, a nose too big for your face, and a god awful haircut. Sorry, it’s harsh but true, and I had to say it because nobody else is going to tell you. Seriously, everyone will tell you they think it looks great, but it does not. It doesn’t suit your face shape, and I don’t care if it’s how Alice from Twilight styles her hair. It’s shocking. Fix it.
You’ll be in year eight this year, and let me tell you, you have one fantastic year ahead of you. This is the year you discover Doctor Who and take that final leap over the cliff into fully-fledged geekdom. One lunchtime at school, you’re going to stumble across a classroom full of people pissing themselves laughing and discover the wonderful world of high school theatre sports. You’ll meet a couple of the older kids and they’ll turn out to be great friends throughout the next couple of years. Everyone will get a little weird in French class, and you should probably get used to it, because it won’t stop. For god’s sake, choose music as a year nine elective at the end of this year, because future Chelsea is trying to get further into musical theatre and regrets never learning what a major fifth interval looks like! Please and thank you.
Speaking of theatre, you’ll be spending your thirteenth birthday there for rehearsal weekend, and it’s pretty much a sign of how you’re going to spend the rest of your teenage years. You’ll be having so much fun with the kids in the pantomime this year that you join the youth program there, and it’s definitely the right decision. Seussical will be the best musical you’ve done so far, and they keep getting better. Keep auditioning for school shows – one of them will give you the chance to play your dream role, and you’d gonna make some amazing friends! In five years time you’ll do Fame, though, and that’ll set the bar so much higher for cast bonding and backstage shenanigans – some good, some bad. But you’ll meet people who inspire you, push you to do your best, pick you up in one of the darkest times of your life, and mould you into a better person. Yeah, keep hanging out at theatre. It’ll help you become the person you need to be.
In fact, it’s this year at the theatre that you’ll meet a weird kid who wears the same blazer every day, plays ukulele, drinks too much ginger beer and hangs out of trees. You’re pretty much gonna be in love with him for like the next four years and you’ll never get the guts to tell him, so prepare yourself for that one. But it’s okay in the end – sometimes you just have to accept that people miss chances with one another for a reason, and the two of you will be amazing friends. This experience, though, is kind of a case-in-point of how you’re a little boy crazy right now. That’s okay, it can be fun! Plus, it’s a learning experience. This year, you’ll go through a bit of an emo phase where you aspire to be the princess of darkness, and in pursuit of this, you’ll snag yourself an older boyfriend who wears too much eyeliner and will write you a couple of really freaky songs. Heads up, though: he’s gonna dump you over MSN just as you’r becoming completely infatuated. But cut him some slack – he’s learning about this dating stuff just as much as you are. There are gonna be a couple of douchebags along the way, but chalk that up to experience for how to deal with these types of guys as you get older (unfortunately you’re going to need it). But there will be some great guys as well – guys who help you find out a lot about yourself and play a part in some of the most positive experiences of your teen years. And to complicate things further, the douchebags and the great guys are sometimes not mutually exclusive. Sigh.
You’re gonna cruise along just fine at school, except for maths methods. Drop that subject like a hot potato as soon as you can! You’ll have great teachers, but the fact that you don’t have a maths brain is just going to cause you stupid amounts of stress. Just accept that and take music or drama instead. Okay? I know that’ll be a hard piece of advice for you to hear, though, because you see yourself as “the smart one”. You’ll spend VCE stressing your head off – not so much about living up to other people’s expectations, but more so about living up to your self-perceived identity. If you’re not the smart one at school, what will you be? Relaxed and not having mental breakdowns at the dinner table every fortnight, that’s what! Just chill out – your ATAR is going to be way way way over what you need for Arts at Melbourne, so you may as well just go to that party, or watch that movie when you should be studying, or just go to bed before 1am from time to time!
Unfortunately, as is usually the case, life will chuck you some pretty bad shit towards the end of your teenage years. You’re going to have to deal with some things you never wanted to think about, and life will be tough for a while. But you’re going to cope with it in the best way you know how. Take comfort with your family, and your new friends from theatre. Take on those distractions – you’ll need them. You’ll learn a lot from this experience though. Combined with the influence of a guy who’s going to play a major role in your life over the next eight months or so, this negative experience will shape your outlook on life. You’ll stress less, become more spontaneous, and value every experience you have. You won’t hesitate as much and you’ll have a lot more confidence. So when things are looking a little tough throughout your teenage years, just remember that there’ll be something positive to learn from it eventually.
Seriously girl, don’t worry about your career, because six years later you’re still not gonna have a clue what you want to do with your life. Stop stressing about whether you want to be an architect, do biomedicine, teach, become a journalist, or go into graphic design. I will ask you, though, to focus a little more on theatre. It’s your passion, and sometimes your passion can guide you or give you an outlet when you just don’t know what you want to do. Don’t rule it out as an unimportant petty hobby.
So I guess this is where I leave you. I can’t offer you much more advice, because I know you’re going to make stupid decisions about your hairstyle, wear that awful outfit because you think it looks “indie”, or buy that album you hate so you can talk about it with that boy you like. These things are important, though. They help you to understand how not to be a total lame-ass for when you get older and it actually matters. Ha. No but really, don’t ever regret your mistakes. You’ll always learn from them and they’ll help you to better yourself in the end.
Best wishes and good luck,