There are things I wish I knew back when I first started blogging, at the ripe old age of 17.
Hell, there are things I wish I knew back when I started this blog, when I was 23.
I’d like to do that now. I want to address some of the bigger concerns that were floating around in that young brain. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just do the 17 year old Ally (which extended to the 17-22 year old Ally, because I have a lot of feelings.)
Dear 17 Year Old Ally:
* That girl you went to school with that you’re slowly starting to be friends with? Don’t be friends with her. I know she seems interesting and wild and ballsy, but she is literally crazy and will threaten to throw bottles at your head.
* I know at this point in your life you are super scared of anything involving drugs or alcohol, which is probably for the best. But don’t be so judgy of people who take part in those activities. (Don’t try to smoke cigarettes, though. That was stupid.)
* All those girls who called you fat/lazy/gross/stupid in high school? You’re going to make their jaws hit the floor when you come back for the 5 year reunion. It’s going to make you feel incredibly accomplished, so relish that.
* Enjoy these times in which you can stay up until 5 in the morning on multiple nights in a row talking to your friends online, running around UConn’s campus, eating a lot of ice cream with your college roommate, and going to parties and having deep conversations until the sun comes up. You will miss that stamina when it’s gone.
* Later in your life you will develop a lactose intolerance. So eat those pints of Ben and Jerry’s while you can, girlfriend. Also, the number of different Ben and Jerry’s flavors you have downed an entire pint of will give you a type of legendary status in your friend group in the years to come. (I think the total is around 24?)
* Don’t dye your hair black from a box. You will spend many hours trying to get it back to your natural color, and it’ll feel like straw for months.
* When you send that letter – not an email, a letter – to that boy in your drama class telling you you were kind of sort of in love with him? It’s still the ballsiest thing you’ve ever done, and friends of yours will still be talking about it in ten years time. Revel in those small acts of courage, because they’re indicative of a time in which you did not give two shits about what anybody thought of you.
* Your freshman year roommate is going to want to murder you. You deserve every bit of her ire. You were a total nasty slob. But later, it’ll make some really good stories. Also – don’t feel too upset when you guys decide not to live together. It’ll save your friendship.
* Your parents will tell you to get off the computer. Maybe a few of those times, they were right. But you’ll still be friends with almost all of those girls in ten years. So choose those moments wisely. Also – you don’t know it yet, but the skills you’re learning in your RPGs will serve you quite well.
* I wish I could tell you the body image/weight thing sorted itself out in a manner of months. You’ll still be dealing with this shit when you’re pushing 30. But after a few years of serious shit, you’ll start figuring it out.
* You are the weirdest motherfucker ever. And it’s awesome. Don’t ever lose that. You’ll start apologizing for that weirdness, because there will be people who can’t take. They’re the ones with the problem. You’ll be loved for it later on.
* I know you’re really upset about the stupid boys in your life at college and at home, and how you wish so much for a really big pie-in-the-sky sweep-off-your-feet Taylor Swiftian sort of love. I won’t give the game away, but he’s closer than you think. Hold on! Don’t go running around campus looking for it. You aren’t ready for it. Not right now. You aren’t ready for a love that is drawn to your light, but a love that you have given permission to see the parts of you that are extremely dark. You aren’t ready to expose that side of yourself yet. When it happens, you’re going to realize why it occurred at that exact moment in that exact place. It won’t all be sunshine and rainbows. Some of it is going to be painful. Hail against your bare skin painful. Some of it you will want to run away from. Don’t. It’s all worth it.
I can tell you it’s not that guy who works at the supermarket, or the guy in the band, or the sound tech guy, or the guy who works at Blockbuster (the one who had a girlfriend you didn’t know about, yeeeeesh), or the guy you later found out was gay.
* Don’t listen to anything those assholes at the drama school tell you. You are goddamn perfect just the way you are, and without you I wouldn’t be here right now, giving you these notes.
* That goth phase you’re in is going to make for an amazing story for friends down the line. Trust me.
* Quit. Cutting. Your. Hair.
* You’ll meet a girl in college that will become one of your best friends in a very short amount of time. She is going to shatter your heart into a million pieces. Don’t regret the four years you knew her and loved her and tried to help her when she was beyond help. And don’t blame yourself. Sometimes people are beyond saving. Think about all of the people in your life who fully deserve your love, and stop writing emails to a ghost that will never respond. She doesn’t deserve your mourning. But for the love of God, forgive her, or the weight of her abandonment will sit like a millstone in your heart.
My point in doing this very long, slightly winded post?
All the shit that gets dumped on you in those formative years are the things that make the wobbly yet proud Tetris Tower that is your soul.
Everything happens for a reason. Trust the process. And trust yourself to make the kinds of smart choices and stupid mistakes that lead you to a life that is everything you ever wanted.
PS. If you take nothing else from this post, Cory and Topanga are coming back to television. So there’s that.