This time of the year is unfortunately associated with some bad memories for me and I think about the past a lot, wondering what I would change if I was able to. So I’ve decided to give some advice to my 16-year-old self. Besides not bothering with the haircut.
Stop lying to your counselor, it’s not helping you at all
I understand you are scared of talking about your feelings and being honest about the scary thoughts in your head is the worst idea possible right now. Talking does help. Some people won’t understand, but the counselors are there for a reason. Pretending that you’re fine does nothing but hinder your mental health in the long run.
Confidence is more important than numbers
As much as you think it now, you are not fat. You are going to put on some weight and then lose it again and be stuck in a cycle for a few years. But that doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that you are going to find a way to be confident whether you are in the bigger or smaller numbers on the scale and you are going to take the time to love yourself. I’m a few stones heavier now but I’m happier and more confident in my self-image than I ever had been. Body confidence was such a huge part of my life in a negative way back then, but it’s not anymore.
Starving yourself doesn’t count as a diet
Obviously, you know it’s not healthy to not eat. Following diets with ridiculously low-calorie counts makes you obsessed with the numbers and deciding not to eat was probably the worst idea you had. It’s not good for you. You like healthy food! You’re a vegetarian! Just eat full meals of good food and you’ll be fine. You are just making yourself miserable for no reason and it’s going to fuck up your relationship with food for the rest of your life. I’m still learning now that you shouldn’t feel guilty when you eat and even now it’s hard to not retract back to the obsession with numbers.
In a few years, you are going to enjoy running
16-year-old Alice’s jaw is probably on the floor right now. Stop using your asthma as an excuse and give more things a go. I know it’s hard because you are never going to be the fittest person in the class and you find it embarrassing, but you just need to persevere. Every single time someone has told you that exercise will help your anxiety and you’ve laughed, you’ve been wrong. I love running now and it really helps my stress levels.
It’s okay not to have a boyfriend
Just a heads up, you aren’t going to have the most successful romantic track record and that’s okay. Also, there’s still plenty of time for that to change! It may seem that everyone around you is happier because they are in relationships, but trust me you are so much happier single. You need to stop allowing boys to treat you like shit, just because you like the attention for a minute. It’s something that’s still relevant to me this year, but I wish I had learned it a lot sooner and stopped me from wasting my time. Oh, and by the way, your obsession with certain female actresses is more than that. You like girls too and that’s fine. It’s going to take you a little while to accept that and figure it out, but it all works out okay in the end when you come out as bisexual.
Know who your real friends are
Friendships should bring out the best in all the people involved. You shouldn’t feel like you have to impress anyone. You should be able to be yourself and a real friend would appreciate that. There shouldn’t be a leader and a follower. I know you’ve been in friendships where it always felt one-sided, but you were scared because no one else liked you. You were there for them when they needed someone, but wouldn’t always get the same back. You shouldn’t have to feel like the forgotten one in a friendship group and a lot of those feelings are actually your anxiety. Anxiety feeds on those paranoid thoughts and makes you feel like you need to change to fit in. You don’t have to change anything about yourself and you’re going to make some amazing friends. The ones that stick around are pretty amazing too.
Live in the moment more
I know that you like to plan for the future and you like to know that you have that plan to focus on, but deciding what you are doing with the entire rest of your life isn’t that important. Set yourself goals and dreams, but make sure you take the time to enjoy the right now. Do more fun things! I know that you get a bit scared about doing social things, but when you surround yourself with the right people you will feel so much better.