Dear Teen Me,
What’s up, bb? Right about this time, you’re really into a few conflicting things—Catholicism, hip hop culture, and having lots of dates to the movies Friday night. Later in life, you will jokingly say that at age 13 with about the same number of boyfriends, you peaked. But you don’t really feel like you’re killin’ it.
If someone asked you what was most important to you right now, you’d probably say your faith or maybe even your writing. Neither of these things are true. They give you structure and a sense of purpose, but what you live for are Homecoming football games, shopping for bracelets on the ninety-nine cent rack at Claire’s, the rush you get every time you finish first after a three-mile run at field hockey practice, fiercely debating the meaning of human existence in Sociology class. And what you don’t realize is that these things are incredibly meaningful, even if they don’t seem like they will be. Trust your gut.
You know that murky sensation you get in your stomach when you go to the “right” sleepovers, but you’re never quite sure whether it’s okay to tell everyone that you’re actually way too scared to watch the Exorcist—and also not allowed to? That’s because those aren’t your friends, and they don’t care that you’re scared because that’s super lame and it might wreck the vibe. Trust your gut.
Right now, you’re trying really hard to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong and which of those you want to align yourself with. You want to be a nun, maybe, but not if it means you have to throw shade at your gay senior prom date who’s the most honorable person you’ve ever met. A lot of your smartest friends think it’s a little childish to opt out of smoking weed because how else are you going to expand your mind and really relax? You’re not sure. You’re scared. Someone comes up to you during a school dance and says, “Did you bring these skater boy white trash kids here? Ditch them before the after party.” What’s wrong with them, though?, you think. Trust your gut.
And that feeling you get when you talk to that nerdy boy who’s a little annoying and challenges everything you stand for and thinks you’re kinda dumb but that maybe there’s something behind all the Kardashian sister pretense? Hold on to that and wrap yourself in it because that’s love, baby girl.
Trust your gut.
Born and raised among the sprawling cornfields of rural Pennsylvania, Kelly Murphy now writes from her child-sized apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Her articles have appeared in Brokelyn, Brooklyn Based, Chic Today, NCTE’s The Council Chronicle, and various other publications. Kelly graduated from Penn State with a degree in English and currently works in publishing. She wrote HISTORICAL HEARTTHROBS with Hallie Fryd.