Most adults will probably look at my writing and think, "What does she know about life" and to that I'll say: "Not much, but I know just enough to pass down to teens, and other young adults." *snaps* So without further adu, I present to you the 20 major lessons that I've learned in my teen years about love, life, education, the pursuit of happiness, self, and so much more!
1. When Mama says she doesn't like one of your friends, take several steps back and analyze that friendship.
I'm very much like my mom when it comes to people I'm wary of or simply don't like. When me and my older sister was younger, our mom use to side eye some of our friends and throw the most subtle shade ever! .. OK so maybe it wasn't that subtle but nevertheless she would always be sort of right about the friends she wouldn't like.
I use to want to fit in so bad in middle school, that I strayed away from the things that were most important to me to make friends. Now that I'm in college and some of those passions and ideas are coming back, I've distanced myself from people who aren't supportive, aren't doing much, have focuses that are else were, and overall wack.
When your mom is telling you to be wary of a friend, she's keeping your best interest in mind and at heart. Not all your friends are the best influence on you (and yes, influence is such a thing, you have the choice to do the things they do, but vibes and auras do rub off on you after a while.) and your mom, whether she's looking at it from an influence perspective, or just sees right through that person, HED HER WARNINGS!
2. When your Mama gives you any warnings, you take several steps back and analyze the situation/yourself.
Classic example is my oldest sister Kim. She had a friend named Sierra* and Sierra was your ideal turn up West Indian friend. She had the cutest accent I can remember hearing. When Sierra first came to the house, our mom already didn't like her. Which growing up I use to be like "She's so mean" but our mom saw the bigger picture. After the few time Sierra royally fucked up and it started to become more evident of why she wasn't the best friend my sister could've had, Sierra asked my sister to do her hair. Pause.
Before Kim became KimtheHairSpecialist, she was the go to girl to hook your head up when you didn't feel like going to the hair salon, or needed better pricing. And my mom saw my sisters' talent and told her to monetize it! Make people pay for your services and don't be afraid to ask for your money. So once my sister did Sierra's hair, and Sierra copped the "I'll pay you at another time" plea; our mom was not having that!
For the next few years, Sierra ducked, dodged, bumped into, and had mutual friends asking like "whatever happened to you and Kim", for about the next 2 years. And for the next 2 years, my mom continued to press the issue. Sierra eventually paid my sister a little something (of course not the full price) but it goes to show that you should always listen to your mom, or at least analyze the situation.
3. Getting your education solely at school limits your scope.
I always been sharp as a whip. Whether I was a top reader, or writer, or I knew my history, I was excelling academically. But having a strict mom who was more concerned with shielding me from the evils of the world, I grew up super naive. I didn't have much friends so I didn't really understand social cues, and I didn't know people were capable of playing tricks on you, and all the other wicked things people do.
Nonetheless, I hung out with people who had street smarts and I learned the ropes from observing or taking their advice. School isn't going to teach you everything, it might if you pay attention close enough. But I learned most of my valuable lessons outside of the classroom. Treat life as a teacher, don't let Mr. X or Mrs. Y be the only teachers in your life.
4. Take classes that challenges you, even if you don't like doing the work.
I took 3 AP classes in high school. AP U.S. History, AP Biology, and AP English Literature; those classes were so rigorous and yeah it was somewhat a heavier course load than what my friends had, but I got so much out of those classes, and it looked so nice on my college application that I'm glad I endured it.
Some of my favorite characters, like Jay Gatsby or Jane Eyre, or even my favorite presidents, Lincoln, Roosevelts (both), and Bill Clinton, I would've never knew about them if I didn't go to those classes! Plus AP U.S. shaped my strong political views, and AP Biology gave me a whole new perspective on the mechanics of the living environments. So what you get a lot more work, its all worth it in the end.
5. College isn't for everybody, but that doesn't mean you settle.
I use to associate with a guy who is now working as an entrepreneur for a "multi-platform marketing" company. When I was a sophomore in high school, he was just graduating and he wasn't too crazy on the college idea.
"But you have to go, you need a degree!", I'd plead with him. But he had his mind set. He tried it out and just didn't feel it was for him, so thats when he got involved with entrepreneurship.
What appealed to me the most was that even though he didn't take the college route, he decided to go out on his own and do his own thing.
Thats what it's all about. College isn't for everyone, though I feel its a good start and a good fallback, that's just the reality of it. But never get too comfortable in part-time jobs that you start to miss out on life and progression. THE GOAL IS ALWAYS TO PROGRESS!
Follow your passions, travel, meet people, network, do EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING you want. Don't settle for mediocrity. When you reflect on your life, you should be able to smile and not think "Damn, I should've/would've/could've..." cause nobody is holding you back but yourself.
6. If a manager at a job isn't treating you right, stand up for yourself.
I consider myself defiant. I don't like authority, especially if authority is disrespecting me (yeah, I'm looking at you NYPD). I believe that no matter what your position, age or title is you should treat EVERYONE with the utmost respect. I don't just give you respect because you're older, stronger, more capable, have more power, I give you respect because you extended it to me.
So best believe that anytime a manager yells at me, demeans me, or come up with multiple ways to make me feel inferior, I'm either quitting or I'm telling you about yourself. Don't think just because a person is higher up that they deserve your respect. You respect yourself enough to know what you can, and won't tolerate! #KnowYourself #KnowYourWorth.
7. Tame your attitude!
Because nobody likes someone who's stank all day! But don't erase your attitude completely ;)
8. Never emotionally, physically, or mentally invest more into a relationship than you are receiving!
This is currently a huge lesson I am still learning and processing. I've always believe that if I showed my potential in these "pre relationship" "situationships" that I'd get the guy. Sometimes it worked, to an extent. Sometimes it didn't, and I'd be mis-recognized and taken advantage of. Either way, I always left situationships feeling stupid, used, and with nothing to show for all the effort I put in.
If she's not texting you back, if he's not making an effort to see you, or she's always busy, reevaluate how much time and effort you are about to put in it. And not just boyfriends, and girlfriends, friends and family too!
9. Be innovative, be a black sheep, after all you are unique.
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” - Maya Angelou
10. "Reach for the stars so if you fall, you'll land on a cloud" - Kanye West
11. Sometimes you should just let your ego be.
I'm constantly at war with my ego. My ego is loud, obnoxious, mean-spirited at time, doesn't care what others think, defensive, and bougie. But my self is kind, helpful, calm, and easy going. My ego is a leader, while my self is more reserved and observant. Sometimes I tell my ego, "shut up! GO in your corner". Sometimes my ego fights back and says "I don't give a fuck, I'm gonna do me".
In some instances my ego needs to take over for a little so it can lead, tell people about themselves, and defend my self where my self can't vocalize. All I'm saying people is if you feel the urge to say something, SAY IT! But make sure your self is conscious of the ego, cause the ego can lead us into more trouble than good.
12. Listen to that bad feeling in the pit of your heart/stomach.
It goes hand in hand with number 11. But intuition is a little bit different from ego/self. Intuition is that random urge that says "I should do this" or that urge that say "Nah, NAH! NAH!" Most of my life, I ignored my intuition. But since I was 17, I started to follow my intuition more, and now at 19 I'm learning that my intuition is getting better at predicting things.
The more you use your intuition the better you get at consciously using it.
13. If something excites you and makes you nervous, you should definitely pursue it.
14. Your thoughts are real, but they aren't necessarily a fact.
For the past 2 years, I've been battling with my thoughts. I've been telling myself that I should listen to my thoughts because its my intuition. THE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD IS NOT YOUR INTUITION. INTUITION IS A PIT FEELING. 9 times out of 10, the voice in your head is your ego trying to get the best of you.
Ego loves attention from others. If you don't believe me watch this episode of Rick and Morty to get a better understanding of the ego.
"Meeseeks and Destroys" | Adult Swim
All that to say, yes your thoughts exist. But you don't have to react to them. Just leave it hanging. That's how you tame and starve your ego. Who is in charge? You or your thoughts? #LetThatSimmer
15. Stand up for what you believe is right, even if you have to stand alone.
16. Make mistakes, you learn from them.
I usually get mad when I make mistakes. "Aw, what the f! I should've got that right. I know better. I'm so stupid." BUT THATS NOT FAIR TO MYSELF!
The best way to react to mistakes is learning from it, rejoicing in the fact that you tried and didn't get it right, and it's okay! Mama O, cause all roads leads back to Oprah, has a quote that says:
"Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness."
I'd say the same for Kings, but history doesn't back that up. LOL. But if you're a male, apply that same mindset. You are on a journey and on this journey you are going to encounter some bumps on the road, but thats OK. Nothing worth having comes easily!
17. Its OK to be sexual, as long as you are safe, and comfortable.
#SexPositivity. I enjoy healthy, safe, and consensual sex. I don't care how society views that. We are all sexual being, and we should all dictate our own sexual desires at a personal level, not to be governed by society or religions.
18. Its OK to laugh at yourself.
19. Always put your best foot forward.
This is important. At college I hate working in groups because theres always that ONE annoying person who says "I think that's too much, we should keep it simple". FOR WHAT?!?!?! I love going above and beyond simply because I like putting my best foot forward. My craft and efforts are no longer to please the people, but to put my all into it that it speaks for itself.
So yeah.. Best foot FORWARD!
20. Just because you love someone, doesn't mean you stick around to let them mistreat you.
I've been in love. It was very much one-sided but I loved hard. I cared about this person, I wanted to see them win, I learned from this person, I cherished every conversation, smile, and moment with this person. But again it was one-sided. I saw this person maybe once or twice a year. This person was constantly busy, this person was hesitant to be with me, even though we knew each other for years, even though I put my efforts, time, and best foot forward with him.
In the end, he found "love". And it was probably for the best because I would've kept on being in love if he didn't move on. I think this was the hardest for me to deal with. For a long time, I denied the fact that I loved this person because I felt stupid talking about this unrequited love. And its the biggest lesson I've learned in my teens.
I was too in love to take care of myself and my needs, so make sure you're taking care of yourself first! Because when that person who is "taking care" of your needs leave, you'll feel empty, and left with nothing. And thats not a good space to be in.
Of course I wish I could add more, but I'm not that old.
Lastly the icing on the cake is BE YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES. Never let anyone shame you, or make you seem like you should be apologetic for who you are. You are who you are and you shouldn't trade that in for favorable remarks, acceptance, etc.
Now, excusez-moi while I got twerk off in the corner somewhere ♕.