Dear tween me, it’s okay to not be the cool kid, sweetie

Dear tween me,

I think it’s about time we had another talk.

Since you’ve started high school you haven’t quite been yourself. And while I’m not here to lecture you – the last thing you need is Mom 2.0 – I will say you should probably stop slamming your bedroom door, putting in your earphones on every family drive and venting and attacking people on social media.

It’s all fun and games until you become an internet sensation by means of an embarrassing and permanent life-changing meme. It sounds exciting, but remember Kyle Craven? Yeah, me neither. I know him only as Bad Luck Brian.

Now that I’m older though, I understand what you're going through and let me tell you, it’s okay not being the cool kid at school.

The not-so-cool kids

The group of friends that you’re hanging out with, they’re great; one of them will actually go on to become your bestest friend.

But while you get along with them because you share the same interests and understand one another, you’ll also feel a certain pull to change who you are and do certain things to be ‘cool’.

Strangely enough, these things are actually not so cool. They’re lukewarm and intoxicating at best.

See, while Mom bought our school uniform 3 sizes too big because we’ll “grow into it” (that never happens, and I'm sure you know that) you’ve been trying all these new ways to change who you are to fit in.

And while you can’t exactly alter the rugby-player-sized blazer you’ve got, I see you rolling up that skirt. Now I know that it’s frustrating that you’re the only one in school wearing a borderline maxi skirt, but the lump around your waist isn’t doing you any favours. 

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And neither is growing out your bangs to cover half of your face or wearing eyeliner and mascara so that the boys at the back of the class rocking on their chairs will fall for you.

I mean, they will fall, but like, literally.

You haven’t gotten to the point yet where you’ve considered skipping class and going on little experimental adventures in and around the school grounds, but trust me, you will. Especially nearing the end of the term when you’re watching documentaries in Afrikaans class to pass the time.

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But those little adventures will be the most detrimental to your learning and yourself.

Bullying isn’t cool either

The worst part is that you’ll often feel like you have no choice but to do what all the ‘cool’ kids are doing because if you don’t they’ll tease and poke fun at you.

Now, you must remember, these are the same kids who fell on their heads after rocking in their chairs, so they may not be the best people to decide what exactly is and isn’t cool.

But we have this inherent need to be liked. Not just us, psychologically everyone wants to be admired and it’s even a healthy and foundational factor of self-love. So I get it:

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But the least healthy thing for you is to do something you don’t want to because everyone else is.

And if you’re being forced to do something you really don’t want to, I know you might not feel as though you can, but you really should talk to Mom.

Things will change and so will you

Take a deep breath, roll your skirt down and maybe you can even try standing up to your bullies yourself.

And while I know that’s difficult to do at such a young age with barely any confidence, looking up to a much taller, leaner bully, you have more to offer than you think.

And the good news is this version of life won’t last forever. High school does in fact end and the smartest, most dedicated students are the ones who usually end up surving and even thriving. I mean, in the future we write articles for Media24, so.

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So what if your body hasn’t developed at quite the same rate as all the other girls'?

So what if you sometimes get food stuck in your braces?

So what if the pimple on your face looks a lot like a panic button and your blazer sweeps the floor?

To quote the elusive but always wise Mom: “This is school. This isn’t a fashion parade.”

And one day, you can eat all the corn you want.

So while you don’t have the confidence just yet, our confidence will eventually come in. And so will our boobs.

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But until then, honestly, you can turn down our unnecessarily loud music because you’re doing amazing, sweetie.

And anything you feel as though you can’t handle alone, Mom can. And while dad will make jokes about coming to your school to personally deal with your bullies (he still does that now in our twenties), he won’t actually go anywhere with that "baseball bat".

I mean, he doesn't even own one. This is South Africa, we play cricket, Dad.

Sincerely,

A future bully-surviving, real-world-thriving you

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Did you find this relatable? What did you do when it came to peer pressure? Tell us by commenting below.

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