Sunday, January 20, 2013

“There's a big world out there. Bigger than prom, bigger than high school, and it won't matter if you were the prom queen or the quarterback of the football team or the biggest nerd. Find out who you are and try not to be afraid of it.”

My little Teammate Allison is nearing the end of 8th grade. When we hung out this week, I was really anxious to paint our nails and talk about the skating rink, like we usually do. But she had met with the high school counselors that day, so she wanted to actually have a serious talk about what high school is like, what classes she should take, and her life.

This is where I realized - I am seriously responsible for being like, a caring and trusted adult in this girls life. The things I say to her could be things she remembers forever, like when Connie Sperling told me not to worry about what people think of my decisions with boys, to just follow my heart and do what makes me happy (something I have always done). Or when Mr. Hale (number one favorite teacher of all time) told me one day that I looked "really happy. You should always do things that make you look this happy." I took that advice to heart, and I am happy most of the time.

What can I say to Allison to make an impact like that? And what can I tell her about high school that will be honest, but not scare the crap out of her? I have started a list (go figure) and I hope I can help this poor girl get through the next four years.

1. When I met her last year, she wanted to either be a doctor or a teacher. Now she wants to be a medical assistant. Yes, it's the same industry as a doctor, but I want to tell her that it's okay to change your mind, and it's okay to not be sure. She's gonna change her mind so many times. In high school, I wanted to be a journalist. I wrote for the college newspaper, but by the end of that I hated interviewing people and being so judged. I went into casinos, and now I'm in education, which makes no sense but it seems to be a good fit.

2. It's okay to get your heart broken. Don't be scared. It's normal to cry over boys, and one may really kick your heart's ass.

3. I never once smoked or drank in high school. I didn't try pot. I didn't have sex. And you know what? I'm awesome, and I live an awesome life. I may have been a prude in high school, but I waited until I was older and wiser to make those types of decisions. It's okay to do that. It's also okay to just smoke bomb a party if you can feel things are getting too intense for you.

4. You are going to do things in high school you regret. I told some lies, hurt some feelings and made a fool out of myself a lot. Just remember that every time you are mean to someone, or start a rumor, or tell a lie, you are affecting someone's life and they may never forget that.

5. Go to school every day. Go to class, and suck in all you can. It's okay to be a nerd and get good grades. Later, smart girls are hot (or they may be hot now...I'm not exactly up on the high school scene).

6. Go to all the dances. Go to the football games (and the baseball games..damn boys in tight pants.) Spend weekends with your girlfriends, and break curfew. Make out for hours. Those are the memories you are going to treasure forever.

I am not always sure I am the best role model for Allison. I am really clueless. When I was in high school, mean girls in the grade above me egged my car because I was dating one of "their" boys. I made out with two of my brother's best friends. I hooked up with other girls boyfriends. I got in fights with pretty terrifying girls. I made out with a guy from Malvern (bad news) at work, on the clock, and got caught. I sat in a snow drift and cried once after a dance, and then got in a fight with my dad where I took a running leap into him, trying to knock him down. I was a trainwreck at best.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

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