Looking back on these past four years is hard. It’s really crazy to see how much I’ve grown and changed since I first walked through the doors of MTHS.
In September 2011, I brace-faced a pile of trash who still thought it was acceptable to wear graphic tees from Wet Seal. Now, I’m a pile of trash with straight teeth who exclusively wears jeans from TJ Maxx. I’ve come a long way.
Look at us now – ordering caps and gowns, committing to colleges, trying to figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives. When I think back to the old me, to the nervous 14-year-old tugging on her uncomfortable first-day-of-school shirt that her mom made her wear, I wonder what I’d say to her.
Well, first I would totally disguise myself because there’s no chance in hell I’m going to expose my dumb self to time travel in 2011. Hell no. We just got iPads for Christ’s sake! One giant technological innovation at a time please, thanks. In all seriousness, there is probably only one thing that I would reinforce to Fetus Jasmine: you are making up 90 percent of the fear you feel 100 percent of the time.
It didn’t occur to me until a very short while ago that no one is really looking at you. Yes, they might be looking at you for two seconds as you cast your eyes to the ground and attempt to speed walk to your next class through the packed halls of MTHS.
However, in reality, everyone is so wrapped up in themselves and their own problems, it is actually really rare that someone is legitimately looking you up and down as you walk past them in the hall and thinking, “Wow, look how stupid she looks wearing the same exact blue jeans she wore yesterday with similarly colored sneakers. She totally should’ve taken another 20 minutes to stare at her closet and contemplate something else.”
No. Nobody cares. I promise you. And one of the hardest things to learn how to do — it is crucial that we find it in ourselves to grasp some semblance of this while we’re still young — is to learn how to not be so scared to be okay with who you are. Be fearless. Strut through life as though you were the person that you wish you were, and you will slowly see yourself begin to embody that. Fake it ’til you make it, honey!
Be fearless in every aspect of your life. Please do not let your fear of what others might say or think about you influence your actions. That’s probably one of the hardest things I can ask of you, but it is so imperative. Be yourself, and love yourself with open arms and an open mind. No one else can do it for you, I can tell you that.
A wonderful poet once wrote, “Everybody needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside someone else.” Be brave enough to build your own place, to find what makes you happy and fiercely hold onto it because life is too short to do anything else. Put your entire heart and soul into everything you do; do not allow fear or anxiety to keep you from going to that audition, from raising your hand in class, or from wearing those shoes. Do it. The rest is just noise.
I was so nervous about auditioning for the drama club shows as a sophomore, especially knowing how talented all of the regular club members were. Now, I can’t imagine what the past year of my life would have been like had I not joined the drama club and found such an incredibly talented, supportive, fun group of friends such as them. Fear had been holding me back the first few years of high school from even auditioning, and now it’s safe to say that I have met some of my closest friends through the shows.
The point is, don’t let fear trick you into thinking life is anything but beautiful. Be brave and get hurt and get back up and find the guts to be brave again.