I took this picture of myself at the end of a day I spent in bed, scared and crying, feeling alone and hopeless and completely desperate.
This is the face of my mental illness. This is the face of my sadness when it is at its most inexplicable and its most pronounced.
I am not ashamed of it.
Some words of advice for those who will be freshmen this year:
1. Learn how to give a good apology.
These are great for when you accidentally fuck up somehow, aren’t really sure what you did wrong and don’t want to look like a horse’s ass.
- No, “but I didn’t mean it that way” or “I’m sorry you were offended” bullshit.
- Say “I’m sorry I came off as [use their words here]” or “I’m sorry I was offensive/hurtful.”
Take the blame. Figure things out later. Don’t interrogate.
2. Explore your identity over the summer.
Get that weird spiritual phase done this summer, get your scene kid or pretentious hipster phase over and figure out what you’re going to go with this year.
3. Figure out where your moral compass lies.
- What’s right from wrong?
- What’s forgivable vs. what’s unforgivable?
- What kind of friends do you want?
Try to search for what constitutes kicking someone out of your life for good is. Question what your parents told you. Being nice isn’t always good for you.
Don’t always turn the other cheek.
4. Learn to cook a little bit.
Seriously, if you plan to go on dates, survive public school (or being home schooled with guardians that are never around) and like variety, learn to fucking cook something.
It could be mac and cheese and toast for all I care, but learn to cook a few things. If you really want to step your game up, go to smittenkitchen.com and learn a really good dish. It’ll impress whoever you sneak back to your house at 1 AM.
I once dropped my panties over egg drop soup and wine.
5. Get fucking organized and don’t do drugs at school.
I’m combining these. Yes, they go together.
No one is going to make fun of you for more than 30 seconds for having color-coded binders and 5 extra notebooks in your locker. Also, by the way, those same people will pay you $3 later on this year for a pen when they don’t have one. Inflation’s your gain here.
Don’t shove your notes in your backpack where they’ll never be found again. Don’t carry everything you own in there either. Random drug tests and searches are not worth it. Take the extra second to slide your homework in a folder so you can find it later and keep your drugs at home.
6. Discover feminism and other branches of activism.
High school is a bigoted shitfest. Try to find a way to make it all make more sense. Activism and understanding systematic oppression is the best tool you can get. Get involved and loud and resist the things that upset you.
No, you aren’t just a teenage feminist or anarchist.
You need a way to understand why that girl always tells you that your tits are too small even though hers are the same cup size (You checked!) or why boys think it’s okay to draw dicks on literally everything.
7. The guidance counselors are actually okay-ish.
So, you might not want to trust them with life-or-death secrets. And sometimes they say really ableist bullshit because they lack proper training. And you caught them making out with the other guidance counselor that one time 3 minutes after your session was supposed to start.
But they’re alright for just venting. Just don’t tell them about anything serious unless you are certain you want CPS or the police to come by your house for a wellness check. Because apparently depression over a relative dying, coming out as queer and writing a sad poem is legal grounds for that.
(No, it’s not, but they do it anyway!)
8. Think about a therapist if you can afford them.
They’re like guidance counselors but 10 x better.
Also, they have to obey HIPAA laws.
9. Always carry $2 on you.
Just do it.
You will need it someday.
10. It’s not your fault.
It was never your fault.
Things like that are never the victim’s fault.
Also, it’s okay to talk about it.
Those are my tips.
I just googled “distillers cover of misfits song” because I knew it had to be a thing and obviously it is a thing and also [clouds parting]