This weekend, I got to take a small glimpse at myself 15 years ago while I was looking through an old friends collection of pictures and year books. While I am still independent and ready for fun as ever, my cussing habit has changed. It has become a little less “shock factor” and more traditional, thank goodness. In place of the gothic makeup during the month of October, we decorate our garage and house in celebration. Instead of chasing nerds, I married one. It's funny, but I can’t remember much of those days. Sadly, the strongest memories I have usually involve me doing something embarrassing, and thankfully those stories will stay in a very small circle, and will never ever be retold, unless they wish to be tortured by a true redneck’s daughter. I KNOW WHERE Y’ALL LIVE!!!
Being a free spirited and independent person was all that mattered to me. I wish I could go back in time and tell that version of me that while I won’t always make the best choices in the beginning, I will eventually figure out my mistakes, and correct them. I used to think that there were parts of my past I wish I could erase, but now I know how completely altered I would be if I hadn’t gone through the things I had. If I ever get the chance to have a teenage daughter, I will be able to give her advice that I might have had a use for myself back then.
1. Your family is the most important thing on this planet. If your family doesn’t like your boyfriend (and that includes your bratty little siblings) then you won’t be happy with him, no matter how in love you think you are.
2. Abstinence is my first suggestion. But since I’m not an idiot, and I know that I can’t stop you, the rule is: condoms and birth control pills at the same time. No ifs ands or buts. Also, for good measure, you have to a study a color illustrated book of STDs every night before you go out, and you get to watch all seasons of Teen Mom back to back. If that isn’t enough birth control and protection, I don’t know what is.
3. Do what you do for you, and no one else. Don’t follow someone else in their misguided attempts in order to fit in. Screw peer pressure. You are above that, and don’t let anyone else ever tell you differently.
4. As my father used to tell me when something went down hill, “This too shall pass”. Drama happens. You will lose boyfriends, and friends along the way. Sometimes it won’t make any sense, but let it go, and be at peace with it. They are just leaving so someone better can fit into your life.
5. Be kind and loving. Forgive, and forget, and that goes double for yourself. You will make mistakes, and while there are some that can’t be fixed, most can. Be humble, ask for help when you need it, and love yourself as much as you love everyone else. You deserve it.
It probably isn’t what you would tell your own child, but I don’t plan on letting my teenager make my mistakes. She can make her own; I just want her to be a little better informed than I was. Who knows if I will ever have the chance to impart this knowledge on anyone. Maybe some day I will be adapted for use with my nephews and niece. There is nothing like your parent or loved ones horror story of a cautionary tale to set you on the strait and narrow. My future children’s cheeks are already blushing…