What would you tell your 14-year-old self?

This question is asked in every interview on “The Conversation with Amanda de Cadanet,” a new Q&A-style show on Lifetime. Amanda interviews women (mostly celebs) about everything from politics and money to sex and body image. It’s a fascinating show. Jane Fonda, Arianna Huffington and Melissa McCarthy have been some of my favorite guests so far. If Amanda could get Oprah on the show, I’m pretty sure the universe would explode from all the female empowerment vibes. 🙂

Back to the question at hand: What would you tell your 14-year-old self?

Ah, the mid-’90s. Good times. 😉

For me, freshman year of high school was bittersweet. I was super excited to be on pep squad because it was the required stepping stone before trying out for dance team. I’d wanted to be on dance team – specifically Marshall’s dance team – since I was 9 years old, when my cousin Jana was on Marshall’s dance team and we went to a football game to see her perform at halftime. Also, I was pretty excited about high school in general. I imagined it was going to be a lot of fun – driving, dating, dance team. What wasn’t to like?

The bitter part was that the friends I hung out with in middle school all went to a different high school. At first this didn’t seem like a huge deal because the girls I knew who were going to Marshall (and also joining pep squad) were girls I’d known since elementary school. Most of them lived in my neighborhood. But, I learned quickly, not being part of their group in middle school made me not really part of their group in high school, especially in the beginning. It was awkward, and for most of the four years I felt like I was just sort of hovering around them. All of that started first thing freshman year.

There were guys I liked who didn’t like me. There were guys who liked me that I didn’t like. There were good friends I made who managed to get folded into the bigger group without me. There were girls who were just plain mean. High school was a lot more turbulent than I expected. It wasn’t an awful four years, just different from what I’d imagined in my head.

Being on the outskirts of things and being on the defense hardened me. Then all that stuff from the setbacks post happened during the college years and that hardened me a lot. I became depressed and angry and mean. It was exhausting, and difficult to break. If I’m being totally honest, I’m still working on it.

So, what would I tell my 14-year-old self?

Stuff doesn’t always happen the way you’d like, but no matter what, always take care of yourself, practice being patient and stay open-hearted.

What are y’all’s answers?


13 thoughts on “What would you tell your 14-year-old self?

  1. I would say, “14 yr old self! Be really brave and go with what you know and feel to be right and kind and just! All those times you feel like you are outside the circle? Well, understand the pain you feel is shaping you to be a better friend, girlfriend, partner, mother in your future.You see all those who are dishing out meanness and are not standing up for anyone or anything? Those who seem to be making all the decisions on who’s in and who’s out, who’s pretty and who’s not? They are totally oblivious to the good people around them. They will always be miles behind in opening their hearts and minds. In fact, step away from the circle!”

  2. I almost feel like my 14 year old self images yours. That was not my best time either, but somehow when you go through it and come out the other side, you step back and see just what you learned (and possibly scarred) by the experience. I would tell my 14 year old self that “this too shall pass” and your position in life (socially as well) expands to realizing just how important you really are.

  3. I would probably tell myself to take a few extra steps back when choosing my battles, and hopefully end up picking better ones.

  4. I love that you posted this…There is so much I’d tell my 14 year old self, but I’m sure I’d be too stubborn to listen. I think it’s crazy yet neat to see how even though in what some consider different groups of friends- that you can still have the same feelings of feeling like you were just hovering around them. I love reading your blog and what you have to say! 🙂

    • Thanks! I wondered about that – I bet a bunch of us felt similarly and, of course, nobody at the time would have said anything. It’s a weird time for everyone, isn’t it? I wouldn’t go back and do 14 again if you paid me!

  5. I would tell my 14 year old self, to be true to yourself, it will not always get you in the ‘fun’ group, or get you to all the functions, but you will never have to worry about being seen as a snob, or as someone who can not be trusted…’the best years’ are still better than the adult years regarding adult responsibilities, but being true to yourself enables you to find real, loyal, and sincere people who will enjoy the good things in your life, and they will be sweeter and longer lasting than some of the recognitions from cliques and kiss-ups in high school.

  6. Dance team is definitely a highlight in my life. Glad we have that in common. I think I’d tell my 14 year old self that having a dad that doesn’t care about you doesn’t really matter-stop looking for love and approval from people that don’t matter. Ha-my almost 40 year old self is still struggling to believe that. Love you Stef! See you soon. Xoxo

  7. I would have to think a lot about what I’d tell my 14 year old self. Probably a lot of the same things, because you and I went through a lot of the same stuff! And, if you scroll of the Fs, you’ll see me there 🙂

  8. Oh wow. What would I *not* tell my 14-year-old self? Probably to quit judging my life by other people’s standards. This, by the way, is a lesson I am still learning today at 37. And to enjoy my metabolism while I still can.

  9. Ha! My answers were start acting earlier and don’t spend money on stupid crap.

    If I thought about it more and seriously had the opportunity to send this message, I think yours is more along the lines of what I would say. How about:

    “You have the power to shape your life by how you choose to view the world and the thoughts you choose to think and dwell on. Joy, contentment and lasting friendships all start from inside of you, being a joyful, content and lasting friend to yourself. Be patient, be kind, stay open-hearted. That is all.”

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