Dear Freshman Gina,
I hate to have to tell you this, but high school is going to be so much harder than you expected. You just moved to a new town, where you’ll attend a public school for the first time in your life. You won’t know a soul. You’ve spent the past eight years wearing a uniform to school, and your fashion sense is as non-existent as your wardrobe. You’ve never paid much attention to how you look. But you’re about to become a little obsessed.
The thing is, you’re now allowed to wear makeup, but you really don’t know how to. Not to mention your hair decided to morph from stick-straight to curly when you hit puberty, and you’re clueless about how to tame it (lots of conditioner and Frizz-Ease is the answer, by the way). You’ll be scratching your head through that poof-ball, wondering how so many of the girls around you make beautiful look so easy.
High school is a tough time to go through your awkward phase. But you know what? It’s your face. Do what makes you happy.
I’d love to tell you that you meet your future BFF on the first day of school, just like every new girl ever depicted on television. I’d like to tell you that she’ll plop down next to you at the lunch table and be boisterous and outgoing, perfectly balancing your painful shyness, and that she’ll make you laugh and find your awkwardness charming from minute one. I’d also like to tell you that no one will ever make fun of you, or call you mean names, or laugh in your face simply because you tried to join their conversation. I’d really love to tell you that the vast majority of the boys you crush on will at least consider you.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you any of that. You’re going to feel stuck and out of place for quite a while. You’re going to wonder why things never work out the way you want them to.
What I can tell you is this: things may not work out the way you want them to, but eventually, they work out the way they’re supposed to.
Senior year will be a game changer. That’s when you’ll finally find your niche, your true friends, a way to manage those wild curls, and – wait for it – your future husband. There will come a time when you can’t imagine your life without the people you met in the place you were once so desperate to escape.
As for the rest of it, you’ll channel a good chunk of it into a novel. That’s right – that dream you had of writing a novel and getting it published since you were, oh, five years old? That’s going to come true. And when it does, you’ll be over the moon.
That doesn’t mean your life is going to be perfect. That road to publication is going to be a long and difficult one. There are going to be some personal upheavals that happen all at once. You’ll feel like you’re on the brink of losing your mind. For the first time since you shed that Catholic school uniform, you’ll find yourself praying, because you won’t know what else to do.
I promise, you’ll get through that, too. Your path won’t be the easiest, but keep going – you’ll be proud of where it takes you.