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Dear Me: Advice to a Younger Martina

March 5, 2015

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It’s amazing how much of our lives are spent in school, and it’s equally as amazing to think about how different everyone’s school experiences were. These school experiences really shape who you, from the youngest grade to your final graduating day. For me, I attended only two schools before going to university. My first school went from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 and I spent it with the same people for 10 years straight before we went on to high school. In Canada, we begin public school in Junior and Senior Kindergarten at the age of 4-5. They are just half days but they are enough to get you used to socializing and interacting with other human beings. After that you move onto full days with Grade 1-8.

From the wee age of 4 years old I have memories of interacting with other kids that I will never forget. I was the tallest girl in class and everyone teased me and I told me I would marry Michael Burger because he was also the tallest in class (little kid logic is amazing). After chanting and trying to get us to kiss, Michael promptly responded that he “would rather kiss a lobster than kiss me”. Not like I wanted to kiss stupid cootie infested Michael Burger anyways (hi Michael if you’re reading this but I don’t know why you would be *waves*) but Michael I ended up being those two kids in the middle of every single yearbook photo due to our height up until grade 7 when another girl passed me in height. My point is that this Junior Kindergarten memory of being pointed out as different or strange stuck with me, even though it wasn’t a big deal. It was a big deal to 4 year old Martina though, and she would eventually learn how to use humour to defuse this situation. “Yeah, did you know that I’m soooooo tall I have different weather than you. Did you know it’s sunny up here? Yup my feet are soon big I don’t even need skis. I just go down the hill on my feet.” What’s funny about it is that I’m not even that tall, I was just that gawky tall girl that grew faster than the other kids.

In Senior Kindergarten the class hamster escaped on our very first day of class. It was a huge deal and the teacher was freaking out but she eventually had to carry on with class. Since I am a huge animal lover I was really stressed out and worried that our hamster could get crushed to death, so during story telling time I ignored the teacher and just kept looking for him. Eventually I found him hiding in a bookshelf and I happily announced it to class! When I knelt down to pick him up, I knelt on a lego brick. I remember being really worried that if I just dropped him to brace for my fall he could get hurt, so I carefully cupped him and just took the fall ungracefully with no hands. Full out faceplant. I was so happy I didn’t hurt the hamster but then I heard everyone laughing and I realized in horror that my little dress had gone upside down. I had showed my white and red polkadot underwear to the whole classroom on my first day of school. This is a memory I will never forget and even as an adult I’m paranoid that I’ve accidentally tucked my dress into my stockings every single time I wear a dress.

This is what I mean by school being part of who you are, in fact every year of school holds an important memory to me, whether it be something that happened to me or to a different person. It seems to me that by the time you enter high school your middle school life has shaped how you might react to other people. I might have been made fun of for being tall, but I dealt with it using humour. By laughing it off and making a joke of it, no one ever bugged me about it and when they tried they realized I didn’t care. If they were a mean spirited kid they had to move onto someone else that would react the way they wanted. By the time I was in high school I saw people being mocked for the way they looked too but they dealt with it in different ways. Some people laughed it off just like me and made it a joke, but other people looked near to tears. I couldn’t tell if this was an ongoing issue that they dealt with their whole lives or if it was the first time they were facing this issue in high school. When I was laughed at for being the tallest girl in Junior Kindergarten, it was something I had never thought about until a group of children pointed it out to me at 5 years old. After that it was something I was aware of and I had to learn how to deal with for the next 10 years since I was interacting with the same people. But in high school it is a whole new ballgame with new team members. New people to point out new things to you that you were either: 1) already sensitive about or 2) didn’t even know you should be sensitive about.

Yet despite everything I went through in school, despite all the mini-examples I’ve given you guise about memories that stood out in my mind, I actually found it really really hard to think of advice to give my high school self. This video was a big challenge for me because I wouldn’t actually change anything that happened in my past because all of it shaped who I have become today. Yes, there are some things I wish I didn’t have to experience, like when I was hit by a drunk driver or the five year depression following the end of an important friendship, but even that taught me tons of things! For example, being able to ask for help is really important. Trying to shoulder everything by yourself and inside your own mind can be exhausting. And often, you’re your own worst critic. Good friends and family are very important, but seeing a neutral unrelated person like a counsellor or therapist gives you a safe person to talk to that doesn’t judge you or give advice based on how much they know you. I’d also like to mention that I was very very doubtful about seeing a counsellor especially since there was/is a social stigma, but now I know that you have got to take care of yourself and your mental well being. After all, the people around you might change, but you’ll be with yourself for the rest of your life. You need to treat yourself well!

So I hope this long blog post about my polka dot underwear and hamsters wasn’t too boring for you. I find it awkward to write about my personal life, but I remind myself that a lot of us go through similar things and feel very alone. I hope I can act like an icebreaker to get this conversation going! So yeah…*Martina hides under a blanket*

So, what advice would you give your past self? Any funny stories that aren’t a big deal now, but were at the time? I’d love to hear them!

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Dear Me: Advice to a Younger Martina

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  1. Dear high school me,

    Don’t worry about not having real friends for most of it. You are the most interesting, creative, realistic, critical person that is in high school. Don’t worry about people avoiding you for no reason aside from maybe cooties. Don’t worry about people making fun of you for being “weird”. You will understand that your true high school friends are guys and that the “nice girls” arent the real true friends. You’ll find great friends in university that will understand you. Dont worry about not liking clothes shopping and wearing yoga pants. You’ll eventually like shopping.

    The girls will be shallow and bitchy. I know you’ll lose trust in a lot of them, but in university it’ll get better for you. You’ll meet people from different areas who are the kindest people ever.

    Don’t worry about love and crushes. You’ll meet the person you’ll want to be with forever close to the last year of high school. You might not remember him from elementary school, but he’ll remember you.

    From older me who will be graduating university and entering the unknown soon.

    My high school years werent the best as a lot people didnt like me. I never will understand why, but I am better than their rudeness. My old boss/good friend said this to me last year: You have a sumo wrestler of a personality. It is so vast. Anyone that doesn’t like it will never understand this joy, creativity, and positivity that you have.

    Everyday I go by what my boss/friend said to me. Even if I feel down or uncertain of the unknown, I know that my personality and creativity is keeping me happy with what I like.

    3 years ago
  2. i think the best advice i could give to younger me is “hold on.” like “you’re gonna meet some great people and those same people are later going to make you feel awful, but when it was good it was great. you’re gonna realise after it ends that a long term relationship was often shitty and manipulative, and then you’re going to feel like you stepped out from under a huge weight. you promised yourself you’d hold on until you left school and you did! you’re going to reach the lowest low point in your mental health, and nearly a year later you’re still kicking. you’re nearly done with school, and when you get to uni you’re going to have a great time. tough things are going to happen but you’ll be so so happy. hold on friendbuddy”.

    3 years ago
  3. Dear me,
    You may think that life isn’t going to get better, you may be feeling like you’re worthless and nothing’s going to change, but it does! You know that anxiety and nervousness about going out? About being around other people? Yeah well you are going to become confident and make close friends and go out and about without any worries. You know how you feel self conscious about EVERYTHING about yourself? Yeah well now you love who you are and you’re taking good care of yourself. You may currently be negative, depressed, and unhappy, but in the future you are positive and happy and you wear colour and skirts and dresses(LOL and you thought you would only wear jeans and t-shirts?!) You know how you think that you will never find someone and how you’ve got those ‘walls’ up? Well lets say you grow the balls to travel to australia, you become best friends with a guy who has pulled all your ‘walls’ down, and are now engaged to said guy who loves you more than anything. And you know how you’re holding onto past hurt? Well you will forgive and forget. And you know that lifelong dream to be an artist? Well your practice paid off! Your artwork looks great and people are buyin’ baby! A little advice: be yourself, have an opinion and backbone to say no, and stop caring about whether or not other people like what you do in your personal life. Some family members may put pressure on you about certain things because they’re christian, they may even try to guilt trip you, but just smile, be kind, and tell them kindly that you are making your own choices. Oh, and also, the world ISN’T out to get you :) Love, from me.

    3 years ago
  4. You had to mention Buffy! I just started re-watching the series from the start bout 2-3 days ago!!!

    To myself i would say don’t start stealing from the warehouse as it will cause ongoing issues.
    Also you are a stronger person mentally than you give your self credit for!
    Yes you will under go a few operations to deal with Melanoma – but you will get threw it!
    and yes they are very painful/uncomfortable esp the stitches are under your arm.

    Don’t change who you are or what things you like, getting into kpop opens up a whole new world of expenses and new people, which is one thing i never regret!

    3 years ago
  5. THE WHEEL OF TIME!!!!

    I promise. I was listening to the other things you said too.

    I was also one of those kids who didn’t care who/what was popular. I like what I like! And I too wouldn’t go back and change anything because it made me the weirdo that I am today.

    3 years ago
  6. You pointed out two things that, for me, are the most important things I should have ever learned: “don’t hang on to people because you have to even when you have nothing else in common anymore and don’t even enjoy each other’s company” and “You need to treat yourself beacuse you’re surely going to spend the rest of your life with… yourself”. Apart from that, I don’t regret any of the things I did when I was a teenager because I would not have the courage to do them now!

    Ok… there is one thing I regret. A friend once told me “why are you so mean to your mom? She is so cool…” and I pierced him with my eyes and made him swallow his words. A few years later I did realize that my mom is in fact a super cool person and that at some point in my teenage years I may have been an idiot to her. So…

    Dear Me,

    Treat your mom well. She sings awesome songs to her cat, she is a great cook and she’ll always pamper you like a princess, even when you are lying in bed all day, taking 4 or 5 pills for your depression and refusing to eat anything.

    Now, go hug her!

    3 years ago
  7. Meg

    Dear Me,

    Things are not going to go like you planned. And thats ok. You’re going to be depressed about it for awhile and think that means your lesser than everyone else but after all the hurt you’ll cause yourself, the therapist that you’ll see, and the dog you’ll meet who you pretty much give credit for saving your life, you’ll realize that it all just made you stronger. You’re going to become an independent woman who will finally go back to school to do what she loves. You’re father is going to get sick and its going to suck. You’re going to expect him to die but guess what? He’s still here. You’re going to be the one of your siblings to step up and move in with your mom and dad even though it really, really pains you but you do it so you can help him and you’re not going to regret it like you think you are. You’re going to find out you’re siblings are shitty human beings. Wait, you knew that already…but you’re going to realize the full extent of it and it’s going to make you sad but guess what? You don’t need hem. You have you’re family. You have your mom (who yes, just gets crazier but you’re better at dealing with it), your dad, and instead of the horrible monster who share your blood you’re going to have new siblings. Like Julie and Alex. They’re great and they love and and they help you and they’re going to give you two adorable nieces who are great and, yes, you’ll actually be able to stand them. You’ll love them in fact. You’re going to have two amazing dogs! Georgia is the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet and she loves you and she’ll be the one to finally get you to stop hurting yourself and realize that there’s more than just depression. Instead of waking up and your first though being “why didn’t I just die in my sleep?” you’re going to wake up warm, wet kisses on your face and lots and lots of cuddles. You’re puppy, who this time you save, Irene is the goofiest thing on four legs and she’ll make you laugh every day.

    So Me, I guess the point of this is that, yeah, it’s going to be a long and hard road. You’re going to have a hard time trusting people and that still hasn’t changed. But the people you do let it? They’re the greatest humans on earth and maybe thats because you’re just better at spotting the bullshit now. You still have commitment issues, but hey we’ve still got plenty of time to work on those so no worries. You’re strong. And you’re just going to get stronger.

    3 years ago
  8. Dear high school Catie,

    Don’t take those AP calc and physics and chem classes just because you think they will look good on a college application. They’re an unnecessary source of stress. Those are not your strengths, and that’s ok.

    And speaking of grades, getting a C is not the end of the world. You think your parents will be pissed if you do, but they won’t. They are actually pretty amazing people. Give them more credit. Don’t just study because you think you have to. Look at your education as an opportunity to learn and grow and develop skills to improve the world. Focus on languages and geography and politics and history. That is what you love.

    Don’t be an @$$hole to Heni just because it makes you feel superior. That’s really a crappy way to treat people. And it’s unhealthy for you.

    You know those kids you hang out with? You don’t have to. You have nothing in common with them. I know you’re scared of not having anyone to hang out with on Friday nights, but that is a better alternative than trying to change yourself to fit in with them. They’re not bad people, they’re just not the people for you.

    You are stronger than you think. Most people in your class will never leave Nebraska. You will move away and meet amazing people and do some pretty fun things. Sure, there will be tough times ahead, but you can handle them. So stop trying so hard to get your classmates’ approval. You don’t need it.

    Love, future Catie.

    3 years ago
  9. Dear Me,

    1. Sometimes life means having awkward conversations with people who are close to you. Shying away from awkward conversations never got you anywhere. Like, not confronting your best friend about *why* she no longer liked you out of the blue and just being depressed about it and finding out years later from your sister that she somehow misunderstood you and thought you were gay and it freaked her out when you aren’t at all and talking about it could have meant keeping one of your best friends ever. Not talking to your Dad about how he had miscalculated and now you had no money for food in first year university because you were worried that he didn’t have more money to give you and then having to repeat that year since you were too malnourished to concentrate or even walk to school, you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble there.
    2. Always have an emergency fund of $200-$300, even a credit card will do. You may think you won’t have emergencies as a teenager or young adult since you don’t own anything but it will really suck when you can’t jump on a bus to see your relative/friend from home who is suicidal and have to suffer through the night wondering if they are dead or not. Or when you get invited on a great spur of the moment trip of a lifetime but can’t because you have no cash flow.

    And here is one that has worked well for me all along: when you see something that you really want but seems a little expensive, buy it right away because chances are, it or you won’t be there later and you will regret not getting it.

    Cyber_3 – too bad that I am going to D.R. for a wedding one month too late to see Simon and Martina T_T

    3 years ago
    • How awesome would it be to meet a fellow Nasty at a random resort in DR??!! We’d be furiously rolling down our sexy windows at each other but since most resorts have unlimited drinks it could end very badly. HAHAHAH!

      3 years ago
  10. Thanks for sharing this. I totally agree with what you said. It was so wonderful to find out that the real world is nothing like school. In the real world, you’ll meet people who are smart and funny and into the same things you are. Being in a closed environment like school, everyone starts to act alike and talk alike and look alike. It’s hard just being yourself. But I think it makes you a much stronger person. I also wish that I could go back and tell myself that it’s ok to not to be friends with people who are mean to you. It’s not being a nice person or a loyal friend to continually allow people to mistreat you. That would have saved me a lot of heartache in school and even after.

    3 years ago
  11. I didn’t realize how hard this would be. I guess, former self, I would say it never ends. Life is a constant search for yourself. Be your own best friend. Your identity is not dependent on what is projected onto you. Everything you struggle with now stem from problems muuuuch bigger than yourself or your place in them. The easiest answer is racism, and it will change faces but never intentions. Everyone around you is also hurting from different results but for the same reason. Racism is what keeps you from getting help and getting better, and is going to shape how you see the world. You will grow, your ideas will get much bigger, and you’ll find a place where it will all make sense. No, the problems won’t stop, but your place in them will change.

    3 years ago
  12. Dear teenager me, there are a few things you should know:

    1. There’s this girl who you think is your best friend but she doesn’t actually care about you at all. She’s toxic to be around and you’re holding on to the wrong friendship. End it before it destroys your physical and mental health.

    2. On the other hand, that girl you walk to school with every morning, she’s worth fighting for. Hold on to her because she truly cares about you and you’ll be best friends even after over 10 years of knowing each other.

    3. Do better in vocational school, you might get a job if you do. Otherwise you’ll end up jobless and choose a different career path, which you know, is also good and makes more money even if it’s not your passion.

    4. That older guy in vocational school, yeah that’s right! Just be friends, don’t fall for him. It’s not gonna work out and it’ll just make you even more depressed.

    5. I know you’ll be happy to hear that you’ll get to travel, move to your own big apartment and other cool things!

    6. Things get awesome after you turn 20! Your life will be so much better then. Just remember to keep that attitude of making the best out of every situation.

    3 years ago
  13. Dear High School Elsa,
    – You’ve got a lot of things figured out and guess what, you haven’t changed that much on what matters, so congrats for that. You haven’t made too many mistakes. But there are a couple of things I should tell you.
    – STOP crushing on your brother’s bandmates. I know they’re musicians and it’s sexy and all, but I’m sorry, they’re not into you. You will meet guys worth your time later, you will have your heart broken and will break a few yourself, you’ll have bad sex and awesome kisses that send you flying to the high heavens. It will happen to you some time. Be patient.
    – STOP calling those girls sluts because they talk about sex and parties all the time. You don’t know the first thing about them. You don’t have a right to judge their lives based on their appearance of behaviour. Be more open-minded. And less jealous. DUH UH YOU ARE
    – Study. Seriously. I know you do well without it, but girl, you lazy! One day you will need to work harder, so learn some tricks right now.
    – No, you don’t fit in. And that’s okay. You are weird, accept it. It makes you wonderful. One day you will belong to awesome groups of friends and wonder why you wanted everyone’s approval so much in the first place.
    – You’re going to be popular for a bit, you know. You’ll have your time in the spotlight. People will be gossiping about your love life and it will feel great. Not gonna lie. And you won’t even be a bitch!
    – Whisky is still alive! He’s a fat old cat, but he’s still your best friend. However, you will become severely allergic to him. I’m so, so sorry about that.
    – You’re going to be a feminist! Partly because of bad stuff that happens to you. But don’t worry, you’ll get over it. It’s going to become a pretty big thing in your life and put you at odds with people you love. Go easy on them, but never forget what you believe in.
    – Guess what! You’re bisexual! Yep. You won’t mind, but you don’t know it yet, so I just thought I’ll save you a few years of “I really like this girl, she’s so pretty I want to look at her all the time, but also I want to be her friend and I don’t like it when she talks about her boyfriend, what’s happening?” Embrace who you are. That’s also going to scare a few people off. Screw them.
    – You’re not behind everyone else; you’re far ahead. You’re dancing to your own beat. Keep dreaming your dreams. I can’t promise you they will all come true – even right now, I don’t have the answers to everything. Just follow the path that makes your eyes sparkle. Yes I know there are loads. Not enough time, right? So let’s get to it!
    – In 6 to 8 years, you will have lived in Japan, Malaysia and Australia, worked at an NGO and an embassy, passed your driver’s license and even your scuba-diving license, learned Japanese and Korea, started hip hop, taekwondo and yoga, even jogging, look at that. You will have dated boys of 7 different countries including your current crush. Way to go.
    – You will also struggle with depression and anxiety. You will fall asleep crying into your pillow and wake up in a state of panic, feeling like your life in falling apart before you. I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out. It’s ongoing.
    – About becoming an adult… That’s a lie. There’s no such thing. I know nobody’s told you, but they don’t want to look like they’re still figuring things out. Learn to rely on others without letting them define you. You can do this.
    – School feels like everything right now, but you can’t wait to get out, and you’re right. Life will get so much bigger. You are the size of the world. Time to go out and fill it.
    – And stop wearing that pink baggy sweater. It’s awful.
    Sincerely,
    University Graduate Elsa

    3 years ago
  14. I remember being devastated by the fact that I looked much older than all of my tiny little Korean-American classmates in middle school due to my height and mixed ethnicity. This one time a first grader came up to me at school and asked “Are you a teacher?” No. I was 16. And I was wearing my school uniform.
    When I was 17 I went to a noraebang with my friends, and the guy at the counter says to me, “Oh, are you here with your students?” Hahahaha no.
    This other time some guy came up to me at a bookstore and started flirting, and when I promptly told him I was a highschooler he goes, “No way, you look at least 25!”

    Well, now it doesn’t sound so bad anymore, but at the time I was outraged (even though I did always pretend to laugh it off). And I hated that I didn’t look as young as Koreans do- but I’m over it. It also helps that I have reached the age that my looks seem to indicate.

    Thanks for sharing, Martina!

    3 years ago
  15. Oh, Martina. I too, struggled with finding friends I could talk about anime and reading with. I was made fun of in Jr. High by some jocks because I read for fun and that blew their minds. Also, I loved Sailor Moon. Let me tell you a story: I have an older brother. He’s two years older than me. Thus, he usually had control of the T.V. 99.99% of the time BUT Sailor Moon happened…and an obsession was born. My parents would pick my brother and I up from Day Care JUST in time for me to get home to watch it at 4:30 at the end of each day. One day, my brother said he didn’t care and was going to watch something else (probably something stupid and not as awesome) and I CRIED. I begged my parents to stop him, I cried, going on about how it was my ONE show. I got to watch it btw. And THEN Dragon Ball Z happened. My all time favourite anime ever. You think finding friends to talk about Sailor Moon was hard? Try finding other girls to talk about an anime that is considered more for boys…ugh…and most of my friends went on about how all anime was ‘porn’. I’m sure you got that too. I long since learned to choose and keep friends who lift me up, not drag me down. While I only have a select small number of real friends who I am very close with (and they live in many different provinces) I can say that I can trust them and share anything with them without judgment.

    I guess my advice would be to never stop being afraid to love the things you love, even if other people say that they’re ‘weird’ and keep marching to the beat of your own drum, even if that means losing from friends along the way bc they pick at you for those ‘weird’ things. I still get told that I come across as ‘childish’ but because of the things I love (like anime) and I’m about to turn 27. I could care, but those people aren’t worth the trouble and no one can convince me that Dragon Ball Z isn’t the best thing ever.

    3 years ago
  16. I was gonna comment on the video, but I got sidetracked by your sweater! CAN I SAY IT’S FREAKING BEAUTIFUL?!

    3 years ago
  17. Oh, high school me. Advice? I don’t know, but what you really need is a hug. Just remember, even though there are some people out there who are not worth trusting, that doesn’t mean that there’s NO one out there who’s trustworthy. And listen to the wise words of Avenue Q – “Everything in life is only for now!”

    3 years ago
    • And oh yeah, one more thing – being “nice” is unfortunately not always the nice thing to do.

      3 years ago
  18. Dear High School Blackcatamaran,

    1. You are never ever ever ever ever ever going to fit in. Stop trying.

    2. You can’t hide smart. It leaks out no matter what you do.

    3. The world is much larger than either one of those two high schools and you are going to find other smart weirdos.

    4. Kind trumps honest.

    5. Quit smoking.

    3 years ago
  19. Dear younger me, blending in in order to not get bullied is NOT working. Don’t be such a pushover and a punching bag. Stick up for yourself. The sadness and depression you feel now won’t last you will get better. Realize that you alone make your own happiness. Stay away from people that try to drag you down or make you feel inadequate. Report that teacher you said those rude things to you. By the way we are on our way to getting our dream job, so hang in there because things really do get better. *high five*

    3 years ago
  20. Dear high school me,
    Your siblings will grow up and appreciate everything you sacrificed to raise them. That guy you’ve liked for two years will eventually be one of your best friends. Be ok with the fact that you don’t look like everyone else it’s ok! And you don’t ever have to compromise your love of kdramas for anyone there are others like you. Promise! *also you’re gonna move to Maryland but don’t worry it’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.*

    3 years ago
  21. I’m still in High School so it’s not like I can give my past High School self advice yet xD

    I’m usually really jealous of all those people who only went to two schools in their life because I’ve moved around a lot. The school I’m at now is my 8th school, and I’m switching schools again next year. Yea, it kinda sucks, you only have the same friends for a couple years and then you just have to move on and make new ones. Every school is different as well, especially since I was born in Germany, moved to Canada, and then back to Germany lol. It takes me a while to get used to new schools and I’m really shy as well, but hey, it somehow turns out fine every time^^ Anyways, what I’m getting at is that I kinda like the fact I’ve moved around this much. I used to hate it, but now I really appreciate all the different experiences I’ve made and the people I’ve met. To be honest I can’t even imagine being at one school for more than 2-3 years haha.
    I may not have had the easiest school experience, but I wound’t change anything about it either :)

    3 years ago
  22. I think most people transition from being awkward and shy, to being more confident and feeling like there’s more purpose in life… unfortunately I am not that person xD I am the opposite actually! I feel like as I’m growing up, everything just seems to be falling apart tbh.

    I want to tell my high school self, that life is not all glitter and butterflies and happiness when you grow up! I used to be optimistic, fun, happy-go-lucky and more confident. Now, I’m just lazy, procrastinating, with low self-esteem, pessimistic, skeptical person. Which is kinda sad… but it’s okay because it’s the reality of life! People disappoint you and not everyone is worthy to be trusted. I also definitely resonated with your people grow apart message! I like and tend to be attached to people I’m close and comfortable with, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it when they show their true colours or go their own way :/ Sigh.

    3 years ago
    • I’m not really one to give advice usually, but after reading your comment I wanted to say something so *hugs*

      3 years ago
  23. Nia

    Dear high school me: you should be more confident and less shy, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like the same things as those around you in class, there are people out there who understand and share your hobbies. Also, you shouldn be less shy and speak up for yourself. Only like that will you find true friends, like now.

    3 years ago
  24. It’s so nice to hear about other peoples experiences during their childhood and teen years. I think Martina was really strong! I’m still not able to turn insult to jokes… :/

    When I was in elementary school my parents divorced and I moved to another town with my mom. I really didn’t want to since my older sibling were able to stay with my father in our old home and stay in the same school. It also happened really fast and I wasn’t really able to tell my friends what was going on. I don’t think I really knew myself what was going on at the time.
    I remember how I didn’t like anything that was different. I felt everything went wrong and things used to be a lot better in my old school etc. My new classmates were nice at the beginning but since I really wasn’t ready to accept the fact that I had to stay there and give the place and the people a change I ended up being teased. I talked a lot about my old school and friends in a very positive matter. I don’t know why, but that was something the kids in my new school didn’t like. They insulted all the things I loved in my old home town.
    It was a big shock for me. I had no idea how to reach to bulling and when people pointed out that I had crooked teeth I just froze. They made in to a joke and I didn’t find anything funny about it. Up to that point I had loved my crooked teeth but they made me aware of them and I really didn’t wanna show my teeth while smiling after that.
    My teeth weren’t even that crooked but kids are cruel and since they had learned that I didn’t really know how to stand for myself, I became a lot more shy and insecure. The kids bullied me throughout my school years and I ended up changing my school for the last 3 years. Now I’m mostly over all those things but at times I do notice that years of bulling have changed me in both bad and good ways.

    I really hope people would learn to stand up to themselves somehow if needed. And if you see anybody being bullied you should always intervene. It does make a difference!

    I’m really happy that I made some friend during my school years and I’m still keeping contact with them. They really helped me a lot when I was feeling down.
    *hugs for those who have been bullied* ♥

    3 years ago
  25. I made one of these!
    Dear high school Michelle:
    “Trust that others love you. They deserve it, and you deserve it, too.”
    I had a HUGE problem with self worth and actually believing others when they said “I love you”. To me it was just another phrase, like “hello” or “good bye”. I don’t think I’ll ever fully be over this sentiment, because we still use this phrase collectively, as a society, too often (where I lived, at least haha). But I’ve learned to trust that when those I love say it, they mean it. =^__^=

    3 years ago
  26. Advice to high school Jackie: stop cutting yourself and learn to INSTEAD cut off the poisonous relationships that made you feel so awful in the first place. Stick to the few people you know you love and that love you back.

    3 years ago
  27. Dear younger me,

    1) Don’t listen to Mom, she means well, but is very bad at expressing that.
    2) You can do stuff if you work for it.
    3) Failure is not the end
    4) and please, PLEASE don’t ever stop eating! food is your friend, just like healthy amounts of excersize.
    5) Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get of your lazy ass. If you want something, get it – don’t wait till someone gives it to you.

    The rest you will have to figure out for yourself, since I don’t want to spoil my own development. All the experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly make you the person you need to be. But please don’t mess up my body, I’d sincerely apreciate that. ^^

    Cheers

    3 years ago
  28. Although I, too wouldn’t change anything from my past because it’s that journey that has taken me to this very moment. However, there are a few words that may have softened some of the blows. So to my very young self: You may be a wee bit different from the kids around and it has isolated you a bit… But you are beautiful just as you are, scars and all. You’ll come to appreciate some of those things that make you… Well you! They’ll come in handy later on and you’ll be very grateful for them. As for the others… They too are part of you, and you needn’t feel ashamed. Disorders do NOT define a person, rather use it as a bouncing off point to help foster an open dialogue… Because Although you may not realize it now, Your experiences just may help somebody somewhere down the line. And lastly just take it day by day, or moment by moment if you have to, and you’ll eventually get there kid ;). No need to rush, the pace you’re going at is just right for you.

    3 years ago
    • Also, for the love of Pete, DO NOT eat that cat food! Although it didn’t make you the cat you so very much wanted to become… You instead learned a very valuable lesson that day about placing yourself in another’s shoes or in this case paws… If your cat says ‘This crap, I ain’t eaten’ it’ , You best believe he has a valid reason

      3 years ago
  29. Hahaha, I totally relate to all the stuff you had to say, especially the marching to the beat of your own flute! I was lucky enough to go to a school in a town where everyone had known each other since preschool/elementary school, so although there were clicks there was plenty of intermingling between groups, so trying to impress one another wasn’t a huge a deal. Which allowed me to be myself throughout jr high/high school!
    Also what you had to say about friendships, I’ve just recently realized it’s okay for relationships to fizzle out. It took me so long because, like you said, they were my high school group, and we were a pretty close knit group of kids, so it’s been pretty hard to think we won’t see each other get married/have kids/grow old! I keep repeating the same things about a few of them in particular, that if we had met at a party/bar recently, I probably wouldn’t try to pursue friendships with them the way they are today.
    What you had to say about friendships was really good for me to hear right now, it’s reassuring to know that if something isn’t working out, it’s okay to not put extra effort into a connection that just wasn’t what it use to be!

    3 years ago
  30. Dear Me, ok first of all you will have fun in HS as well as trials to overcome, but the bad things get better. You will lose friends and think that it is your fault, it isn’t, you will meet other friends who will stand by you. Although you may not realize it now you will notice when you leave school that you were being squashed, being around people who have a preconceived idea about your personality. You will feel like you can not be loud, you can not be funny, you can not be silly and you can not voice your opinion since you are the quiet goody two shoes to them. This won’t last forever, I could tell you to be yourself but I can’t change how I feel and I doubt you can either so just hang tough. Once you go to uni you will feel so free you can be who you truly are. Also another hang in there, in your second year of HS you will get sick and after that you will experience some nasty anxiety. Listen to mum it will help, keep pushing yourself to do things, to get through the panic just like mum tells you. It will get better you will be able to deal with it more easily as time goes on. Just so you know, you will regret letting the anxiety stop you from doing some amazing things, so when opportunities present themselves seriously consider them, don’t dismiss them just because of your anxiety, don’t let it become an excuse.

    3 years ago
  31. jqx

    Dear Martina, you’re amazing! *sends virtual squishes*
    Thank you very much for sharing your stories :) :) :)
    I’m happy that you shared advice other that “be yourself” and “you’re beautiful”. Not those aren’t very important issues but hearing these words over and over again makes me perceive them as white noise and not meaningful advice. But that is probably because I have never really had such problems and therefore have not needed to hear that…
    There is something tiny that happened to me in middle school that has very much changed my outlook on life. I was never a kid that fit in but I was also never teased (or worse), I was happily left alone. Maybe this is why is made such a big impression on me when a few boys entered the classroom and immediately stared laughing at the length of my pants (I should probably explain that they were just above the ankle and since I was sitting down they had ridden up a bit). Why a bunch of kids decided in the middle of the day to suddenly pay attention to clothes I had certainly worn before, I will never know. But my life lesson came a few weeks later when the same kids stared to proudly wear their new and fashionable pants that were just the same length as mine. What I learned from that random experience was:
    1) be careful what you say to people, they might remember it forever (also they might laugh at you for it forever, just like I was never again able to look at these classmates and take their coolness seriously)
    2) there is such a thing as fashion trends (this was the first time I had thought of clothes as fashion) but it’s a fickle thing and you don’t have to take it too seriously
    3) I’m comfortable with who I am but I tend to overthink things big time (even though this was probably an attempt to find a new victim to mock, fact of the matter is that all those years later I still wonder what made them decide to approach me).

    But I should probably be actually giving myself advice… Hmmm… Dear me, fear not, being socially inept will not cost you your friends but trying to be more coherent will never be a bad idea.

    3 years ago
  32. Dear Me, stop wasting 4 to 5 years of your teenage life having a crush on someone who sees you as a little sister and oh yes, focus more on studying than texting with friends you see everyday already. :D

    3 years ago
  33. thanks for the advice, Martina! I’ve just finished high school and it’s been terrible so far. this is a much needed advice video, thanks!!

    i really want to go to therapist and i don’t really care about social stigma, but i’m afraid that it will not be worth it because it’s expensive. i don’t want to throw that much money away just to fix things that i could fix on my own.

    idk, is it worth the money?

    3 years ago
    • Therapists have always helped me in my life. I see them a lot because I’m a little different and it’s making my life difficult. They help me go through the shitstorm going on in my head, pull things out and put them back in order. I strongly recommend you try it out. It has to be someone you’re comfortable talking to.

      3 years ago
    • I think it is worth the money because it’s like paying for a safe zone where you can talk about anything. The weird part is, there are things you didn’t even know you wanted to talk or vent about. Sometimes you’ll even feel angry or annoyed at your therapists but then you need to ask yourself, “why does that response make me angry? what am I really upset about?” It’s a really self reflective process. Also, you should try looking into university campus therapists, they are usually cheaper, sometimes even free.

      3 years ago
  34. Dear Me: Claire I want to tell you that you are a beautiful person and you are worth something! I know its hard with everyone making fun of your weight and you feel like no one is in your corner. But you are in your own corner and that is all you need! Believe in yourslef, do what YOU want to do and not what you think other people want you to do. Don’t sell yourself short, and forget about not having a boyfriend. Because it doesnt matter, you need to love yourself before anyone can ever love you!

    3 years ago
  35. i was a weirdo kid and i took all advice of ‘just be yourself’ as literally as possible. now that i look back on it i think i ended up scaring off a lot of potential friends. i took ‘being myself’ as meaning ‘being weird is cool and being normal sucks’ which meant it was actually ME who was the judgemental one. i wish i had known that being ‘normal’ is ok – and there are plenty of nice & cool ‘normal’ types i could have made friends with :)

    3 years ago
    • Oh man, this was a lesson that took me way too long to learn. All throughout my whole life I was told that I was “weird” and by high school I had embraced that as my identity and taken it to mean that anyone or anything that was “normal” was lame and wasn’t something I wanted anything to do with. It took me most of college to realize that that made me the snobby judgmental one and that sometimes “normal” people or things were cool too. To this day I find myself avoiding things that are really popular for no reason other than their mainstream popularity and I have to remind myself to cut it out.

      3 years ago
  36. I find it interesting that our lives growing up were so similar, Martina. I, too, was that freakishly tall girl in class who later became really into Japanese stuff and Sailor Moon. NO ONE understood me or had any idea what the flip I was talking about when I tried to explain it. I felt like I was the only one with these interests, just like you. Then I grew up and went to college/university and found out there WERE people like me! JOY! But, bad stuff happened with that initial group of “friends” and I, too, spiralled into depression for along time. Eventually, with some help, I climbed out of my black hole of despair and realized that some people are only meant to be in your life temporarily. You learn from the experience and move on. I still had some really tough times from time to time after college, but I endured.

    By the way, I’m the person that gave you the Sailor Moon pouch on opening day of You Are Here cafe ^^

    3 years ago
    • OMG! Weird parallel worlds with the power of the internet we all found each other! Haha! I still use that lovely Sailor Moon pouch for all my iPhone camera lens attachments and my lipbalm! :D It was the one made with hand drawn Sailor Moon on a natural cotton pouch right?

      3 years ago
  37. If I have to give advice to the me of 10 years ago I would tell her to ‘deal with it’. 10 years ago I was 13, which was the age where my life basically went to shit. I felt like there was no point to life anymore and didn’t want to go to school anymore. I did nothing and had to go to a lower education level which in turn made me lose all my friends. They made me go to counselors who I didn’t want to talk to and basically did nothing.
    When I was 18 I finally went into intense therapy, 4 days a week for a year. It didn’t really help much imo but they did diagnose me with chronic depression. Apparently I have been showing signs of depression since I was 8 years old and when I was 13 I actually had a double depression which made me reach the ultime low.

    Now that I am aware of this it makes it easier for me to deal with it because I actually know where these feelings come from because I always thought ‘I have no reason to feel bad’ which made me feel quilty for people who were suffering from disease for example. I was still struggling after I finally came out of therapy with what I wanted to do and tried a lot of studies that resulted in failure (which often triggered another bout of depression) but now that I am 23, I finally feel like I have my life back on track. I am having fun in school again, I have friends again and I am generally feeling much better than I did in the past.

    So my advice to myself would be: Deal with depression. Don’t ignore it. Don’t feel quilty for the way that you feel. Talk to other people because they will be there for you. Have self confidence because you are a good person and there are definitely people who will like you for who you are.

    3 years ago
  38. Dear Me. I know that the easy thing to do is staying locked in your room, and you will do that a lot. But life is so much more fun locked in a cellar with other people. So keep doing what you love. Keep acting, and singing. Keep reading too, but remember: the greatest memories you’ll ever have is of the people you do awesome things with!
    Love
    your older self

    P.S. Agent Carter is awesome. Watch it ASAP!!!

    3 years ago
  39. What I regret from HS is staying low just not to get bullied… Dear Younger Me: just do what you actually wanna do, since even if bullying comes as a result of it, it’s going to end soon. You had so many awesome ideas… Just straighten your back and make them a reality! Even while trying to stay invisible you stand out more than most of the “popular” kid in the class (this will get proved to you by the end of the last year there). So if you are unintentionally standing out, why not just let it all out? (let it aaaal out, let it aaaal out… dat FMA brotherhood ed)

    That’s the main advice I wanted to give you,
    Sincerely,
    Your slightly older self

    3 years ago
  40. I want to tell my high school self (this is weird) that YOU have to be in the one to believe in YOURSELF, don’t depend on other people to do that for you. Even if no one else believes in you, you still have yourself. And prove the other people wrong for not believing in you.

    3 years ago