Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dear Teenage Lara

Dear Teenage Lara,

As a twenty-nine year old woman (so old! I know) with a fairly happy and put-together existence, I feel it is my responsibility to do all I can to persuade you not to do some of the lamest things you’ll ever do. Or to maybe give a heads up about some things you should know. Maybe, just maybe, there will be a wrinkle in the space-time contiuum and you'll read this and do a few things differently.

Writing down your crush’s wardrobe and hairstyle every day on your personal calendar pretty much counts as stalking.

On your 18th birthday, do not come home from school and complain about how bad your day was and how you want nothing more than to lock yourself in your room for the night and not see anyone. You’ll only make your mother feel bad because there is a surprise party waiting in the basement.

surprise face - much like present face
Also, yes, I am aware that I dress like a sitcom dad

Always knock loudly and repeatedly before entering the boys’ bathroom in the upper gym to get wrestling supplies—there is a deaf guy on the team and you will walk in on him.

Be kind and gentle to Coach Neal. Show him more compassion than you feel he deserves.

You are obnoxious. Just be aware.

Remember when you were so desperate for Barry Webster to notice you in middle school? Having Brian Danielson start a rumor that you are in the hospital after a suicide attempt is a really, really bad way to get his attention. However, it is a really, really, really good way to upset your mother when she gets phone calls from other kids’ parents asking you how are.

Remember how you met a tall, relatively good-looking kid from Bonneville at a stake dance and you were so excited that he was taking an interest in you? Don’t tell him where you live or he may just hang out in front of your house all weekend while you hide then when you finally cave and open the door to him, he will lift you off your feet in a bear hug and not put you down until you ask him four times. It will be weird and scarring.

Please, please, please, please, please, I am begging you, please do not wear ties, especially on picture day. They do not make you look mature and sexy and sophisticated. They make you look like a confused transvestite.

Don’t leave Vanessa alone in the Proclamation studio that Saturday when you’re working on your English projects. But if you do, call the police immediately after that guy exposes himself to her. Don’t wait to finish your school project because she says it’s not a big deal and you’re almost done anyway.

The Junior Miss Pageant is a bad idea. Choosing mime as your talent is an even worse idea.

Tampons colored with red lipstick hidden in lockers is not a prank that goes over well with the principal.

You'll have to wear a back brace for a couple of years, but thank heavens baggy grunge clothes are in style. Kids will call you Grandpa Butt. It's really not as scarring as you might think. But DO NOT wear sweat pants over the slick, plastic back brace. They will slide off you and you will unknowingly moon the entire drama class and that will be scarring.

Don't eat Oreos when you have braces. Or at least don't talk to that hot Danish exchange student when you're eating Oreos with braces.

Formal school dances suck. Get over the idea of a perfect prom.

It is totally acceptable to spend 80% of your senior Commencement in the bathroom (see above).

It’s okay to take it personally when your voice teacher “fires” you, but take that anger and find a new teacher and try harder. You have a nice voice inside you – a solo quality voice. It would be totally cool if you could find it before the senior musical.

When Alex Hardy asks you to the dance, no matter how rude it is, break your other plans and go with Alex. I can’t guarantee you’d have more fun, but I bet you $5,000 it won’t be any worse that what you end up doing.

It’s not worth your geometry grade to ignore and shun Mr. Leppert because he teased you—plus, he’ll never realize you’re giving him the cold shoulder anyway.

Isolating yourself at parties like a wounded bird does not make the cute boy miss you and want to find you and comfort you. It makes you look like a dramatic, self-involved twerp.

Don't think your life is over when you haven't written a book by the time you graduate. You will eventually write a book (shameless plug - Oceanswept by Lara Hays available wherever digital books are sold) and it will probably be better than what you would've written in high school. Probably.

When you’re a freshman, a really cool junior guy is going to ask you to explore that old condemned school OE Bell that is rumored to have a bunch of satanic graffiti in it. You’re gonna say yes, but not tell your parents about it because you’re afraid it might be a date and you’re not 16 and you’re gonna ask Vanessa to cover for you and say you’re at her house. She will refuse to cover for you and tell you you're on your own. And then you will feel so guilty that you’re gonna bail on that guy at the last minute and loose some major cool points. He will never ask you to do anything again. Heads up—it’s not really a date, it’s a huge group of kids. Your parents would totally be okay with it if you told them. And the school’s not really satanic or condemned. It’s actually an office building now. But you will learn an important lesson from your friend—at first you might be mad that she won’t cover for you, but then you realize that she’s a true friend because she’s an honest and good person all the time not just in front of your face. Because people who lie for you will lie against you. And she never will.

Don’t worry when “Mr. Fine” picks your best friend over you. You’ll have your retribution in a year or two when he falls asleep lying on the couch behind you and you fart on him.

It is scientifically impossible to put a swimsuit on while you’re swimming in water. And it HURTS when your friend pulls your nekkid self onto the floating dock, scraping off the top three layers of your boob skin. For these two reasons, do not skinny dip in the middle of Blacktail Reservoir.

On the other hand, it makes a fantastic story. Go for it.

Don’t try so hard. Don’t fear rejection so much. And realize everyone else is too busy obsessing about what people are thinking about them that no one is really thinking all the bad things about you that you fear. Middle school really, really sucks and high school is fun. Mostly. But in ten years, you’ll see that life doesn’t end on graduation and there’s way more fun to be had after you toss your cap in the air. You’re hotter and funnier than you realize. But also dorkier.

- Your current self.


Robert said...

I hope your teenage self doesn't read any of this because your normal teenage self was a lot of fun.

On the other hand, if you sense the wrinkle in time coming, let me know so I can add a similar letter to my 130 pound self in high school.

Hays Family said...

You look gorgeous in that prom dress. sorry you didn't have much fun that night. I sure didn't know about all of your teenage antics as most parents never do and are left in the dark. But that is good advice for the younger generation.

Melissa Giles said...

Wow!!! This was hilarious to read!!! I didn't have nearly that much fun in high school... and I definitely don't have that many stories to tell. I recognized alot of those people you were talking about though... Berry Webster being one. He was in my ward and he, was, HOT!!
I wish I could go back a have a do over in alot of areas!

Beckie said...

Heheh- I love that post- istn't it all soo true!! Funny to look back on it all now- and I agree Middle School was the worst 3 years ever!!!

Liz Smith said...


Maria said...

I was so hoping the skinny dipping would be in there! Still one of my top 10 favorite memories!!! What a fun trip down memory lane- thanks! :)

Alicia said...

I can't believe you would publish all those stories on your blog. Awesome! There are things about high school and junior high that I wouldn't put on my blog just so my parents will still be left in the dark. I don't want to be disowned yet. But seriously, I am amazed at how well you are able to look back at the high school junk and laugh at it. Way to go.

Kristy Skoy said...

You are so AWESOME! I feel so much better about my teenage self. Knowing that someone else went through all that crap too. I may copy you..

Amy said...

That was great! Wouldn't it be nice to really send a letter to ourselves back then? I work with the Young Women at Church and I wonder "Was I like that as a teen" I'm sure I was worse!


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