by NATALIA JASTRZAB
Dear 16 year old Me,
Take a look at this video – just released by the 16 year old Aussie X-Factor runner-up, Christina Parie.
And know this: Christina Parie is not cool.
You might think it’s cool at first. Christina is fond of eyeliner (just like you) and is rocking a pair of pink pants that you dig (but wouldn’t ever be brave enough to pull off). The song is kinda catchy and she seems to be having a great time, mucking around with her friends in her room at the beginning of the clip.
But stay tuned, because it goes downhill rapidly from there. After blowing off her parents, Christina and her friends trash an ice cream parlour, attack a girl walking along the street, throw water balloons at pedestrians, graffiti some buildings and finish off the afternoon by stealing some poor old man’s wallet.
It’s stealing, vandalism AND harassment. All of which – last time I checked – is illegal. But it’s okay because they are UNSTOPPABLE REBELS and this is how to have FUN. Right??? Wrong.
I’m sorry. I am not going spend this letter lecturing you on morals and how you SHOULDN’T EVER STEAL because then you can’t be a lawyer OR EVEN VISIT AMERICA (because – fun fact – a criminal record means you can’t get a visa!).
But I want you to listen carefully because I know what the next few years will hold.
You’re going to see more music videos and movies that will make you feel like this is how teenagers are supposed to act.
You will be bombarded with images that scream, “Look! This is cool and this is what you should be like!”
But you’re not like that. You’re a bit of a goody-two-shoes (don’t even bother denying it) and you are going to stay that way for the rest of your teen years. You won’t ever touch a cigarette. You won’t drink and you won’t sneak out of the house after dark and you won’t mix with the wrong crowd and you won’t shoplift or do anything that could potentially get you in trouble, because you hate getting in trouble.
You’re going to feel like a bit of a loser. You will feel that way because you ask people what they did on the weekend and they will tell you stories about how they got drunk at a park and nearly got busted by the police.
You’re going to feel like you don’t fit in because you go to a deserted lot behind your friend’s place to hang out and she chain-smokes and you never even ask to try one.
You’re going to get called a wuss because all the other girls go to Priceline after school to steal lipsticks and nail-polishes and to you, that sort of outing is the stuff nightmares are made of.
And you’re going to wonder if maybe there is something wrong with you because when you watch music videos like the one above – where the teenagers look like they’re having THE MOST FUN EVER while doing stuff that is not only illegal but cruel and obnoxious – and you don’t want to do that stuff.
But let me tell you this – you don’t need to and you don’t have to. Because none of this is what life is about and none of this is what you want to be.
You are intelligent, you are polite and you are respectful. You treat others how they want to be treated. You take care of yourself and you take care of your friends. You need to remember these things because they are great things.
They may not be the things you see in the music video, but they’re the things that matter.
And you need to know that you will still have fun. Trust me on this one.
You will go to your friend’s house and gorge yourself on raw cookie dough while dressing up and taking ridiculous photos. You will have huge picnics at the beach with everyone you know and go swimming even though it is freezing.
You will fall in love – young love! – with a beautiful boy and walk home with him every day. You will read incredible books and meet incredible people. You will sit under the fairy lights in your backyard on balmy summer evenings and drink apple juice and listen to the The Beatles and feel more content than you ever thought possible.
Please don’t get complacent, because you are far from perfect. Over the years, you will still screw up big time, and hurt people’s feelings and be a complete twat-head to your parents.
But when you are older, you will never once look back and say, “I wish I was more of a dickhead to that person” or “I wish I broke the law more often”.
You will say, “I wish I loved harder. I wish I laughed more. I wish I was nicer to that person. And I wish I spent far more time worrying about my own life rather than what other people were doing. Especially in ridiculous music videos.”
All my love,
Grown Up Natalia
What would you say to your 16 year old self?