Stuff I Wish I’d Known At 11

So this month, my gorgeous baby sister turned eleven.

What’s that? I should stop calling her my baby sister? I WILL NOT!

Both of these guys will be my baby sisters always and forever.

Both of these guys will be my baby sisters always and forever.

This totally freaked me out because I remember being eleven and I basically thought I was the most grown up ever. I had my denim jacket, I had my braided bangs with beads on the end and I was coming to get the world.

Which is funny, considering that now that I’m 23, I feel like an overgrown child.

Anyway. I thought, since I’m officially ancient and all, I would write a list of stuff that I wish people had told me when I was eleven. Obviously, if I listed everything, we’d be here for the rest of time but here are the highlights.

Don’t use those horrible acne pad things.

If I had a TARDIS, I would travel back to 2007 and slap those boxes out of my hands. Your skin is fine, baby Fiona! Put those things down! You’ll pay for this in dry, scaly skin foreeveeeeeeeeeer!

Time spent reading or hanging out with your family is never wasted time.

Both of these things might seem silly and wasteful sometimes, especially when you’re busy. But these two things will build you into the person that you end up becoming, so cherish them.

Your quirks are your strengths.

I absolutely promise you that the things you hate most about yourself will be your favourite features when you get older. The things people tease you about, that mark you out as different…hang onto them. These things are your greatest strength.

The best revenge is to live well.

I wish I could say that I meant this in a super forgiving, zen, unruffled way, but I’m just not that big a person. The best revenge is to live a good life because then you can feel entirely smug about how well everything is going. Sometimes, I think about how happy I am with my life, in comparison with how rubbish my bullies tried to make it, and that makes me feel really, very pleased with myself. There’s nothing like going home and surprising the hell out of everyone by being hot and happy. Not my best feature, but true nonetheless.

Some people suck. Be nice to them anyway.

People can be really, really nasty. But it turns out that most of the time, they’re really, really nasty because they’re scared. This doesn’t excuse their meanness or mean you should let them walk all over you. But it is much, much braver to be nice to someone than it is to be mean.

Sometimes you will suck.

Here’s a thing that will definitely, absolutely happen to you at some point: you will be nasty to someone that you like to gain the approval of someone more popular than you. And when you make that popular person laugh, it feels brilliant. You feel like you’re climbing. Let me tell you now, this is not ever, ever worth it. Be loyal, be kind, always. If someone brings out the worst in you, you don’t want them as a friend anyway.

Kissing is so much fun – when you’re ready for it.

Kisses that you want to have are loads of fun. Kisses that you don’t really want to have are totally rubbish. Only you know when you’re ready for your first kiss (and all the kisses after that!), so don’t let anyone push you around. This will also apply to something else a little further down the line.

One just for the girls: You don’t ever have to be a certain way because you’re a girl.

Girls come in all shapes and sizes, just like boys do. Some girls wear loads of makeup. Some girls do kickboxing. Some girls like to read. Some girls like to kiss all the boys. Some girls would rather kiss all the girls. Some girls do all of these things. Don’t let anyone put you in a box or tell you what girls are supposed to do. And I know this can be hard but don’t be mean about other girls because they’re doing things different from you. We’re all different…that’s what makes things interesting! Girls all get further when we build each other up rather than tearing each other down.

This will all be a funny story someday.

I promise, no matter how bad things get, you will always look back and laugh about them. In fact, the worse they are, the funnier they’ll be. Me and my best friend can now laugh about the time that she broke up with her long term boyfriend and then her guinea pig died the next day. I’ve just pitched an article about the time me and my friend decided we were witches and hosted a hilariously inept Wiccan circle in my bedroom. I can now gigglingly, if still a little haltingly, tell people about the time that everyone at a fancy dress party thought I’d come dressed as a slave (I hadn’t). Honestly, the more completely mortifying you are at eleven, the better you’ll be at dinner parties in ten years. The other side of this coin is that there is literally no point wasting time trying to be cool. Unless being cool makes you happy, in which case go for it. But doing things that make you miserable to try and fit in is a rubbish idea, because you’re totally going to look back and cringe, no matter what. Embrace it.

What do you guys wish you’d known at eleven? What is the most mortifying thing you can remember from your preteen years?