Dear Teenage Girls:
If you think you have it all figured out, you're wrong. Here's some advice that you'll probably ignore, but roll your eyes and read it anyway.
1) The internet is not your friend. Just because you network with your friends on the internet doesn't mean you're networking with just them. No matter what type of privacy settings you have on facebook, twitter, intstagram whatever it is you use... you have no privacy once you hit "Log In". So whatever you post about yourself is forever there. Go ahead a delete it if you like, but it takes less than 2 seconds to copy the URL off of a page and bookmark it. The post may appear to be deleted, but it isn't. Delete embarrassing pictures of yourself too, they're still there. Right click; Save as; and the creepy dude up the street has a picture of you forever. Make sure you know who is on your friends lists. You're putting out personal information about yourself to 800 people but do you know them? Repercussions, ladies. Remember this: The internet (and the repercussions of your posts) is forever.
2) Stop looking for attention, look for respect. Acting like you're tough or flirty or easy will get you attention, but it won't get you respect. The only way you will earn respect (and I do mean earn, respect is not given out) is to respect yourself first. If you don't have the self-confidence to be yourself you will never earn respect.
3) Act your age. You only have one chance to do this. It doesn't matter what kind of situation you're in, act your age. Being a grown up is not fun. Repeat that: Being a grown up is not fun. "Don't try to be a grown up too fast because you can never go back and grown up is harder." (via @CrashFDavis)
4) If you are under 18 and an older boy wants to date you, don't. He wants one thing and that isn't stimulating conversation. An older boy who dates a 14-16 yr old is after sex. Nothing else. Consider yourself a booty call if you choose to ignore this advice.
5) Get involved in extra-curricular activities. Either with the town, your school, your church, or find volunteer work. Do something with yourself other than be a townie. This is an excellent way to stay out of trouble, keep your social calendar filled AND it looks fantastic on college applications. (excellent advice via @kdawg0113)
6) Financial responsibility can never start too early. Having your own money gives you freedom. By the age of 15, you should have a bank account. If you get Christmas and birthday money, deposit it and manage it. When you're 16 get a job. Deposit your paycheck and manage it. Spend a little on yourself, but always have a savings. Learn to manage it properly and responsibly. "Learn to manage your money NOW! Never relinquish control of your fiscal independence." (fantastic advice from@SportsGal1972)
7) It is glaringly obvious when you try to be something you're not. So obvious it's transparent. Anyone who knows you can see through the act and see you for who you are. A poser. Don't be the Avril Lavigne of your school. "Be yourself. Pay no attention to the hype. You'll look back later in life and thank yourself." (wisdom from @jeremyboudrot)
8) The greatest thing I learned in high school was when to shut the hell up. So what you heard a rumor about Jenny from the block, it doesn't mean you have to repeat it. Because that WILL come back to you. The more you run your mouth, the more it comes back to you. I have lived this one ladies. Learn when to shut the hell up and you wind up with more friends and less stress.
9) Care what others think about you. The way you present yourself to others is very important. If it walks like a hoe and talks like a hoe... chances are she gets treated like a hoe. Don't get treated like a hoe. "I don't care. I'm me and if people can't accept that...blah blah blah" Stop it. You aren't you. You've only been in this world a few years. You haven't even discovered who "you" are yet. Don't try to force others into having an opinion of you that isn't based on truth. Show people who you are, don't just tell people who you are.
10) Take responsibility over your birth control. What I'm about to say may be controversial, but I'll say it anyway. In my opinion, as soon as a girl begins her period, birth control should be considered. There needs to be an open dialogue with your parents about birth control by the age of 13. I know it isn't easy, but taking control of this as soon as possible is one of THE most responsible decisions you can make.(another great piece of advice via @kdawg0113)
11) "Less make-up is always better." Make-up does not need to be caked on. It is meant to accentuate, not transform. Wear clothing that fits your body but still keeps it covered. Know your body and how you should dress. If you're uncomfortable in what you're wearing it comes across to everyone else. If you can't breathe in those jeans, they aren't your size. Show off your personality, not your cleavage. (fabulous advice from a fabulous lady @SportsGal1972)
12) Do not blame your problems on the circumstances that surround you. Your environment, your influences, your parents, your friends... no one is to blame for your problems but you. You are at an age where you make your own decisions whether your parents like it or not. No one else will get you out of your messes but you. "if you're not satisfied with your life, you're the only one that can make it better." (wisdom from @paulharvey3)
13) Now I know you'll laugh at this, but listen to your parents. They aren't trying to control you, they're trying to protect you. Your parents are more in touch with the world than you are and they can provide you with a wealth of information. You may think they don't "get it", but they do. Trust me ladies, they get it better than you.
14) Know your limits. I could sit here and preach "Don't drink, don't do drugs." and your eyes will glaze over while you stop listening. You've probably already been there and done that. Know your limits. No one likes the drunk chick. No one respects the drunk chick. No one is the drunk chick's friend.
15) If you have "drama" deal with it head on. Nothing is more cowardly than passive aggressive facebook posts. If "some people" are "talking shit" either ignore it or deal with it face to face. Not on the phone, not on facebook, not on twitter, face to face. If you don't have the guts to deal with it face to face, then how are you going to solve anything? Passive aggressive status updates say more about you than the "some people" you refer to. You look like a scared coward who can't face her problems.
And I'd also like to add this in: facebook is not that important. Repeat it to yourself until you get it. In the grand scheme of life, facebook is the least important thing you will ever be involved with. Quit letting it run your life.
I received some fantastic ideas on advice from my people on twitter. Thank you very much for helping. I don't think I missed anyone, but if I did I'm very sorry. Please DM me so I can edit you in. Everyone who contributed deserves their credit. I'm going to leave the comments open so please feel free to add anything helpful that I may have missed.