What Would You Say to Your Teenage Self?

"I don't remember her ever realizing how beautiful she was."

Photography by Petra Collins


My Macbook crashed and I hadn't recently backed it up. Cue the alarm. Surprisingly I didn't panic. That's what Google is for. Quickly I became as savvy as a startup engineer in Silicon Valley, or at least thats how I felt. I couldn't save the Macbook but I salvaged the hard drive, unscrewing the back, disconnecting the battery and dislodging the drive. Maybe this is the type of tutorials I should be doing on my IGTV. I'll spare you for now!

After getting a new Macbook, I wanted to start fresh and clean. It's so pretty and new (and pink!) and my old hard drive is cluttered with unorganized photo albums and files. Before transferring I started to look through my files. There I found old photos I forgot existed. My old teenage self. Who was this beautiful girl? I don't remember her ever realizing how beautiful she was. She used Neutrogena face wash, the one with the little beads, followed by the Neutrogena astringent, stripping her skin of all its good bacteria. She loved Smackers on her lips (the cherry and CocaCola flavor). Traumatized from being made fun of in the 5th grade for her unibrow, she religiously plucked her brows and watched The O.C. every week. Learning about relationships and young love by the beach.

Clicking through these photos I remember a girl who didn't know where she was going but didn't stress about it. The most time she would spend was on her hair either straightening it or perfecting the curls. I started to think, how have I gotten to a place I am today? Today I recognize my beauty but with that I endlessly scrutinize and pick myself apart.

There is beauty in being completely unaware as a teenager. Sure I had insecurities but I didn't dwell on them. I realize as I've gotten older, I started to develop unhealthy habits which started brewing in my teens. If I could go back, I'd stop her right there. I'd tell her to stop touching her brows and her hair. To be comfortable with the uncomfortable and not believe the affection of a boy was the love she truly needed. Because it is her love all she truly needs.

I'm going to take the advice I'd give my younger self now and re-watch the O.C. for old time sake. Take a look at a photo of your younger self and think would I talk to her the way I talk to myself today. Probably not. You'd give her endless love and tell her how strong and beautiful she is. Time to give her some love.