1. Short hair is the worst.
All of my friends had luscious long hair, and since I look like a bedridden cocker spaniel with long hair, I tried to be different. I failed miserably. For over a decade. Make it stop.
2. Girls should be taught to pay attention to their short-haired friends during Hair Braiding Time.
It's a real thing. In second grade, our entire class would sit on the reading carpet while Mrs. Tucker read us a story, and all the girls would sit in a line and braid each other's hair. Guess who always got pushed to the back of the line? Guess who never had any of her friends play with her hair because it was too short?
Mothers, tell your daughters that friends with short hair need braids, too. Even if they fall out, it makes no difference.
3. Forcing your friends to wear shirts with their faces painted on them shouldn't be weird.
They wore them happily at my birthday party, but I seem to recall being the only who would wear mine to school. I still don't get it.
4. I have forgotten almost everything the people in my yearbook told me to never forget.
Not only do I have zero recollection of 90% of the listed memories, but I don't even remember half the people. And all of it was couched in "always remember!" and "never forget!" Sorry, guys. I failed you.
5. Little things matter.
I tried to not stand out in high school. I stuck to the shadows, stayed true to a small group of friends, and didn't ever make a wave. I thought people didn't see me, mostly because I didn't want them to. But reading through my high school yearbooks, so many people did. They remembered something I said to them that one day in history or that one afternoon at play practice, and apparently those little things I had forgotten meant something.
Do small things with great love. People notice.
6. It's okay to look like a girl.
This was another way I tried to stay in the shadows. I dressed like an insecure college guy who couldn't pledge a frat. Oversized everything, overalls for days, and a shoe game that would bring most of you to tears. We all have our stories and insecurities, and a lot of them lead to this, to hiding behind Goodwill men's button-downs (for my senior picture!) and hoping no one would remember that I'm a girl.
Excuse us for a moment, Three Dudes Who Read This Blog. Ladies? You're a girl. It's okay to look like one. No more hiding. Hiding keeps us from being who we really are, and life is a bummer without our true selves.
P.S. That hair was my attempt at The Rachel.
7. Don't let a college freshman tell you what classes to take during orientation.
I barely passed my high school AP Calculus exam but got just high enough of a score to place into the next math in college. Which the eighteen year-old tour guide at freshmen orientation told me to do.
HE WAS WRONG. I'm not good at math. I'm actually pretty bad at math. But because I didn't want to look stupid and fail, I took college level Calculus II. And died. My ghost is currently writing these words.
Drop classes, dearest students. It's okay to not be good at everything, and dropping a class doesn't mean you failed it... especially because if you stay in it, you actually might.
(I never worked so hard for a B minus. Praise Him.)
8. Being married in college isn't what it's cracked up to be.
I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't do it differently. But for those of you dear ones who just can't wait another day to get married to your sweetheart and who cares about graduation and all that?
Think about it a little more. I didn't get to live with other girls or have my own apartment. I never got to get a job and become an adult with the same fear and wonder my friends did. I didn't get to drink on my honeymoon because I was a BABY. I don't regret it. But I miss having memories I never got to make.
9. Sometimes people see the good in you before you do.
I haven't read what was written in my yearbooks since the ink was barely dry 15 years ago. I pulled out the books to find pictures of myself for this post (apparently I was good at being invisible because it's pretty much my Picture Day photos and nothing else) and ended up reading the words of my friends, some I still keep in contact with.
Those friends, the ones I still see occasionally and connect with, the ones who I think really saw me and knew me, said things about me that I am still trying to believe 15 years later. Zack told me I was a talented writer. Aaron said I understood people and saw them for who they really were. Kyle told me I was kind even if I didn't think that myself. Candice said I made her days better by making her laugh. In high school, I didn't think any of those things were true, but it didn't matter because my friends did. They saw me before I did, and for that I'm so grateful.