A Letter to the Tweens and Teens

Dearest Tweens and Teens,

You’re now in your tween or teen years. The best years of your life – KIDDING! School is starting to get stressful, kids are mean, your body is changing … I can go on. I like to call this stage of life “The Awkward Years”. (If you don’t feel awkward, conscious, excluded, or you’re a full grown adult who has no idea what I’m talking about, isn’t that nice. You probably won’t relate to this.)

You may be looking at us “young adults” admiring our style, stuff, vacations, friends and all things fabulous that we are showing off on social media. You may be frustrated thinking, “Why can’t I be like them!? Why am I stuck in this body, stuck in school, forced to do homework and why don’t people don’t get me!?” Don’t worry, dear young ones. We were just like you once and you will be just like us sooner than think.

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Style, stuff, vacations, friends

For example, I was a victim of the awkward years for a very long time. I was a super keener in school. Always doing homework. Always studying. Always raising my hand trying to answer the teacher’s questions even though I had already answered the last ten. Luckily I had a few good friends who were the same. We always pushed each other to the top of the class (even though we were sometimes very mean to each other – you know how kids are). I also had other friends who couldn’t care less about school and were more interested in hanging out at the mall. But they accepted me for the super keener I was instead of rejecting me and my ambitions.

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A throwback from my awkward years

I was also very chubby. I like to call it “pleasantly plump”. I was the largest little girl out of my group of friends. And that “baby fat” stuck with me until I was 17 years old! My parents were throwing me a traditional Filipino debutante ball when I turned 18 and I wanted to look my best for it so I finally took the initiative and joined some neighborhood, old-school aerobics and step classes. I stopped taking two Pizza Pops to lunch everyday and I felt amazing at my debutante ball. However, old habits die hard and I succumbed to the infamous “frosh fifteen” during university. But I was confident that I’d grow out of it and would be “skinny” and beautiful someday, living a chic downtown lifestyle. And my dreams came true! (Even though I still have my fat kid insecurities.)

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Feeling good at my debut (the traditional Filipino, formal 18th birthday party)

The moral of the story is: enjoy the awkward years and be proud of who you are! As a tween or teen, you’re entering the age of freedom and independence. In fact, you’re probably starting to make your own life choices. Work hard to be the best version of yourself and the money, friends, intelligence and confidence will come as a result of your discipline, determination and diligence. This chapter of your life is temporary and very short so stop and smell the roses even though you can’t wait to grow up. “Adulting” is a lot of responsibility and can be very stressful filled with anxiety, drama and therapy sessions. So enjoy your time now while it lasts! You’ll be a full-fledged grownup sooner than you think.

❤ Isabel

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