“1. Cut your hair every now and then. Fresh starts are always nicer than you think. Who needs split ends anyways.
2. Pick a song you really like. Listen to that song a lot. And I mean a lot. Dance around your room naked to that song, beat the song lifeless till it annoys the hell out of you. Then pick a new song and go through the same process. We all need to really hear music, we need to understand what the song we are listening to is really about.
3. Paint your toes black, make it as perfect as possible. Then, scratch it off. Remember nothing is permanent.
4. Go on a run with your dog. Try to race him and beat him. Realize you can out run many things. Then go back and pet your dog, realize that some things you need to go back for.
5. Decorate a plain backpack. Glue on sparkles, glitter, diamonds, newspaper and magazine clippings, lace & ribbon, anything else that may fancy you. Remember, you don’t have to be the same person you were a minute ago.
6. Buy some pretty lights and string them up in your room. Turn off all the lights except for one when you go to bed. Remember it isn’t always dark and lonely. Change your perspective.
7. Lay outside one night. Breathe in breathe out. Accept that you are only one person and cannot do everything at one time. You can take your time. The creator of the stars you’re looking up at did not do it all in one day. Pace yourself.
8. Get up every morning and stand in front of the mirror. Naked, fully clothed, backwards, upside down, who cares how, just do it. Observe yourself. Notice the wrinkles under your eyes from laughing a lot. Count your freckles. Admire your ass. Then name 3 things you love about yourself. You need to love yourself.”
“I am grade 12 student who has just recently graduated. You might call me accomplished, and in a way, I am, but not in the way you’d think. 12 years of pouring over text books and being lined up to be judged in front of my peers has not made me any more intelligent. I can tell you the first 45 digits of Pi and I can explain to you the difference between an acid and a base, I can recite the Pythagorean Theorem in my sleep, I will recite lines out of a textbook like they are a religion. But I cannot tell you the value of security, or of kindness. The distinct contrast between personal health and personal gain. I can tell you in grade 10 four of my classmates attempted to take their own lives before finals. I can tell you our counsellors office is always booked. I can tell you how when I didn’t understand something in AP Chemistry my teacher asked me to leave if I could not participate in his class. I merely asked him to explain a question. Instead of doing his job and teaching, he told me to leave. Told me I was not good enough to be there. Mistakes are viewed as failure in these hallways. A wrong answer is a sin you must atone to, not a human error, but a flaw so grand it defines your entire life course. There is no “average” here. We all must exceed expectations. Do your parents know that a grade that is considered average is a “C”? When I got a C in fourth grade my parents grounded me for a month. They said I was lazy and stupid and incompetent and that I’d better smarten up and stop fooling around. I never fooled around. I am driven by a deep need to impress others. I never fool around. I worked and worked and worked, with a deep hollow of anxiety in my chest. I have never been good at History, but I worked and worked and I attained at best a low B. It was not good enough. It is not said but we are expected to put our education before our personal health. It is not asked of us, but it is what we must do to achieve what we are asked to achieve. Our teachers will tell you, “Oh, I only give them one hour of homework each night.” Which is essentially true, each of my five teachers only gives me one to two hours of homework each night. Hmm, that adds up to 5-10 hours of homework, and overdue classwork, and projects. Say goodbye to sleep, say goodbye to feeling calm. I’ve developed a deep rooted anxiety disorder due to school and perfectionistic tendencies. Even when you get 100 percent on an assignment they still criticise you, it is never good enough. One slip, and you are in deep deep trouble. I can tell you that 90 percent of us try our hardest, and our teachers and parents stand in the sidelines, screaming, “You can do better than that!””