AHHH June - the time where a fresh brood of teens break free into the "real world" and explore the limitless potential placed in front of them.
::DEEP BREATH:: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Wait, limitless? Sure! If you believe you are limitless!!
I am here today to tell the class of 2012 all the shit I wished someone had told me having graduated in 2002!
::cue song - scooby doo beginning::
1) Lie: High school is the greatest time of your life.
Truth: Surviving high school is a badge of honor.
I grew up watching Saved By The Bell- I have no idea what kids are watching now-a-days, but in Saved By The Bell era of life, high school seemed like this blessed place where all of your classmates were UNBELIEVABLY attractive, life's problems were solved in 22 minutes or less, and somehow you had enough time allocated in-between classes that you could actually kick it at places like The Max.
This is not the case.
No one will ever tell you that high school sucks; I don't know if it is because people are painfully optimistic and somehow don't want to "taint" the future generations into their potential ... but let me tell you, everyone that I've talked to since in social media has agreed ... HIGH SCHOOL SUCKS!!! So if you survived and were able to graduate ... CONGRATS!!! Go you!!! You've now just gotten over the worst part of your life, rock on!!! Life gets SOOO much better when you have a bank account and you can actually choose where you pay rent and pick your friends.
2) Lie: Popularity matters.
Truth: Popular kids in school make the least interesting adults ... they failed to cultivate character and a personality as a kid because everything was handed to them (this is of course an outsider looking in perspective - no doubt all kids struggle to some degree). The geeks, nerds, freaks, and loners will actually rule the earth. Look, here is an email I got last year by the most popular guy in my middle school ...
This guy didn't even know my name in school ... now he reads my website?
People never knew who I was in high school. I wasn't even a nerd, I was a nobody. I was an EXTREME loner who literally had one friend that I saw outside of school property. Albeit I had recently moved to what I call my "hometown" in 8th grade, I never ever felt like I fit in in CT. If this is you, trust me, you're not alone. Life outside of your hometown IS FREAKING AWESOME!!!!! I've lived in NYC for a year (when I was 17), and LA for the last 8 years and am literally the happiest camper EVER!!! In life you need to find your own level of crazy. For me that was in Los Angeles where the lattes are expensive, the sun shines 24/7, and the people are well ... just as weird as I am! Find your like energy, and be fearless enough to not look back!!!
3) Lie: You must go to college to have a successful career.
Truth: Follow. Your. Gut. Always. No matter how young or old, it will never ever steer you wrong.
Do you own thing always, and follow your gut. Mine told me growing up that I needed to live in CA - so at 19 I drove cross country for three days with my dad in my 2000 white cavalier convertible and never looked back. I found an apartment on craigslist, gave myself 30 days with $300 (my rent was $425 so I literally had 30 days) and threw caution to the wind.
(Did I mention that my first job was working for Jerry Bruckheimer? Or that my first apartment was furnished by Bob Barker after winning on the Price is Right?)
I never went to college (although I have spoken at guest lectures). I didn't mean to be "cool or rebellious" in fact, it was an INCREDIBLY difficult decision to tell people while I was still in school that I was "going to be doing my own thing." Absolutely EVERYONE thought I would be this epic failure because of the town that I grew up in and the preconceived standards that were set for all the alumni. By me paving my own way however I am the ULTIMATE outside the box thinker. For reals, I literally get paid right now to not think like everyone else. I couldn't do it, to be honest with you, even if I tried - but everything that I do is from this creative bliss that I experience from paving my own way for the last 10 years. This doesn't make me special, only awesome, but for those who may be seeking an alternative path ... all that I have to say is FOLLOW. YOUR. GUT. You already know the answers to every question that could ever be inside of you, it is your obligation however to speak your personal truth and to let go and be free exploring said alternatives.
4) Lie: Sex for the first time is magical.
Truth: Losing your virginity is not like it is in the movies - it is in fact more emotional than you will expect.
My virginity was a burden. I hated hated hated being a virgin especially because I finished high school at 16 and was about to move to NYC. I literally lost mine to a guy I met at a skeezy pool hall on the Berlin Turnpike in a cheap motel room after my junior prom. True story - you can read about it here.
I don't know why Hollywood wants us to believe it is this "grand" and "magical" moment in our lives ... because for me in a very first hand experience it was painful, awkward, and filled with a lot of ... "wait, that's it?" moments.
Adults will tell you over and over that you should wait - and they are right to a certain degree, but not for the reasons you may think. See, losing your virginity is actually an incredibly emotional experience for a female. I am FEROCIOUSLY logical, and even for me, the SECOND I lost it I wondered why no one talked about what we actually feel like afterwards. Both of my parents (who are still happily married) were high school sweethearts, so they were literally each other's ones onlys and everythings - but for me, here I was experiencing this new thing, telling no one, and feeling this ... void. Parents want to think they are "cool enough" to find out about when their teen loses their V card, but trust me .... NOOOOO TEEN EVERRRRRR wants to tell their parents they gave it up; even at 27 it still makes me shiver, and I publish my sex life online!!!
I don't know how I'd describe losing virginity to my own daughter - but all I can say is it's never not weird. Sex in your teens is horrible. I only had it once and all I experienced was extreme pain and a phone that never rang again. Sex gets easier as you get older and come into your own skin and your own body but in your teens you can NOT expect fireworks, bells, or magic ... instead expect a few confused days wondering why everyone made such a big fuss over it all in the first place, and a general sense of "what now" when it is all over and done with.
Health class and lifeskills prepare you for the physical practice of safe sex, but not the emotional ramifications of it. For that ... rely on your friends, if you are lucky enough to have them, if not chat rooms are AWESOME!
5) Lie: Blend in with the crowd, and follow the trends set forth by your peers. Make fun of those who don't follow or say nothing.
Truth: Embrace your awesome.
I desperately wanted to fit in in school. I literally would have given a kidney to be noticed by the popular crowd for a day. Given, this comes from my own lack of fitting in with my family, it was only magnified in school by being labeled as such a weirdo. Those skills that I developed in high school only taught me how to become an extroverted introvert in life. Had I not started talking to the kids seated around me in classes no one EEEVVEERRR would have started talking to me, which would have lead me down an even MORE depressed path and god only knows what else. I had to had to had to pipe up in every class and befriend the people sitting around me against my own wishes which TO THIS DAY is my saving grace.
I can't tell you how many people are SHOOOCCKKKKEEEEEDD when I tell them that I am a PAINFUL introvert. Had I not had those experiences in high school I never, EVER would be able to run this brand and literally be a public face and a leader for this brand. I may be reluctant at times but had it not been for those years forcing myself to friend my neighbor there is not a SHADOW OF A DOUBT that I wouldn't be where I am today.
Embrace your weirdness, embrace your awesome. The things your peers will make fun of you for in high school will only make you interesting as an adult. Had I changed any part of my personality growing up it wouldn't make me the person that I am today - so rock on with said weirdness and freaking OWN YOUR AWESOME!!! Trust, it's hard now, but it pays off ... literally!! =)
6) Lie: Like in school, showing up is half the grade.
Truth: Showing up guarantees you nothing in the real world.
My generation LOOOVVEEEDD participatory medals. I don't know if it was Dr. Spock, or whatever fancy pants Dr. that said all kids need to be encouraged - but let me tell you this judging by what I've seen from my peers in social media, I'm not sure that worked.
My parents KICKED. OUR. ASSES. growing up, and my brother now works at the Pentagon and I run a company including this loverly website. My parents, of course, were always encouraging, but my parents NEVER did our homework - instead they made us sit at the kitchen table until we figured it out, and wouldn't give us a "medal" just for showing up ... only if we actually WON and worked our ASSES off for it.
Participatory medals teach kids that just by showing up to class or just by showing up for life people will tell you that you are wonderful and we should all appreciate you.
Newsflash: People. Are. Insular. Beings. AND. DO. NOT. CARE. ABOUT. YOU.
I've documented over 103 dates in 9 months and have taken public transportation in Los Angeles for over 500 days, and all that I have learned is that we are ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS in our own heads and to develop this psyche from the womb that people will embrace you merely for existing is a FARCE!!!
GET. OFF. YOUR. FUCKING. ASS. AND WORK.
No one handed me this brand. I work TWENTY FOUR HOURS A DAY SEVEN DAYS A WEEK for the last 2.5 years launching this baby and all of our extended properties. I hustle hard ... so hard ... and my own reward for said hustle is the fact that I can close my eyes at the end of the day and feel rewarded because I am speaking my own personal truth and KNOWING so through and through that today, I did my best.
By "doing what you are told" and by "showing up for life" you will ALWAYS be mediocre. People NEVER do great things by playing by the rules - to be great one must CREATE their own rules.
Think outside the box, challenge your current state of consciousness by doing things that you are afraid of, and no matter what - don't EVER expect people to hand you things. Keep your head low, work really hard, and be INCREDIBLY kind, and humble. Then, and ONLY THEN, will amazing things happen.
Rock on nerds ... you deserve it.