10 Things I Know Now, That I Probably Didn’t Know Back Then
You don’t have to be a “certain person” to achieve “certain things”.
Even if other people don’t see you as a social “outsider”, you may well still feel like one yourself. Even if on the surface you look like you “fit in” with certain friendship groups you might still feel like you haven’t yet found your people; your tribe. It doesn’t take much to feel alienated from other people for even the tiniest of reasons. You might not have a thigh gap or the same family set-up, or be able to afford the top designer clothes, but you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.
Being positive is a choice.
Let’s not pretend that being happy every day isn’t a serious struggle, because life isn’t rosy every single day and probably throws shit at you daily. But being positive is a choice. You can’t control what happens but you can control your reaction. It’s so easy to take a shit situation and wallow instead of putting the energy into turning it around. It’s easier to sit and do nothing — to complain on Twitter and stomp around, but it’s worth the pause of carefully re-thinking your response. It’s so much cooler to hang fire instead of flip out.
There are people out there who think like you.
Throughout most of school and growing up I felt like a big freak. I just wasn’t interested in a lot of what my friends were interested in. I wanted to do other stuff. I wanted to go home early. I didn’t like staying out too late, and Skins-esque house parties weren’t my vibe. I sound like a square. I am a square. But eventually you will find other squares. Or at least people that like you for being you, even though you are a square.
It’s okay if you’re one of those people who think “too much”
Most people might tell you that you “overthink” things. That you’re “dramatic”. That you shouldn’t dwell on stuff so much — that you’ve got “too much” going on in mind all the time. But that “too much” that people will subtly criticize will make you write, share, make deep and meaningful friendships. The “too much” in your mind will one day turn into a book.
If you have a passion, you are incredibly lucky.
If you have something that gives you butterflies when you do it, whether it’s dancing, singing, cooking, writing, performing or creating — hold onto it for dear life. It’s a lovely thing to have something in life that keeps you afloat. Without it, life could be a lot darker.
Things that are meant to stick, stick.
Best friendships, real relationships, memories and good quotes never go away. It’s not easy to get rid of things that are meant to stick around. For a reason.
It’s OK to disagree with whatever you want to
I used to nod along to everything. Don’t rock the boat, I’d think. I would even make myself believe things I didn’t believe deep down because it was easier to go along with it — and plus, they must be right? But if you feel in your tummy something isn’t sitting comfortably, it’s OK. You’re probably reacting in the right way. Don’t be afraid to own your opinions.
Listen to the people who say you can’t do it.
Write down what they say, remember their sentence, etch it in your brain. Then prove them wrong. VOILA!!!
You don’t look bad.
I look at old photos, the very same photos from nights that I remember crying, pulling at my stomach and thighs in front of the mirror, hating my outfit, mentally beating myself up. Years on, I see these photos and think I look better than I do now. I will probably think the same thing in ten years time looking back at the photos on my current camera roll. So I’m going to make the most of that. Why would you waste what you’ve got?
We’re all learning every day.
No one has all the answers. No one knows exactly what they are doing. Everyone is winging it.
How I Grew Up Online
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic