Rules of a Teenager

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Recently, while sorting through my bedroom in my Mam’s house I found a tiny blue notebook that I had forgotten about. I suddenly remembered sitting down at my desk and writing it. I think I was about 15 when I did this. It was my “rule book.” It contained all of the lessons that I had learned over time and wished to put into practice. I was surprised to find that I still follow most of these rules as best I can. I only wrote 24 because I had very little discipline at the time. Or perhaps it was because I was only 15 and I didn’t know much about life or the way the world works. They are as follows:

  1. Keep diary entries of your life. It keeps you from being overdramatic and they will be lovely to read back over in years to come.
  2. Try to develop a hugely extensive vocabulary. It makes you seem smart and interesting and it will be useful when you become a writer.
  3. Keep your eyes on the prize. You want to be a writer and you should do everything in your power to achieve that.
  4. Try your hardest to make your friends feel good about themselves. Buy them little gifts every now and again which will make them feel appreciated. Pay them compliments and always be considerate and nice to them.
  5. Pay at least one compliment a day to people. Paying compliments makes you secure in your own skin not to mention it makes people feel wonderful. You always remember people who make you feel good about yourself.
  6. Drink as much green tea as you can. It has a huge amount of excellent health benefits as well as making you look and feel good. A pot with two green tea bags and one peppermint tea bag is a delicious brew. Peppermint tea is good for headaches and bad breath amongst other things.
  7. Always be confident but never come across cocky. If you walk with your head held high people will automatically respect you for it. There is nothing wrong with loving the person that you are and if you walk into a room like you own it, other people believe that you do.
  8. Be helpful to people when you know that they’re struggling with something. If you help them, they will be grateful and will trust you. It will also ensure that you have people there for you when you need them.
  9. Try to become fluent in a few foreign languages if possible. Show off your knowledge of French as often as you can. A knowledge of different languages is sexy and cool.
  10. Be forgiving when someone apologises to you. Remember that you’ve made a lot of mistakes and that people have been very forgiving towards you. When you feel that someone is genuinely sorry you must move on. A forgiving nature is a very endearing aspect in a person.
  11. Remember that in order to beat a bitch, you have to be a bitch. If someone bites you, bite back, but never overdo it. Only give someone what they deserve and never be a bitch for no reason.
  12. Remember that it’s nice to be popular, but that popularity isn’t everything. Never judge a person according to their social status. It’s more important to have a few close friends than to have a lot of people who like you, but won’t be there when you need them.
  13. Keep chewing gum on you at all times. You have a bit of an issue with bad breath and that is never attractive. If you can’t get chewing gum, drink lots of water to keep your mouth fresh.
  14. Take in beautiful scenery, skies and events. If you appreciate the little things, periods of emotional upheaval become easier to deal with. Doing this helps you to be grateful for your life and to be happy to live in this marvellous world. Noticing nice things can also make your day seem more worthwhile.
  15. Take lots of pictures with your friends. They are nice to look back on and to show people. A picture really does say 1000 words.
  16. When life seems to be getting too serious or you find yourself struggling to be positive, dance, sing or do something else silly and fun. I guarantee that your head will feel a lot clearer after you let everything go for a few minutes.
  17. When you feel yourself getting stressed or angry, meditating is a very good way of relaxing and grasping your inner peace.
  18. Always be grateful for what you have and never forget to thank the universe for it. If you appreciate the things that you already have, more things will come. You’ll also never be able to appreciate new things unless you show gratitude for what you already have.
  19. As often as you’re able and have sufficient amounts of money, buy yourself things that you like which will, in turn, make you feel great. Spoiling yourself is not a sin and you deserve it.
  20. Always remember to hold your tongue when you feel yourself getting angry. You have an extremely sharp tongue and those moments when you’re fuming are the most dangerous.
  21. If there’s something that you need to address with someone and you don’t feel like you can say it face to face, a letter is a great way of communicating your point. Letters are clear and concise and it’s fantastic for the individual to have a copy that they can read as many times as they wish.
  22. Always remember what you learned during the period of time that you attended counselling. During that time you found out how to fix yourself so try not to lose that again. If it’s necessary that you return to fix some issues, do not be afraid to do so. There is no shame in that.
  23. Always try to treat your parents with the respect that they deserve. They may not always be right, but they know so much more than you do and you should at least consider their opinions. They’re also the reason for your existence and for that you should be truly grateful.
  24. Don’t be afraid to drink coffee. Coffee is not the enemy. Yes, caffeine is bad for you, but if it makes you happy then drink it. It won’t kill you anytime soon.

Some of these rules are clichéd, some are funny, some are a serious understatement (24!!!!!!!!) and one is disgusting (13). Nevertheless, these were the things that I thought were important back then and honestly, they all still mean something to me. My current list would probably consist of 1000 rules but why am I telling you this? You know that. You’re reading this book.


Read about my teenage group here.


Watch how I stay motivated below:


 

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