Ah, to be young and naive. Sixteen with no cares in the world except getting to school on time, being called into the principals office for wearing makeup (please, cheek tint and curling your lashes is hardly makeup, Ms. Murella) and having ‘flings’ with unsuspecting boys just because you’re bored. So young, so naive, so immature. But you’re allowed to be, you’re sixteen, and you’ll most definitely grow up. You’re thinking life right now is pretty exciting, but you’re dead wrong.
You’ll meet a boy in the later part of being 16. He’ll be charming, he’ll be sweet, and he’s a school heartthrob (god how I hate that word) and for months or years you’ll hear girls tell you how lucky you are to be with him. He’ll tell you he loves you after two weeks from meeting you, and you’ll believe him, but you won’t say it back because you know you don’t feel the same way… yet. You’ll live on opposite sides of Metro Manila, so you hardly see one another, but digitally you’ll be inseparable. You’ll spend hours after school talking, texting, chatting online. You’ll find yourself telling little lies here and there about your personality just to seem interesting, he’ll ask you about your past, and if you’ll ever dye your bangs red/pink again because he liked your natural hair color better. You’ll ignore all the warning signs because you’re naive, because you’re insecure, because you mistook all this for real love. You’ll fall in love with him immediately and in a month you’ll officially be together. You’ll adapt this silly “it’s you and me against the world” thinking, going behind your parents back to go on dates with him, ruining dad’s trust. Your relationship will last for 3 years, a year of that good and the rest exhausting, tedious, restricting. He’ll make comments about how much makeup you wear, the kind of clothes you should be wearing, how short your hair should be — you’ll turn into an insecure wreck. You’ll mistake constant fighting and passive aggressive controlling behavior as a sign of love. It’s not. And for a while you’ll think that relationships are meant to be like this.
In your freshman and sophomore year of college, you’ll meet different people from all walks of life, none of them you’ll really keep in touch with — because you’ve never been good at that anyway. Mom will constantly remind you about keeping your options open, like experiencing new things, meeting new people — they’ll fall on deaf ears because you’re stupid to think your boyfriend was The One (so frustratingly naivem but you’ll learn). When the relationship is all over, you’ll realize how right mothers are and you’ll never doubt her advice ever again. One day after dad picks you up from the train station after a long hour of commuting home from school, you’ll talk to him about college and your future. He’ll convince you that tourism isn’t where you should be, but focused on the arts instead, he’ll suggest you shift courses to fashion design and you’ll go for it, and that’s where the college fun really begins. This is when you’ll learn that dads can be right too. At age 20 you’ll learn that parents do know best — usually.
You’ll spend three of your college years in the School of Design & Arts building where you’ll meet people who you’ll relate to on all kinds of different levels and become great friends with. You’ll switch from living in different places throughout your 5 years in college due to life events that beg for it. You’ll get out of your toxic relationship. You’ll rebound, you’ll “date” or “hangout” with a confusing guy, but nothing will ever come out of it. He’ll probably just be a good reminder that dating can be fun, and that most guys are confusing. It’s all okay, because for a good year and a half your life will just be about Y-O-U.
In your junior year of college you’ll meet a guy in the school cafeteria during the Wednesday C-break. You’ll get along with him pretty well and even start a friendship. He’ll take it up a notch and will ask you out on the several occasions he’ll spot you in the cafeteria. You don’t take him up on his offer. You’ll prefer to just be his friend, but you’ll get more than you bargained for and he’ll end up becoming your best friend. For once you’ll feel 110 percent comfortable around someone, no makeup, hair undone, flaws and all. He’ll make you feel confused. He’ll make you want to look past your cynicism. He’ll slow dance with you to Van Morrison’s “I’ll Be Your Lover, Too” and he’ll make you fall in love, and you’ll share your first kiss while “Lay Lady Lay” plays softly in the background. He’ll serenade you 80’s movie style but with an iPhone + dock instead of a boombox because it’s 2011 not 1980. You’ll even say ‘I love you’ first. The first thought of marrying him will scare you, not because you fear commitment or he isn’t the one — it’s because he is, and the realness of that was the scary part. You’ll grow individually, but together. You’ll chase dreams individually, but together, too. He’ll be the Great Love of Your Life.
You’ll move out of your home to try and pursue a more independent life. You’ll have a better relationship with your parents because of it. You’ll miss out on your younger siblings growing, but it makes coming home to them even more exciting.You’ll grow a closer bond with your real mom, and forever take pride in having two moms while others have one. You’ll gain weight, lots of it, but you’ll learn to keep loving your body for what it is, child-bearing hips and all. You’ll still hate exercise and you’ll only improve eating healthily by the slightest bit. Your eyesight will get way worse due to late nights online, but it’s okay you’ll look cute in eyeglasses anyway. You’ll continue documenting life and blogging. You’ll end up on Tumblr where you’ll meet the coolest people and make online friends, some who become real life friends. You’ll end up being friends with people through the most unlikely circumstances, but it’ll teach you to never judge people based on someone else’s opinion. You won’t pursue fashion, but maybe in the future, it’s still a possibility. You’ll learn that following your passion for blogging can and will take you places, figuratively and literally. You’ll learn that it’s okay to follow your heart and tune out what everyone else is saying, and because of this you’ll be able to achieve one of your biggest life goals: traveling. Not to be a huge spoiler, but you’ll live in France for two months and even have a French family to call your own. You’ll fall even more in love with life after this.
You’ll start adulting, and on most days you’ll question your entire existence. Usually it’s the question “What am I doing with my life?” that will haunt you at 2 AM. And I wish I could tell you something to prepare you for this, but I have no idea because I still haven’t figured it out — but it happens to every single person, so I guess revel in the fact that you won’t be alone in it. As you grow older, you’ll realize which relationships are worth keeping and which relationships need weeding out of your life and why it’s all necessary, and not just when it comes to friends, but family too.
In 10 years you’ll look back on the last 10 years and realize how much has changed. You’ll be in for quite a ride, but don’t worry, it’ll be fucking amazing. The only thing that worries me is how fast everything is going, but you know what they say right? Time flies when you’re having fun.
26 year old you
Disclaimer: The photos used above are from when I was 18 years old. I no longer have photos of myself at 16, unfortunately. I’ve asked my sister but they were mostly blackmail material, thus should be reserved for something like an embarrassing video at my wedding reception.