Dear 17 year old me,
First and foremost, cherish the time you spend with your parents. Don't be the typical teen who thinks they're too cool for the folks. You don't know this yet, but your old man will have 4 heart attacks and your mama will fight lung cancer for 2 years before losing her battle. Your dear old dad will become even more of a hermit and you'll regret not spending more time getting to know mother hen for the rest of your life. That's all I have to say about that.
Don't quite track your senior year just because the head coach is a jerk. When you get to college, you'll join the track team and decide you want a change of pace and switch from a distance runner to a sprinter... and you'll SUCK at it. Side note to the 18 year old me: Don't become a sprinter! The distance girls really are nice. Well, except that one, but you're faster than her anyway. Don't stop running because you think you're burnt out. You'll wish you never had. Plus it'll make running those half marathons in your mid 20's easier!
I know you hate your porcelain pale skin now, but one day you'll love it. It makes you different. You'll go through bottles of SPF 80 like it's your job, and love it. Oh and your beautiful tan girl classmates end up looking capital-n Nasty in a few more years. *Shudder* You don't want those wrinkles girl, keep slapping on the sunscreen.
Study for your SAT & ACT's. On second thought, don't waste your time. You'll still get into a great college even with that poor excuse of a test score.
Pay attention in French class. When you get to college, you'll switch to Spanish but never really remember any of it. Shame on you. Now you'll have to pay big bucks for a learning program called Rosetta Stone when you could have just listened to Ms. Rosa.
When people tell you how young you look, take it as a compliment. You'll look the same at 26 and get carded for a rated R movie. People are right when they say "one day you'll love hearing that".
Stop being friends with Tyler, it's just easier that way. His crazy girlfriend will think you two have something going on (which, as you know, you don't and never will) and will accuse you of paint balling her house and try to file for a restraining order against you. This is absurd. Don't overreact when you get called to the principles office to talk to the cops about it. You know you did nothing wrong and it will all be over soon. You'll find out later that it was Tyler's guy friends who did it but man, what a pain in the ass!
You aren't the only 17 year old not drinking. You'll drink plenty in college (and even then, not that much) and move on afterward. You'll never be a drinker, it's just not you. That's ok.
You have lots of friends but you'll find out that Danielle is the best of the best. You two will remain friends for years to come. She'll see you through LOTS of things and never judge. Her family will make you a better person. (Her dad will even surprise you with one of his homemade birthday cakes when you turn 26!) This friend is a keeper, hands down.
Try to get good grades. I know you don't currently put even an once of effort into your school work. Ok so you have cool parents who don't really care that you come home with a "C" on your report card. That's great, but that attitude will land you on academic probation in college and you'll have to take summer classes to catch back up. Not cool after all.
When you go to prom and homecoming, don't leave the house with those white-girl makeshift cornrow looking things in your hair. Sure, it's all the rage now, but when you look back on pictures, you will be embarrassed. I promise.
That boyfriend of yours will soon break your heart. When this happens, get over it. He'll pop back up in your 20's. Ignore him then too, trust me. Remember how you always say "I don't have to be good at math, I'll just marry an accountant one day"? Well, you'll meet the man of your dreams in college and get married shortly after... and yes he's an accountant. Smart girl.
Keep eating whatever you want and loving that metabolism of yours that you never think about. When you hit 25 and work in an office all day, this will all change. For the first time in your life you'll look at nutrition labels and calories so live it up now. Although, don't worry, you'll still eat whatever you want.
You love photography and this will never change. But stop thinking it will all come naturally. There's no shame in taking classes to learn more. Wouldn't you rather know what an f-stop is now? The answer is yes. Do more with this. It will become one of your biggest regrets.
Don't buy that box of dark purple hair dye! With your pale skin, it will make you look gothic. People will think you dyed it black until you go out in the sun where then it's obviously the totally awesome purple color you always wanted to try. Oh second thought, buy it! Who cares if you're the only one who likes it.
Last but not least, make decisions for crying out loud!! Preferably good ones, but any will do really. You're WAY too indecisive. It's your achilles heel in life. Fix it early.
26 year old you