Last weekend, to mark this year's International Women's Day, YouTube launched the #DearMe campaign addressing what we would tell our 13 year old selves, an idea we both loved. There are SO many things we would tell our awkward selves of yesteryear, but the main things are...
CHILL THE HELL OUT and stop worrying about everything: nuclear war, exam results, your freckles, cancer, the end of the world, missing the school bus...EVERYTHING. Sure, a little bit of concern is normal, but much of what will happen to you is beyond your control. Go with it, stop taking everything so seriously and enjoy.
Don't rush into being a grown up. When your mum tells you not to shave your legs, it's not because she is being awkward, you really don't need to and stubble is a bitch. And that training bra? Your 28 AAs do not need that support. When you wake up at 17 with DDs then it's a different story. That green eyeshadow/postbox red hair combo isn't doing much for you either.
Appreciate your school friends. There is no time in your life that will be as weird as this and in the future you'll know yourself well enough to overcome any weirdness. At the moment your school friends provide the perfect support in a world of tryhards and 'cool' kids. These kids will not be so cool in ten years, but you will grow into yourself to become comfortable with your looks and your thoughts.
Appreciate your sister too. Yeah it is really annoying when she takes your clothes/make up/ shoes without asking, when she won't let you watch anything on TV and when she shows you up on the school bus, but she's the only person who knows the ins and outs of your life. Plus, one day she'll become a lot less annoying and she'll start lending you her clothes/make up, you'll share your deepest secrets with her, she'll console you when you're down and will make you LOL a lot.
Be yourself. Although you don't feel like it right now, you have a lot to offer. Your opinions are valued, you are creative, you can be pretty funny and nobody is ever going to give a shit about how terrible you are at maths. Have more confidence in your own abilities, trust you gut and speak up. Stick with the French, you're going to become a huge Francophile when you grow up.
Stick with the braces. Sure you look pretty stupid in your head gear and train tracks but you only have wear it at night, so suck it up. It will be worth it in the end and you'll get lots of comments from your friends (they're worried you'll eat their children).
Some people love school and some people hate it. But you will really enjoy it. Cherish those moments as much as you can. You and your friends will grow apart (geographically) so appreciate having them within walking distance or in lessons. You will never laugh as hard everyday as you did in your teens. Enjoy that belly laughter, you'll miss it as life gets harder.
Accept that you're just not that good at PE. Your teacher will get you to pick out the tennis drains every lesson and it's pretty yucky. All is not lost, you'll earn her respect at the house music festival the following year, that and a smile. You'll suck at running, and you'll suck at running later on in life too. But the distance will be mind over matter in years to come.
Have a little more courage. You are creative and you'll find your bearings eventually so have faith in your ability. Write as much poetry as you can, it's a therapy you'll rely on. You'll forget to do it when you get older and regret it.
In French, someone will tell you that you can get bigger boobs by alternating hot and cold water on your chest. Stop sitting in the bath and trying it! You won't need to (ok, do it just in case).