Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Remember junior high school? Gossiping girls, immature boys, rumors flying, surging hormones, irritated complexions, insecurity everywhere... How could any of us come out of that unscathed?
I'd like to speak to the girl I was back then.
Just because you weren't born in the same town you live in now doesn't mean that you are less than the people who have grown up here all their lives. You have experienced more of the country and met more diverse and interesting people than any of the kids in your class. This kind of experience cannot be bought, so don't be ashamed you do not have the same kind of money your friends have.
Live each day as though it matters. What you do matters. Who you are matters. There are so many opportunities for you to make a difference in other people's lives. You have no idea who you touch, just by being you.
Be the best you that you can be. Don't start smoking just because your friends do. They aren't willing to sacrifice their lungs for you so why should you sacrifice yours for them? The same goes for drinking at much too young an age. It's not worth the price that your pride and reputation will have to pay.
You know you are a better person that who you show the world. Why are you afraid to achieve all that you know you can? Go ahead, take notes in class. Then read them after school.
Practice your instrument. The first chair soloist wasn't just born with her talent, she worked hard every day to get better. She's better than you because she practices. You may never match her but at least you can say you tried.
Do right by your folks. They may not be as cool as your friends but they sure do love you. They want you to live the life they never did. Do better than that. Be their friend but also let them be the parents. That's their job. Don't get angry when they do it.
Make the choices so that nobody can talk about you behind your back where you would be ashamed to overhear them. That's character.
If people make up misleading rumors about you, be confident in the fact they are untrue. The truth will set you free. The people who remain your friends throughout the mudslinging are the ones you will remember. Everyone else will fade.
Be the kind of friend that you would want for yourself. If you wish someone would listen to you, become a better listener.
Enjoy the journey of your education. You will never learn more all at once as you are in school. It's okay to be smarter than some other people you know. It may get you a cool tutoring gig with a football player one day.
Today won't last forever. That's a good thing. The bad times will slowly be forgotten, but so will the good. Keep a journal. It will make for a good read when you're older. You'll realize you really don't hate your mom, or your dad, and that the boys in life aren't as important as you may have thought.
Thank your teachers. Be nice to them by paying attention in class. They are doing a lot for you, and a lot of other kids, and they don't get paid nearly what they deserve.
One more thing. Don't get that tattoo. You'll want to wear sleeveless shirts at work someday.