1. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. I did my English independent study on Plath for OAC (Grade 13… it was an Ontario thing), and was inspired by her, her independence, her brilliance, her reluctance to choose a path just because it was the one society said she should choose. It would have been beneficial for my younger self to learn about women like her sooner. Plus, by this age I had pretty much plowed through every written word in the house, so it would have been good to have something better to read than new cereal boxes.
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet” (Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963).2. A pretty journal. Sure, I had many loose leaf papers and books around, but it would be good to encourage younger me to write more. I used to love it so much, and it’s something that has dwindled with age, mandatory academic essays causing a serious lack of creativity, not to mention times of forced creativity. It would have served as even more of an outlet during a time in my life when I was not a happy person. A time when I didn’t know how to communicate with anyone who could help me be a happier person.
3. A game of some kind. Something along the lines of Girl Talk, a game that I never, ever owned. Something to encourage me to bond with my sisters during a time that I did not appreciate how awesome little sisters really can be. Something to make me cherish those last five years with them before I headed off to university. Something to remind me to stress out less, that the world doesn’t end at the drama of being a teenaged girl. Something to get me out of my room and my cover of books and pages scribbled with angst.
4. A promise for some kind of activity with my mom. Movie tickets, shopping, whatever. With three siblings, one on one time was rare with a parent (unless you were my brother, who could only be found following around my dad). It was even more rare that that time, if it happened, would be spent doing something other than cleaning, getting in trouble, or being forced to do homework. Any real, quality time you get to spend with a parent that age is a good thing. It took a lot for my relationship with my mother to become a healthy one, and it's something that I wish would have happened sooner.
If there was something you could give yourself at age 13, or even say to yourself at age 13, what would it be?