A Quick Chat With My Teenage Self

Everyone should try this therapeutic exercise

Photograph by Brian Relay

Hey dude, uh, I mean dawg. Let’s take a walk.

Look, I get that you hate everything right now, and honestly, you have every right to. I mean, you’re dumped into this public prison every day and forced to sit still and pretend you give a damn about all this meaningless stuff they’re forcing down your throat. On top of that, you’re grounded for three quarters of every year because you refuse to do homework.

Why should you do homework, anyway?

It makes no sense. You spend 7 hours a day being bordomed to death, then they expect you to spend another couple hours afterwards to continue the torture on your own time?

It’s absurd, man. It really is.

On top of all that, these cute girls follow you with their eyes but by the time you notice, the moment’s past and you never get that chance again. That’s gotta be rough. All you want is a girlfriend, but you just keep dropping the ball. Unfortunately, that’ll keep happening throughout your life, but you’ll get better at taking advantage of opportunities as time goes on.

Trust me, you’ll learn how to talk to girls one day.

See, you’re so caught up in what you’ll have to say once you approach a girl, that you’re entirely missing the point. I’ll let you in on a little secret: approaching her is the only hard part. Use the awkwardness to your advantage. Don’t try to be cool.

That’s not cool.

Be awkward and open about the situation and point out how uncomfortable you are to be walking up to a complete stranger. She’ll feel that way too and instantly relate.

But forget about all that for a minute because you’ve got nothing to offer anyone right now anyway. At least wait till you have a car and a job.

So look, I get that you’re bored and you want to spend your days getting high because life is so empty right now. And at the risk of sounding old, when I was your age, I did the exact same thing. It’s not really a huge deal for a while because you’re going to get a lot of practice handling all types of unsavory characters, but eventually you’ll get sick of it.

Yes, I know you think you could never even dream of stopping, but if you don’t, you’re going to be a straight up loser. Not unless you find some kind of balance. It’s fine every now and then, but if it’s all you ever think about, then your life will go nowhere. Then you’ll really never get that cheerleader to pay any attention to you.

Hey I heard you’re pretty good at drawing. Can I see something you’ve done lately?

Drawing by Brian Relay


That’s pretty twisted, man. I like it! I can tell you’ve got some deep issues and I’m glad you’re using your art to express that. Keep that up and one day you’ll go to art school and make a little money doing jobs that you can actually care about.

I’m tempted to tell you not to go to college (even though I know the last thing on your mind is four more years of school) but honestly, that’ll end up being the best time of your life. Not because you’ll be partying and getting laid every day. Nope, you’re actually going to take it seriously and create stuff like this:

Crazy, right?

Turns out all those years of playing video games kind of paid off in the end. Speaking of which, one day you’ll end up teaching game design to a bunch of college kids. I know it’s hard to grasp right now, but I’m serious. You won’t have to stock shelves forever as long as you focus a bit and make a few good decisions.

You ever heard of a resume? No?

Well one day yours is going to be pretty decent. And get this, you’ll be able to find jobs on the internet and schedule interviews while you’re sitting in your underwear! I know, I know. It’s ridiculous.

But it’s true!

Remember those stories you used to dream up while you were grounded all the time in middle school? Well don’t stop, because you’re going to write a book one day!

Well, that hasn’t quite happened yet…but you’ll be working on one!

All I’m trying to say is life gets a lot better. Things will be hard and you’ll get your heart torn out a few times. Alcohol will put you through the wringer and you’ll have a few near-misses with the Angel of Death, but you’ll pull through. One day you’ll look back on this and laugh at how much time you wasted on meaningless distractions. I know this probably isn’t very helpful for you right now…

But it is for me.

Brian Relay is a digital artist with ten years of random work experience that loosely relates to his field of study. He lives in New Hampshire with his transient musings and collection of half-resolved issues. Together with his un-imaginary friend, they’ve successfully completed their very first comic book. Also, he recently picked up his novel-in-progress (NIP) that was collecting digi-dust for an embarrassing amount of time. He’ll let you know when it’s done.

Aspiring novelist/director/podcaster/spiritual guru/normal person

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