The Young And The Hopeless – Letter To My 18-Year-Old Self

Here stand the twin bookshelves, music on one side, arts and crafts on the other,
Here you take shelter following another hellish encounter,
You convince yourself that you prefer the sanctuary of the library,
Fuck the student body, that’s what you tell yourself daily,
The proud poster boy of teen angst, it’s a title you wear proudly,
Nursing that chip on your shoulder yet crying about how life is so shitty.
On some level I get why you would think like that,
But in the end it’s your fault that your life’s outta whack.

It’s been one heck of a year, final exams are drawing near,
You’re feeling the heat now, the pressure kicks into high gear,
You’re not alone, your peers have hit the ground running,
Freedom looms but not without hard work and studying,
You try to be a model student and your pluck is admirable,
Especially in the face of another rather serious battle,
The bullies are ruthless, such is their cruelty,
Leaving you overwhelmed and on the brink of insanity.

Yet you refuse to fight back, even when they cross the line,
Why give them the satisfaction? Where’s your dignity and pride?
Don’t have to use your fists, Kid, but surely you have the balls to tell those punks to back off once and for all,
But nah, you fear the school rules and the bullies’ retribution,
You fear getting beat on before getting slapped with a suspension,
Fuck that shit, Kid, you have to take a stand,
Let them know that you aint nobody’s lamb.
You bitch and moan about how your friends betrayed you,
Joined your attackers and made a fool out of you,
You should have known better, Son, you fell for the mask,
You dropped your guard and that’s just the cold hard fact,
You played yourself, Kid, you gave up your honor,
Stop hiding behind denial and admit to your error.

And quit worrying about your grades so damn much, you’re stressing over nothing,
Give it your best shot but not to the point of suffering,
Grades are temporary, your health and well-being are forever,
The world don’t care about a number on paper.
And guess what, Kid!? Life hasn’t started fucking with you yet,
It’s a raging river beyond those gates and you’ve yet to get your feet wet,
The grades you chase won’t mean shit, there are no gold stars,
There’s no reset or retry, like the video games on which you waste your hours,
And if you can’t defend yourself in here, how will you survive in a world where the weak are chewed up, spat out and then left to die?
Leave your comfort zone, just for a moment, explore the world around you,
You’ll see the poor and downtrodden, take a walk in their shoes,
Many days without food and shelter will make your grievances seem trivial,
You think you have it tough? Try getting caught in their vicious cycle.

All you have to do is study hard and stand your ground,
To give it your best and not let assholes push you around,
And in the midst of this you forgot the most important things,
You have a family that will be there through thick and thin,
You can afford to eat three square meals and got a roof over your head,
You can go home at night and sleep on a warm bed,
Many would say you’re fortunate, that you should count your blessings,
Rather than stay bitter over your useless, temporary problems.

And as crazy as this may sound I urge you to enjoy your life now,
Before you enter the adult world with its many ups and downs,
You think that school’s a pain in the ass and that those bullies are crass?
Wait til you face life on your own, with nothing to fall back on but your willingness to soldier on when all hope seems gone,
Life won’t always treat you kindly it can be rather cruel,
Beat you to your knees and beyond, leaving you bloodied and bruised,
The sharks will be swimming, waiting to strike the unsuspecting,
You’ve been fooled before in your youth, your game plan needs revising,
Your teen years are drying up, soon you’ll join that cold world,
Make the most of what you have now before that chapter’s closed.

You’re probably wondering who I am and why I know so much about you,
I aint no stalker but you’ll get to know me very soon,
I’ve been there done and done that and I can tell you it gets better,
As long as you’re willing to leave behind the snarkiness and anger,
Pull yourself together, Kid, be a fuckin’ man,
Grow up and drop the false cool-guy persona of teenage angst,
Step up to those punks, there is still time to give them all a piece of your weird and wonderful mind.
That’s all I have to say, there is still hope for you yet,
School’s almost out, Kid, kick ass before riding into the sunset.

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