featured, personal growth

Dear Young(er) Helga

I made a lot of bad decisions in my early to mid-20s. Ya know, minor stuff: choosing to get involved with the wrong kind of men or being so arrogant that I put my future in danger. No big deal.

Older and wiser, bad decisions are still a part of my life. But they’re mostly stupid stuff: getting drunk on a week night when I have work in the morning or not knowing when to stop when cutting my own bangs. With the exception of still not being able to ditch the cigarettes, I can say I’m doing pretty well. I’m neither dead nor in jail so every new day is a good day! And while I’ve made peace with my past and all my shenanigans, there are things I know now that I wish I knew then.

Obviously, I can’t go back in time and chat with younger Helga like proper ladies do. Still, I’m listing these things because some Young and Impressionable Girl Out There might need a nudge in the right direction (not saying anyone should take my advice) or just find them useful.

Eat all the food you want.

From high school up until a a couple of years ago, I constantly deprived myself of food because I was terrified of getting fat/wasn’t as skinny as the girls at school/had broad swimmer’s shoulder and chunky arms. If I ate, I wouldn’t leave the house for the rest of the day because I felt fat. I carried these body issues well into my late 20s and developed pretty shitty eating habits. I was also never skinny enough (obviously because I was an athlete and athletes are supposed to be fit, not waif thin).

If I could sit down with 14-year old Helga (the age when I started dieting), I’d tell her to just eat. I’d tell her to eat the goddamn rice because she’s young and her metabolism is working with her. I’d tell her that she can eat what she wants because SHE WON’T GET FAT.

Don’t waste your youth on diets. Save the misery of counting calories and low-carb meals for later, goddamnit.

You don’t owe people anything.

Guy dropped you off at home and you get the vibe that he’s into you? You don’t have to kiss him good-bye, if you’re not into him. Your body isn’t currency and he’ll probably be okay with a simple “thank ya, see ya!”

You also don’t have to bang a dude just because it was what was expected. Walking away is easy. And if a guy touches you in your sleep and you wake up during the assault, don’t lie there silently (pretending to be asleep) after pushing him off. Get the fuck up and “show him” that what he did is not okay.

Basically: don’t kiss, don’t boink if you’re not feeling it.

You don’t have to be a bitch.

Some people find satisfaction in being a mean girl. I know I did! Maybe it’s growing up in a small town in the 90s or not being well-liked in high school or maybe because I was really just a little butthole but I wanted to be a Courtney Shayne, not a Julie Freeman. We all know how that ended. But no one likes a mean bitch and being nice and kind doesn’t mean you’re boring or “uncool.”

Now I live by these words: be soft, kind and loving. But also take nobody’s shit.

My life is also so much better when I’m not constantly angry or trying to get back at people who annoy me. Sure, I can easily ruin a stranger’s (whose existence is making mine uncomfortable) day with some choice words but do I really need to? Do I really want to?

It’s just so much easier to be a decent human being.

What about you? Do you have any notes to your younger self?

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  • Reply Gelleesh November 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    The second would, probably, be something I’d love to tell my younger self. I’ve made bad choices in life that includes “boys” and although I constantly say that my past has crafted into the better person I am today, if I can avoid having to deal with them… Better. I was young and naive… I thought if the moment expects it to be then why stop the moment? Only to find out that at the end of the day I really don’t like the guy and I was just carried away because of “the moment.” I guess when we’re younger, we don’t think things through that much; unlike now. I have learned how to value myself more and give in to the guy who really deserves it and because I, genuinely, want to be with him.

    I love this post, Helga. <3

    • Reply Helga November 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks, Gellie! It’s kinda kadiri thinking about all those bad decisions but I’m just glad I’m/we’re smarter now!

      • Reply Gelleesh January 23, 2015 at 12:59 pm


        And because of this post, I wrote a letter to my 16-year old self naman in my blog. Aaagh. I cried while I was reading it. xD

  • Reply Nikki November 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Note to younger self:

    You’re beautiful not just because you have a decent face, but also because of your mind and your heart. And people will take advantage of you, so toughen up when it’s needed.

    Also, amen to the body/affection currency.

    • Reply Helga November 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      U GO, GIRL!

  • Reply Tara Cabullo November 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    A lot like yours :) I grew up overcompensating as well. Funny what age can do hehe :)
    I loved reading this, Helga!

    • Reply Helga November 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks, Tara! So glad na medyo tumalino nung tumanda haha.

  • Reply Raisa November 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    The second point, so much. I’d tell my younger self that giving in won’t make the guy love you. I did so much and got so little back.

    • Reply Helga November 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      I can relate hahaha.

  • Reply Iza November 3, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    This is a fantastic entry, and very spot on. I cannot imagine how I survived my twenties and lived to tell the tales (the worst of which, I’d like to think, have been erased by alcohol and *other* substances).

    Every now and then I scan my LJ (!!!) entries and CRINGE not only at the amount of information I shared with the internet, but also at all the shit I willingly went through, over and over again.

    Ah well. What’s important is overcoming the unnecessary masochism. Let’s drink to that. xx

    • Reply Helga November 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      HERE’S TO US! :)

  • Reply Kaye November 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Younger Kaye,

    Don’t settle. You deserve more.


    • Reply Helga November 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      My ex told me “don’t settle,” I should have listened to him then ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaa

  • Reply Lauren November 4, 2014 at 8:41 am

    “Your body isn’t currency.” THIS.

    • Reply Helga November 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm


  • Reply Trish November 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I would tell my younger self that there are times you she needs to look at the bigger picture and there are times that she has to stop overanalyzing every little thing. That’s just the way it is.

  • Reply Krista November 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    The younger me needs to read the second one. One of the main reasons why I started fucking up my life unconsciously is because there are people esp boys who make you feel like you’re obliged to do something for them just because you’re grateful. If only I knew what those actions could lead to, then maybe those times that I hated myself would never exist.

    This post is so freaking relatable, somehow it feels like you wrote it for the younger me.

  • Reply Jooley November 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Love this post, particularly the “body is not currency” bit.

  • Reply Corinth November 6, 2014 at 10:29 am

    This is really nice Helga. <3

  • Reply Aneth November 6, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Love this, Helga! Thinking of creating one for myself as well lolz

  • Reply Dyanne Pauline November 13, 2014 at 11:43 am

    just bumped into your blog and I’m totally loving it already! Love your style and personality. Especially the last bit here in your article on not taking anyone’s shit despite being a good girl. Way to go!

  • Reply Dani November 13, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    I was smiling the entire time I was reading this. It reminded me so much of my High School life. Trying to fit in, and failing so bad at it.

    I wanted to hug my younger self and let her know that she should acknowledge how different she is. How lucky she is that she is not like everybody else – and that it is okay. Being different is not always a bad thing. It may even take you to that greatness that this world has always been preparing you for. So, never mind the bullies.

    Such a great blog entry. Way to go Helga! :)

  • Reply Jhanz November 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Love this to bits! I actually felt like this was me talking to myself… in the future. I’ve been fcking up my life in a whole bunch of ways as of the moment, and reading posts like these makes me feel like I could be wiser. Hehe :)

    Always been a fan of yours. And always hyperventilating whenever I saw you personally (and never ever having the courage to say hi). <3

  • Reply Ziba November 21, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I love this! Funny, self-deprecating, heartfelt… but at the same time, everything you’ve done before makes you who you are now. No regrets.

  • Reply Sara November 22, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Completely agree to all the notes for yourself. However, as I’ve always been on the heavier side I would tell my younger self to eat but chill out on the Starbucks frappe’s, LOL. That stuff has soooo much sugar in it.

    Oh and of course, I would tell myself to stop feeling the need to manipulate AKA be kind. Now that I’m finally kind, it’s a great feeling :)

  • Reply Justine November 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    As a perfect example of what might be a “Young and Impressionable Girl Out There,” I think really needed to hear this. :) Thanks!

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