13 Truths of Being Thirteen

Becoming a teenager.

The angst, excitement, fears, friends, and freedom–it’s epic.

It was 1990 when I turned thirteen. The golden age of unconventional fashion. Donald Trump made headlines by saying outlandish things, tension brewed with Russia, and the lyrics of rappers and rockers sent shockwaves through every teen– igniting a passion in them, and rage in their parents.

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Thirteen is not an easy age. Your body’s raging from every angle while your ability to rationalize and cope diminishes. Every ounce of normalcy, gone. Your mind tells you you’re ready for anything. Your actions tell us all otherwise.

There’s a reason thirteen comes with a stigma. Highrise buildings omit the thirteenth floor. An entire horror genre was franchised off the fear. The number thirteen is quite literally– ODD! It’s an age that challenges even the most compassionate souls.

Regardless of when you grew up, thirteen is the age when you’ve never felt more outside yourself, more different, more alone. We’ve all been there, we’ve all felt it, we’ve all made it to the other side. (Hopefully with little damage!)

Thirteen.

The truth is– it sucks and it’s also one of the most fantastic times of your life.

No matter how you experienced thirteen, you can’t deny these Thirteen Truths of  Being Thirteen:

YOU KNOW EVERYTHING:

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There is nobody on Earth smarter than a thirteen-year-old. (Really!) With full conviction, you are always right and can’t comprehend how undeniably stupid everyone is, especially adults. Like, WTF.

YOU KNOW NOTHING:

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How is it that everything you do is wrong?
The world is against you at almost every turn. You’re late, you’re too slow, you’re too loud, you’re too messy. Can’t you do anything right?

A FAMILY OF FRIENDS:

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Your social status is of highest priority, no matter who you leave behind. Your mom is no longer your universe. Seeing friends and knowing your place within their circles is all that matters. It’s a jungle out there and you have to fight to be Tarzan or Jane.

MUST. EAT. FOOD:

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Mangia! Mangia! You eat your parents out of house and home knowing it may never end. You start growing up and sometimes out– realizing early that some kids can eat without consequence, and some just can’t…but still, y’all keep eating anyway– because, well, you have to.

TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL:

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Teachers, projects, and homework no longer make the grade. School is to friends, as chips are to dip…it’s just a vessel to get to the good stuff. From the bus ride to the cafeteria, group projects and sports– peers are priority number numero uno and will be until college apps come calling.

ALL THE SMELLS:

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Lord! It’s as bad as a monkey’s butt! Body odor is an unnecessary evil of thirteen and beyond. Sweat festers in every crevice of a teen and it’s often noticed by everybody but them. From periods to pit stains, to unwashed bodies and clothes. Smells like Teen Spirit needs to step up its game!

SEX:

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That awkward phase where the opposite sex not only suddenly exists but…SCHWING! Crushes and blushes and girls and boys delight! Bodies start responding and things just. get. weird.

SLEEP:

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Gone are the days of ‘rise and shine.’ Your bedroom becomes a dungeon of sheets and sweat. If you’re home without friends you’re in your cave sleeping the day away and dreaming about…

SEX:

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It’s bigger than we thought–(That’s what she said!) Sex isn’t just about your crush, it’s always on your mind (and your body)!  You start to understand the less than subtle jokes in movies and tv, your friends tell you all the things your parents didn’t want you to know, and the idea of not thinking about it– It’s HARD (Doh!)

INDEPENDENCE:

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You really are ready to fly. You’ve built some trust, you’ve cut your own cord…you (sniffle)…just go away, okay!

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDLY:

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You’re not a little kid anymore. Peer pressure offers a real opportunity to (pardon my ‘mom speak’ but,) MAKE GOOD CHOICES…or not! Drinking, drugs, vaping, bullying, sex…it’s the real deal as a teen. These actions come with real consequences and that’s a hard lesson to learn.

MUSIC:

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Your music begins to define who and where you are in your life. You listen to and feeeeeel the lyrics and somehow channel the inner artist in you. You relate to the story being told and sometimes take them on as your own. A white suburban boy transcends his emotions to the hood. The girl who once wore nothing but pink takes a walk on the wild side to the war cries of classic rock. It’s all very… twisted, sister.

LOVE:

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We best come out the other side of thirteen when we’ve been loved. As smelly, know-it-all, over-eating, sex-obsessed, swearing, too-cool-for-anyone, I-can-do-anything, yet mistake-making ASSES, we need to take them for who they are and love the shit out of them. Because thirteen. We’ve been there and although they think they can do anything, they don’t have to do it alone.

What were you like at thirteen?  What makes you cringe when you recall that age?  Let’s commiserate and then hit the mall for some Orange Julius!


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24 thoughts on “13 Truths of Being Thirteen

  1. Made me laugh on some of the awful things I’ve done on my thirteenth. I should definitely look up to my son going this age.

  2. Great Post! So True especially the one with the Music.
    Keep it up
    -The Handy Journal

  3. This is so true! I teach middle school and can really identify with this.

  4. Yes! Thank you for reminding me of all of this hahaha! I have to pin this for when my 4 year old gets there. By then I’ll definitely be too far away from 13 to identify anymore. Thank you!

  5. Aww… I miss those days spent as a middle school teacher with 13 year olds. They are so fun, still awkward, but trying their best to be like the cooler older kids. Loved this post. 🙂

  6. I was all about the music starting at 13! That point was the truest of all of them for me. Also, your description of 1990 sounds about like today…hmm.

  7. So I turned 13 in 1995. I was an MTV kid for sure. Favorite band was Nirvana. I was big into trying to “Dress The Part”, so I had my flannel around my waist at all times. That year honestly felt like a blur, but it was some of the most fun times I ever had. And yeah, at that age, you couldn’t tell me NUTHIN! I had it ALL figured out! lolol

  8. I feel you interviewed my almost 13 year old for this article. Spot on.

  9. My youngest daughter is 14 and still experiencing some of the leftovers from thirteen. You pretty much nailed everything on the head. The whole boy thing is hard for a father to get past. Great and fun read

  10. I think I was a pretty boring 13 year old to be honest. I know I was very sassy with my mom, but I was too shy to get into much trouble until I was older! Right now my son is 17 months, I feel like he’s kind of like a 13 year old… He sleeps a lot, cries a lot, doesn’t know how to talk to girls, drinks way too much (milk), eats way to much, and thinks he can do everything, but he really can’t. I’ll update you when he’s 13, we’ll see if there are a lot of similarities!

  11. Well, I just typed, “I was 13 in 1989,” then had to delete it. Either maths isn’t my strong point, or I am in denial about my age! So, starting again, I was 13 in 1979, and oh, what a weird age. Skinny, gangly, spots, no confidence, but hey, we had some great music to listen to back then.

  12. Oh this post brings me back to my own days as a thirteen year old, the good, the bad and the ugly. I also see my current students moving right into this time of there lives. Thanks for your sense of humor as your so accurately share the confusing lives of teenagers.

  13. Ohh Man..no one knows it better than me! I have a thirteen year old who changed into a totally different individual over last six month- at times I feel I don’t know this boy at all! These Changes really got on him ..I can relate to every section of your post. A great post

  14. I don’t even want to remember being that age. Lol. I remember all of these things being true though. It’s definitely a trying time in life, no matter who you are.

  15. Oh my goodness I LOVED this post! Literally everything you mentioned brought back a flood of thirteen year old memories.

    I was a damn terror when I was thirteen. Sneaking out of my house at night, stealing my dad’s cigarettes, oh the list could go on and on. I really feel bad for my parents for having to put up with my teenage shenanigans.

    But like you said, I came out of it as a better human being and now the ‘rents and I are pretty good friends. So I guess it didn’t have any lasting damage!

    Also, Orange Julius – YUUUUM! Possibly my only source of nutrients all through my teenage years!

    Great post!

  16. Great post.You took me back years when I too was thirteen.

  17. I remember I slept a ton when I was a teen! Thinking about it, it was crazy how much I slept. Great post!

  18. Nothing can be farther from these truths! The part where you think you know everything but nothing get me cracking.

  19. This post brought back a ton of cringeworthy memories in my mind. I’m thankful for growth and evolution, because the teenaged years were not pretty. Good grief!

  20. I teach 8th grade–this is all funny, yet so true! I have one class with 20 boys and 6 girls, and the boys are snicker at anything that can be taken more than one way. Sex and the number 69 are always on their mind.

  21. ahahha dejavu, great laugh and thanks for reminding be about my 13´s !!! it´s really the worst age! there´s nothing good about it

  22. Wait…these things were supposed to pass after 13???

  23. Yes everyone needs to be loved hard through their awkward years! It will make them better humans!

  24. 😂😂😂😂😂

    Oh my. This brought back so memories. I think I had a wardrobe malfunction at 13. And the “Miss I know it all attitude” was terrible.

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