Dear Youth
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Growing Pains

by Tia Henricks, photos via The Wylde

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

“You are simply discovering yourself in places
you barely thought you’d ever go searching.”



Life began when those laminated pieces of “validation” entered my sweaty hands mid summer. What I thought was my new VIP pass to the real world.

I spent an incredible amount of time hating what school forced me to do, so I focused on my passions heavily. Writing and drawing, concocting an incredible plan that I had ready for when I stepped out of those walls. The funniest thing about it all, I could’ve easily left high school and followed through with what I truly loved to do; but here I am, questioning my path with not a single restriction, only my own motivation and responsibility. what I did not understand was that I was completely petrified of failure, particularly my own, an illusion in which I created from fear.

Those were the last few moments I felt I had everything planned and ready for the adventure into the real world, knew where I wanted to be. Little did I know, I had so much to learn before I even briefly had any of my fucking my shit together…

The first few months out of high school were like a breeze. I felt like I had everything ready to go, a game plan, I was going to go here, work there, do this and do that; but I soon found out that the world had a completely different plan already mapped out for me. Never did I think a year later I would’ve met, seen, experienced the things I now experience on a daily basis. I never truly began to worry about the months ahead, I was completely in awe of the world and the beautiful unpredictability it gave me everyday. I was looking forward to weekends out with mates where we’d only make it home at sunrise the next day. A few tough and expensive lessons with unpaid rent and lease problems later, and this reality quickly dissolved. Late nights, run-ins with toxic people and impulsive actions, chuck in a few bad relationships with boys I should not have let enter my life or body. I saw myself spiral, though it looked like “growing up.”

“This is normal.”

“I’m so young, I have time.”

“I can handle this.”

Yes, these statements were indeed, and still are, correct… to an extent. I’m now understanding the responsibility I hold as a basic human, and the role in my own world, as well as that of the people around me. Do I really want to be spending my hard earned money and energy on the things that give a temporary value to my life? Questionable, but this is just another chapter, another lesson I am still learning, and having to understand that is lesson number one to understanding myself

Self discovery is terrifying, but thrilling.

“The most unpredictable, scary, and unplanned experiences give you the most insight on who you truly are; they test your limits, and shows you your strengths and weaknesses.”

tia 11



I’m facing fears & hope, finding what I love & what I hate, money stress, happiness, balancing a social life, incredible friendships and toxic ones too. Independence, sleep, benders, parties, new friends & old, strange places, clothes, expression art, exploring the world. Heartbreak & love, living out of home, and all the fun shit life has to offer. I’m starting a chapter in which I’m trying to figure out exactly who I am, and through what seems like priceless (and also pricey) experiences, I’m trying to figure out a purpose, a job, good support system, fun, teenage-hood, adulthood, adventure.

But how do I do this?

I guess its just a big fat fucking balancing act which I wish I could just ignore, but this is the reality of life. Pure, raw and hard, but I wouldn’t take a single thing back I’ve experienced

Self discovery comes with patience, motivation and responsibility; but these are the best and worst years of my life, and I would never trade my lessons par one or two.

Rome was not built in day.

And neither am I.

I have to remember to have fun, to laugh as much as possible. Fuck-ups are completely impossible to avoid, but they are how the best lessons are learned. I am growing through every painful, confusing, beautifully unplanned encounter life wants to throw at me, ridding myself of the expectation of what my life should look like.

Those school gates closed behind me and pushed me into the real world, and I don’t think I was ever ready for what really laid ahead… But that’s just it, isn’t it? You never can prepare enough for what life throws at you; drop your expectations on people, things, places, because it will never be exactly what your thoughts have created. Reality is the reality.

To all those: You are not lost, take every moment as it comes. You do have time, a lot of it, but make the most of each moment, because it passes quicker than you really think. You are simply discovering yourself in places you barely thought you’d ever go searching. You do not need to have your shit together – no way in hell – but by personal experience, I’m learning exactly what I don’t want to be wasting myself on, and that is just as important as what or where you want to be directing your energy.

// For me, it’s a time of re-balance and re-focus.

You will find your ground once again, in the most unexpected of places. Go with it, drop your expectations; this is growth, and purely.

This is life.

tia 9

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