Bear with your mother for a moment. As you probably already know, being my child and all, I have a difficult time walking a fine line between sentimentality and snark. Allow me this moment to get a little misty, to wax philosophical and to pass on some advice as you enter your teen years.
1) You are loved. I figured I'd get that one out of the way first. It probably goes without saying, but I don't like to go without saying it. You are loved. When you are feeling lost and alone, there is always someone there you can talk to. I'd like it to be me, but I know there will be things that you may not want to share with your mom. But I do know that for all the things that you feel like you can't come to me with (which I hope is a very small list) there are any number of people who would be willing to listen.
2) You are beautiful. But you are also smart, funny, and kind. While beauty may definitely helps you in many areas of this looks-obsessed society we live in, it will be your humour, your kindness and your willingness to learn that will, in the long run, be the things that dictate the direction your life will take and how you are remembered.
3) You are worthy of respect. Those who would deem you unworthy are not entitled to your time or energy. That being said, treat others with respect as well. Every new person you meet has their own stories, strengths, weaknesses, and potential to be a friend or ally.
4) Recognize your own strengths and weaknesses. Work hard to develop your strengths. Be patient with yourself in areas of weakness.
5) "An it harm none, do what thou will." Basically, be who you are as long as you are not hurting people in the process.
6) You do not owe your time to people who treat you badly. YOU DO NOT OWE YOUR TIME TO PEOPLE WHO TREAT YOU BADLY. It is okay to cut off communication with people who do not respect you or your boundaries.
7) Do not apologize for your passions. Even if someone tells you that your interests and hobbies are weird or boring, do not apologize. Even when you've graduated and gone off and left your family and friends, you'll still have Bandersnatch Cummerbund.
8) Be nice to your sister.
9) Try not to view other women as competition. Don't judge other women's style, bodies, or sexual choices. We face enough judgement for these things from society at large, without being shitty to each other. There is no right or wrong way to be a woman.
10) For the love of Gord, turn your light off when you leave your bedroom. I'm not made of money.
11) Take risks. Not stupid risks, like getting into a car with some drunk asshole driver or doing drugs or stuff like that, but don't be afraid to try new things or to put yourself out there. Like someone? Let them know. If an opportunity presents itself to try something new and exciting, don't let the possibility that things might not work out *exactly* as planned dissuade you.
12) Don't let people tell you that you are not good enough to accomplish the things you want. However, remember that when someone points out potential flaws in your plans, it is not to discourage you, but to make sure you can see and plan for challenges and obstacles in your path.
13) Don't be in a hurry to grow up. Enjoy your childhood and adolescence. Being a grown-up can suck. For instance, grown-ups have to watch their kids grow up and deal with all the crappy stuff that can sometimes come with being an adult. We're also not allowed in the McDonalds Playland.
14) Speaking of which, I will never not worry about you. So you can just forget about that right now, missy. I will, however, do my best to trust that you will make good choices in life.
15) You are loved. Happy birthday, my sweet girl.
|Step lightly, love.|
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