As much as I would like to nurture and protect you from the wildness of the world we live in, I also know that life is one hell of a great adventure that has to be experienced, and felt and built in the sweat of its highs and lows. But here are a few things I felt called to write to you in 2017, a time where headphones still had a cord that would always get tangled – I know you think mama is very old-. I’d like to preface this by saying that you are allowed to test life, make your own rules and do what it takes to make it work your way. But also, I made you (MUAHAHA), so read this. Love you.
Always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, but don’t overuse the word ‘sorry’
Manners are vital in this past-paced world where so many people have forgotten some of the most basic elements of human-to-human respect. However with the word ‘sorry’, women can tend to overuse it to others when all they are doing is simply taking up space: ‘Sorry to interrupt, but…’ ‘sorry to be a pest, but I just have a quick question…’ ‘Sorry for bothering you…’ only say ‘sorry’ when you have genuinely done something wrong that you wish to take responsibility for. ‘May I…. please? Thank you.’
When someone calls you ‘bossy’, question it
If a teacher calls you ‘bossy’ for wanting to invent the games at lunchtimes or direct the play, I want you to consider something, before you decide to start being more quiet, or start to think being ‘bossy’ is a bad thing. What are they calling the little boys who are doing the same thing? Are they being called bossy too? Or being called a ‘leader?’ While it’s important to make sure everyone in the group feels seen and heard and respected, remember to always ask if the boys are being expected to act the same way. Okay?
[High school years…]
You will not be any happier once you lose x amount of weight.
This ‘ideal body’ bullshit (sorry, you know by now mommy swears a lot, IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE ALLOWED TO) is a physically unattainable societal construct designed to keep women insecure, small, and wasting a lot of money and time when they could be otherwise dominating the world. Eat in a way that makes you move through the day feeling calm, alert and full of energy, but don’t deny yourself the pleasure food brings in this life. Beauty is in the way your eyes and smile shine, and how you carry yourself around. It has very little to do with your jeans’ size.
Your ‘virginity’ is not a thing and it is certainly not something you ‘lose’.
Sex is not something you ‘give away’ and neither is it a ‘duty’. Sex is an act two consenting people participating in a mutually respectful and pleasurable experience. I know this might sound a bit confusing at first, because there is this small undercurrent in the word that seems to imply women who embrace their sexuality are ‘bad’ women. That is something we call ‘sexism’ and you will encounter a lot of this. Don’t buy it. Sex is an amazing thing, and is not a taboo. Please don’t be shy to openly ask me questions about it, seek to understand it better, and set up your boundaries when needed.
Don’t waste too much time worrying about being ‘popular’.
Popularity is such a weird concept. One minute you’re on top of the world and next minute no one will talk to you. Girls can be mean, like very mean. And many will bully others, just out of fear of finding themselves on the other side of the fence. Don’t play this nasty game… my advice; break away and make your own little wolf pack of cool, kind, funny individuals who love your weirdness and genuinely care about your welfare. It’s easier to stand in your truth and accept you can’t keep everyone happy, than trying to hustle to fit other peoples requirements. Everyone is way too worried about what people think of them, to think much about you, anyway. Be the best version of yourself, and be kind to others. You’ll see how, in a few years time, you’ll rise above all the ones that once were ‘popular’ but mean.
In terms of sport…
I won’t force you to do some Saturday club sport you hate if you don’t want to. However, if you don’t like surfing, I will disown you. Hahaha. But really, I encourage you to have at least one outlet in your life that pulls you out of your brain. Our body is such a beautiful machine, and it is quite unbelievable what we are able to achieve with it. Challenge yourself, go out there and push it until you find yourself laughing out loud, high on endorphins! I’ll be your biggest fan in any activity you choose to practice, even if you decide to change your favorite sport seventeen times. But don’t make me buy a horse twice because you’ve quit horseback riding, but suddenly wanna try polo. Also please take me into your team if Quidditch becomes a real thing.
[After school ends…]
If you don’t see yourself reflected in the environment around you, either go find another environment or make a new one.
If you find yourself feeling ‘too much’ for your environment, be it too sensitive, too loud, too crazy, too weird, too passionate, it might mean you either need to find community elsewhere, or make your own world. It does not mean you need to cut yourself to fit in the container.
Make a life that feels good, not one that looks good.
This requires following your intuition a lot. And also making choices that, at the time, don’t necessarily look rational. But there is literally no point creating a life that looks good in the ”how to do ‘Life'” book, if you don’t like how it feels. I can’t remember who said it but there’s this bomb saying “the things that excite you are not random. They are connected to your purpose, follow them!” Whatever it is… I want you to build a career / have projects that make you enthusiastic about your everyday life. And also that finds a way to give back to the world.
We could obviously talk love and relationships for days, as real and raw connections is ultimately what we are all running after. But my girl, fall in love with him (or her) for how they ignite adventure within your soul, how you both challenge each other to grow, how deeply they care about you and what you have to say. How they make you rise and not shrink, how their existence make your life easier not harder, how being together expands the range of possibilities instead of limiting them. Good looks? A nice house/car? Mad surfing skills? (lol) The glow of that shit fades. Find someone that makes you laugh, a lot, and treats you well, because you’re gonna be really fucking bored when you’re 80 years old with broken hips, and sex is impossible :). Love will come into your life under different forms; lovers, friendships, shooting stars, pets(!), and will fill your heart with tremendous emotions. Don’t be scared to let people know that you care, and how they make you feel. At last, remember that you’ll always better off alone or with your girl gang, than in company of someone that doesn’t admire the masterpiece that you are.
I love you, and I’m forever proud of all that you are,
Co-written by Caitlin Creeper and Erika Drolet