1. You don’t need to fit within a label
You can be a feminist who listens to extremely vulgar rap, or like watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians as much as you enjoy super indie documentaries that make you think long after they end. People will expect you to fit inside categories, but what you should know is that EVERYONE spills out of these boxes. We all contradict ourselves from time to time, and that’s perfectly okay. I want you to like what you like, and not worry that it strays from a certain path you’ve been told you should follow.
2. Your body means your rules
I won’t like the idea of you having sex, ever. Because, um, duh, I’m your mom. The thought of my mother having sex seriously disturbs me, just like the knowledge that I do grosses her out. It just is what is. That being said, I’m not going to police your body. I will educate you on everything I possibly can, and hope that you always feel comfortable coming to me with questions and for help, but I’m not going to tell you what to do with your body. There might be consequences, and I will give advice and opinions, but I will not force anything. And I hope you remember that just like I won’t tell you what to do, you shouldn’t let ANYBODY tell you what to do with your body.
3. You don’t have to define your sexuality
Part of the reason people like to define things about themselves is to better understand who they are, and where they fit. Just like the label point above, we like to have certain buzzwords ready to define us. The truth is, sexuality is a much more complicated thing to explain and sometimes, you don’t have answers to questions. Unless you tell me otherwise, I will ask who you like instead of making assumptions like, “Are there any boys you find cute?” I will never care about the gender of you are attracted to, only how they treat you and make you feel. And furthermore, if you are born into what in your heart of hearts you know wasn’t the right gender, I will support you emotionally (and what I can financially) help you become the person you were meant to be.
4. It’s okay to care what people think
This is a piece of advice everyone loves to give: don’t care what others think about you. But honestly, nobody truly follows that. We live in society, you know…with other people. Of course you’re going to care. You’ll find out some girl in class said something mean behind your back and it’s going to sting. Someone will make a joke about that pink argyle sweater you wear, and you’ll laugh it off, but think about it later in the day. It’s OKAY to care and admit that you do. But don’t let it control your life. Understand that not everyone is going to agree with you, and that’s also okay. In addition, caring about other people and what they think is part of being a compassionate person. I hope you always feel for those around you, and make an effort to practice kindness and tolerance.
5. Someone is going to like that thing you hate about yourself
In a perfect world, I’d hope you love everything about yourself, but that’s just not realistic. Maybe you’re self-conscious about that birth mark on your leg, or those left-over acne scars. When I was young, I once told my mother I would never let a man see my barely there A-cup breasts. She said, “How do you plan on having sex?” I would inform her it would be simple, I’d keep my bra on. But guess what? Never have I been with a man who didn’t say he loved them. Your flaws might not appear as flaws to those who really care about you. And also, they might not even be flaws to begin with.
6. You’re going to change a lot
The phrase “You’ve changed” gets tossed around so much, as if it’s abnormal or negative. Think back on who you were a year ago. Five years ago. 10 years ago. We CONSTANTLY change, because life is changing right along with us. Your sense of self might change too, and there’s nothing fake about that. You can reinvent yourself as often as you like, because that’s the beauty of being alive. Try new things. Take new chances. Give yourself the opportunity to grow and explore, because it’s going to happen whether or not you’re open to it.
7. Don’t be afraid of your own success
For a really long time, I was secretly terrified by my own potential. That sounds kind of pretentious to say, but it’s true. I had all these ideas and dreams, but the fear of what it would take to get there, and even more, what might happen if I actually DID get there, was consuming. I became the Queen of self-sabotage, shooting down opportunities or making up excuses as to why I wasn’t ready. Success also means expectations, and the chance that you’ll let someone down. Please don’t be afraid of this. You will always feel better having tried something and failed, then living with the nauseating pit of regret.
8. You’re not going to be the best at everything
My darling daughter, you’re going to suck at something. Like, I’m talking utterly-completely-flat out suck at something. AND THAT’S OKAY. Do not be frustrated that some things take extra work or are a bit of a struggle. This is just a fact of life, and attempting perfection will drive you nuts.
9. You’re going to think you’re in love
At least once, you will be positive you are in love. You will know, with zero doubts, this is the person you want to be with forever. They will knock the air out of your lungs, and if (when) this ends, you won’t understand how you can live with damaged lungs. But you will heal, and fall again, and maybe even discover what you last felt was infatuation, not the kind of real love I want for you.
10. I will be your best friend
Or at least, I really fucking hope so. This doesn’t mean we won’t disagree, or that there won’t be times when you scream that you hate me and I feel like I’ve failed you as a mother. But at the end of the day, I will be the person who loves you so fully and unconditionally, the way a true best friend should. I can’t wait to hopefully meet you one day.