1. Whether you shave your legs or not
It’s summer, and you want to wear shorts, but your legs haven’t been shaved in a couple of weeks. Should you shave? ONLY IF YOU WANT! Don’t shave because it’s what society expects, shave your legs because you want to shave your legs. And if you don’t? Honestly, no one will care. There’s a 99.9% chance that no one will even notice.
2. What tattoos you’re getting
Get tattoos because they mean something. Get them because they don’t, get them for the sole reason that you like how they look. Get small tattoos on your wrist. Get large tattoos on your thighs. Get tattoos that everyone else has, like a heart. Get unique tattoos that are on no one else’s body. Get B&W tattoos, or colorful ones, or watercolor ones, or glow-in-the-dark ones. Get whatever the hell you like.
3. Your attitude
Every day you have a choice. You can be happy or you can be sad. Or excited, or angry, or positive, or negative, or anything. No one gets to decide what your attitude is going to be except for you. If someone tells you to lighten up, but you’re really not in the mood, then bask in your anger! Who cares? It’s meant to be felt! Just don’t hold on to it for long.
4. How you choose to react to things
If something bad happens to you, and you want to be annoyed, feel annoyed. If something sad is happening to you, and you feel like giggling, giggle. Don’t ever let someone tell you not to react a certain way or that you’re “exaggerating.” You’re allowed to react how you want, and if they don’t like it, then they can react how they want. Again, just make sure you’re not holding on to anger or sadness for too long!
5. What you get to wear
Wear shorts and a t-shirt every day. Wear dresses or suits or bow ties or crazy socks. Wear nice shirts, shirts with weird designs, button-ups, jumpers, sweaters that are too big for you. Wear your shortest shorts or long skirts or tight jeans. Wear high heels or sneakers or flip-flops or slip-ons or moccasins. Wear what you like. Wear what makes you feel good for you, not for them.
6. How many piercings you get to have
If you want to have 5 piercings on one ear, and 3 on the other, you can totally do that. If you want a piercing under your lip and on your eyebrow or on your belly button and your hand, you can do that, too. Pierce your nipples or your tongue or the hardest parts of your ears. Or have no piercings at all! Have them on your earlobes, and that’s it. Piercings are up to you. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s “too much.” Fuck “too much.”
7. If you can wear pads or tampons
I don’t know why some women find it strange that girls over 18 use pads. 40-year-olds can use pads, and whoever said they shouldn’t is really… weird. Whether you use pads or tampons is completely up to you, it’s about what makes you feel comfortable. Use one or the other, or both, or use menstrual cups, or whatever else there is. You make that choice, not a bunch of random women on the Internet.
8. If you’ve been hurt
If you’ve been hurt by someone, and that someone says they “didn’t even do anything, so stop playing the victim,” run away. They don’t get to decide what your reaction is to what they did. If you want to be hurt and cry and feel heartache, you’re allowed to do that. Don’t ever let someone make you feel wrong, weak, or stupid for being sad. Vulnerability is not a weakness.
9. What you eat
If you want to eat cold pizza for breakfast or have a protein shake, that is completely up to you. If you like to have steak and fries for dinner at 7:00 PM or if you prefer to eat Lucky Charms at 8:00 PM, then have what you want. There are a lot of rules about what you should eat and when you should eat it, and yes they’re important, but don’t ever let it overwhelm you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat Reese’s Pieces at midnight as you watch a show. Just don’t let people, like a partner, tell you what to eat unless you’ve given them permission.
10. How you feel
How you feel about anything in the world is up to you. Some people may not agree with the way that you feel about certain things, but we weren’t all meant to agree. I wish we were… but that’s not how it turned out. Don’t let people make you feel bad for choosing to feel good about something that others might think is bad.
11. Which career to take
A lot of people let society or their friends or their parents greatly influence them about which career they should take. If all of your family are lawyers, it doesn’t mean that you need to be a lawyer. You don’t have to take over the family business unless you want to. You can become a doctor or a blogger or an entrepreneur or a teacher or join the circus for all I care. This is your life, and you get to decide what will make you happy for the rest of your days. (Or for a couple of years, even. You can change career paths whenever you want!)
12. What college you’ll go to (if you go to one)
Don’t choose the college that’s closest to your family because your parents really don’t want you to leave—unless you want to. Don’t let the idea that your friends are all going to Ivy League universities, and you’ve decided to go to community college make you feel like you’re any less. Choose the college that’s best for you, for your dream experience, and for what you want to do in life. That’s a choice that’s completely up to you.
13. What you get to create
Stop feeling insecure about what you like to create, whether it’s what you’re pursuing or just a hobby. If you like to make puzzles, embrace that shit. If you like to paint or color, own it. Lose yourself in your photography or typography, in your magic or your cooking or your writing without any guilt. Don’t feel that what you enjoy to create is weird or boring. Love that you love what you love.
14. Who you love
Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, or anything else isn’t a choice. The way that someone didn’t choose to be straight, queer people didn’t choose to be attracted to the same gender. That’s just what it is. So don’t let someone decide that you’re going to be straight because that’s “what’s right” or because that’s “the norm.” There is nothing to decide. You are you, and that’s all there is to it. Love yourself.
15. Who you surround yourself with
Your friends, your tribe, those are the people that you get to choose. No one else can decide who you’re going to be hanging out with, who you’ll be adventuring with. As long as those people are supporting you, loving you, and looking out for you, then nothing else matters. Make sure you’re not hanging out with toxic people who only push you to the ground. You deserve better.
16. What music you get to listen to
Stick to one genre. Like all of them. Like 3 of them. Listen to old One Direction songs, or Connie Francis, or Depeche Mode. Blast Nirvana and WILLA and Ariana Grande and Whitney Houston and YouTube artists and the mainstream rappers and the ones no one knows about. Sing pop and rock and rockabilly and r&b and songs from musicals. Listen to what you want to listen to, not what others think is cool. Who gets to decide what’s cool anyway?
17. What you read
Read the Harry Potter books at 30. Read children’s chapter books at 20. Read all of Stephen King’s books, or all the classics, or never read those at all. Read fanfics or bestselling self-published books. Read 1,000 paged novels, or short stories, or novellas. Read historical fiction, or fantasy, or memoirs, or books about space, or books about feminism, or books with cliché coming-of-age stories. Read every day or read every 3 months. Read for 20 minutes or read for 5 hours. Read what catches your attention.
18. What you want to do for fun
You get to define what’s fun for you. Nobody else gets to choose what’s fun for you, not even your closest friends. Fun to you can mean staying in on a Friday night to watch Wynonna Earp, it can mean skipping a party on Saturday to read your latest book, or going out to explore the city on Sunday morning. You can decide if you want to work or party until 4 in the morning, or go bowling, or start a band. This is your one life, and you can decide how you’re going to enjoy it while you’re here.
19. What you believe in
Don’t be ashamed to say that you believe in God, in the Universe, in Fate, in Destiny, in Allah, in Jesus, in the Bible, in multiple gods, in goddesses, or in freaking horoscopes. If you believe that something out there is protecting you, then don’t be embarrassed to admit it. If you think that your life is prewritten, then I’m happy that you think that! If you don’t believe in anything at all, that’s okay, too.
20. What to do with your life
You’re in control of your life. You get to decide what to do, what’s best for you, how you’re going to do it, when you’re going to do it, how long you’re going to do it, and everything else in between. Some choices are made to be between others or you’ll need to have others in mind, and sometimes situations change, but at the end of the day, this is your life. You get to choose what to do with it. No one gets to decide for you.