Yes! You’re finally in the double digits and reminding me ‘on the reg’ how soon you’ll be a teenager. (Also, that no one says ‘on the reg’ anymore.) We officially share shoes, you “love to accessorize,” and celebrity crushes are your favorite topic. Maybe I should be wary of the years ahead, but I’ve got to tell you, having older kids is so much fun. I love that we can have great conversations, enjoy the same music, did I mention sharing shoes? Since you’re our firstborn, everything is uncharted territory but there are a few things I want you to know before these next three years slip past us and you ARE officially a teenager.
Don’t be the girl in a country song
… or a rap song… or most pop songs for that matter. There are definitely exceptions to this rule, but always remember, you don’t need itty-bitty cut-off jeans, his t-shirts or any amount of twerking to keep the right kind of attention. You also don’t have to be skinny/curvy/blonde/brunette/tall/short to be beautiful. Instead, be the girl in a Lauren Daigle song… or a Lizzo song… better yet, be both.
You were you, five years ago.
Probably the most untarnished, authentic version of yourself. You’re actually still her now… Know this girl and love her. Too many girls, your mom included, try to change themselves to fit in through the rocky teenage years. And guess what? I constantly felt (and probably looked SUPER) awkward. Then at 30, I rediscovered ‘her’ and realized how much I missed ‘her’. The things that made me different then, make me different now, except now those are my favorite parts about myself. I wish I hadn’t wasted those years. Don’t ever run from or hide who you are… people will love the real, refreshing you.
Crazy is a bad word.
At least when it’s used to describe a girl/woman and her heightened emotional abilities. Don’t ever let anyone fool you into believing your emotions are anything less than a super-power. If you feel strongly, then it should come across that way. If you’re indecisive, that only makes you human. Does something give you a weird vibe? Probably for good reason. You get to feel what you feel, and anyone who isn’t comfortable with it, shouldn’t be sitting near you in the first place.
Use. Your. Words.
I’ve been saying that since you were a toddler, but now it takes on a whole new meaning. Yes means yes, no means no, always. The end. Stand up for yourself and others, speak out against injustices, share your dreams and your concerns and most importantly, speak kindly to yourself. People will treat you how they see you, treat you. I won’t stand by and allow anyone to speak ill of my precious girl, not even you. Let’s find what you love about yourself and celebrate it.
Find safe spaces
You can always tell me when you’re feeling down, or squishy, stretchy or scattered. Everyone (yes EVERYONE) has those days, and talking about it clears up brain space for better, more enlightened thoughts. Be careful with who you share your secrets with, tough… there’s no Undo button. At the same time, never minimize the significance, or abuse the opportunity of someone opening up to you. If you are a safe space to them, handle with care. (Footnote: If someone ever tells you something that feels too heavy to handle, it probably is, come find me.)
And your people.
By People, I don’t mean friends… I mean, they are your friends, but your friends are not your People. Wait, did that come out right? Let me try again. Your People are the ones who SEE you, and who GET you. They’re MORE than friends. Whether they are young or old, boy or girl, close or far away, they know how to catch you when you fall, how to celebrate with you, how to call you out when you need it. You might find a pocket of People all together, or maybe you find them one at a time over the rest of your life. Some you’ll meet, only to lose touch then have the resurface when you least expect it. Just remember, it takes time to earn that designation, and they should always love you, for you and only want the best for you. If they don’t, then they’re not. (Another footnote:: You should marry one of these People.)
The skin you’re in.
This one might be the most important rule because it can be used as an exception to all the others. What matters most to me, as your mom (and speaking for your dad), is that you feel comfortable in the skin you’re in. This means that your words, actions, and decisions are based on the truest, most honest desires of your head and your heart. If one day you realize you are a master-twerk-tress and it truly brings you joy, then we’ll throw that first rule out the window and celebrate you being the best version of you.
No one, not in a private space or public place should make you feel embarrassed, ashamed or uncomfortable to be you. If they do, come find me… and remember, it says more about who they are, then it does about who you are. Always. Every time. The end.
Love you dearly,