Recently I've seen several really well written advice blogs floating around the interwebs. You know things like, what you need to tell your daughter, or son, or what I wished I'd learned earlier in life, what I would tell my 20 something self. So, as you can imagine it got me thinking, cause well, I can over-think my way out of a paper back.
Sunshine, have I given you all the advice I should of? And I thought about what advice my parents had given me. I am sure there was a lot, but the one that sticks with is "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." Grandma used to tell me that all the time.
Now, let me tell you, that was the worst piece of advice I could ever have been given. Grandma meant well, and now I get the point, but as a kid, I took it too literally. If I am nice to people, they will be nice to me. I'm here Sunshine, to tell you that is not true. There are mean people in the world, people with agendas and ulterior motives, people who do not have a clue how to be nice or how to be a friend. And no matter how wonderfully you treat them, they will rarely ever treat you that way back. So that one little line, with all the good intentions it holds, set me up for some major disappointments in life.
I hope that in your life you have seen how I carry myself and behave and that is the best advice, I can give you. There are things I have learned in the last 7 years of changing my life that I certainly wished I'd learned decades ago, but perhaps that wasn't meant to happen.
As I look at you moving into 7th grade and remember how remarkably terribly I was treated in middle school and most especially high school, I feel like a squirrel preparing for Winter, what other 'things' do I need to show Sunshine, tell her, how can I prepare her for what were, for me the worst years of my life filled with such unhappiness and torment that I would do anything to wrap you in a cocoon and keep you safe in my house until you are say 22. I know realistically that can't happen.
So, if I haven't shown you these things by my actions, I'm going to tell you them here.
1. As a general rule, girls/women can be super crazy mean to each other. Don't be the mean girl. And don't let the mean girls get to you... see the problem with Grandma's advice was no matter how nice you are to the mean girls, they will always be mean, and you will fight a never ending battle of why aren't they nice to me when I'm nice to them? Don't stoop to their level either. Walk away.
1a. Because girls were so mean, I found myself making friends with boys. This is, both a blessing and a curse. To this day some of my dearest and closest friends are boys. Thing is, it can sometimes be hard to separate the friendship and potential romantic feelings/physical attraction. I'm still advocating for surrounding yourself with good people male or female... just know that friendships with either gender are work- just make sure both of you are working at the friendship- if not, walk away, it's okay. There are no prizes for the number of friends you have.
2. Use your body. (I've seen this on a lot of the aforementioned blogs floating around). It took me almost 35 years to realize this one. Moving and using your body gives you confidence, helps you process your stuff and is just down right good for you.
3. Learn to be a human be-ing. I am still not good at this, but learn to just be. To sit and watch the grass grow or the clouds roll by. I am an example of an amazing human do-ing. Just sitting and be-ing in the moment is just as important if not more important than do-ing.
4.Your heart will be broken. You will make mistakes. You will lose. Own them, feel them. Move on. It's okay to hold them in your heart and be sad and mad. But don't dwell. Despite outward appearances, very few people have the lives and perfect-ness that they want you to believe. We all make mistakes, owning them and admitting to them is so much greater and takes more courage then ignoring they happened. Broken hearts happen. I think, in reality they don't get easier, but you learn to pick yourself up and try again- whether your heart was broken because of a boy or a friend or not making a team or not getting a part in a play. Similarly, you will lose. No one can win all the time- boy would that be amazing. But it isn't reality.
5. Trust yourself. Understand how amazing you are. How smart you are. Trust your gut and your instincts. And don't let anyone make you doubt yourself.
I tell you all this and know that you'll forget some of it, and you'll be the mean girl one day, not on purpose, but you'll be mean to someone and hurt them, and not have meant to. Or you'll let the mean girls get to you. Or you'll forget how awesome you are and will doubt yourself. Here's the thing kiddo.. we all do those things. Most of us have a pretty good idea of how we want to live our lives and who we truly are in our hearts, the world can be a very noisy place and it can be hard to remember. So that's when you look back here, or you remember how I tried to act and live around you, how I treated people and how I owned my mistakes (most of the time).. that's the advice I give you.