Hi there. You don’t know me, but I know your Mom. As it stands, I am poised to know a lot of people’s moms here soon, but I chose you to write to because of a few very simple reasons. First, the other little ones running around don’t have the letter “I” in their name (Some are still on the way, so we’ll see). Second, I’ve been following your escapades since your mom and I started playing softball together, and I already see what’s coming down the chute. Third, soon you’ll start to believe that your parents know nothing and that anything they might say that a stranger says (especially one who shares a shoe appreciation) instantly becomes more valuable coming from said stranger’s mouth. So think of this as an early college-years intervention. Print it out, tuck it away, or ask mom to keep it and to give it to you on that day you move into your first dorm room.
So here are 10 things you need to know and remember:
- Clowns are evil. Trust me on this. I know they might make you laugh, and that their silly antics and bright costumes might seem like bottled baby giggles. That’s because they are. Evil, I say. Evil. Give a clown a chance and the first minute your mom is looking the other direction he’ll snatch your soul right out of you. Mimes are okay, as long as they don’t stare. Then they might be serial killers. Never trust anyone who wears make up. That’ll become very poignant when boys show up on your radar.
- Everything is a test. Even when you think no one is looking, they are. And they’re judging you. They’re tallying your appearance and behaviors in order to pigeon hole you into a stereotype. Once you understand this, you can use it to your advantage.
- Ladies don’t do shots. Sure you might partake in some raucous behavior-who hasn’t? But know that if you’re out with friends in a place full of strangers, and you’re pounding back shots that people are making assumptions about you. You could be dressed like a professional prima donna, and they’ll think you’re desperate. Show some skin and take some shots and you’re suddenly fair game for a fling. You can say “what other people think doesn’t matter” and that will be true until you pound some shots and puke in public in front of the person you have to interview with for a new job and they recognize you from the previous weekend. Just know who you’re with and be safe, okay?
- Using hearts and smiley faces to dot the “I” in your name isn’t cute-it makes you look like an air head, which we both know you aren’t. People won’t take you seriously, so don’t do it. You could be a brilliant doctor or teacher and if the first impression of you is a “cute as can be” heart over your name or on anything you are connected to, you have a long way to regain credibility.
- Pink is the color of female oppression. (I say this in that “kinda-joking-kinda-not” sort of way.) Why do you think Barbie is packaged in Pink and not Blue? Don’t worry, you’ll understand once you start reading social and literary theory in college. (Call me, we’ll talk.) You don’t have to wear pink or ruffles to be feminine. You don’t have to even look feminine if you don’t want. But be yourself (yes, even if it means pink is your “black.” Your mom and I will likely go into convulsions, but if it makes you happy, go for it).
- Having a passion is healthy as long as it’s under control. Your love of shoes is marvelous, as long as it doesn’t put you in debt or take over your life. If you decide to max out your charge cards to buy new clothes and shoes every season and neglect to pay your bills, you might have a problem. And if you start to skip classes to play WoW for 12 hours at a time, seek help. Everything in moderation, dear.
- Heartbreak doesn’t last forever. That boy you love in 5th period biology who dumped you will probably end up regretting it for the rest of his life. He’ll remember you in years to come when you’re happily married to your dream man with 2.5 kids and a dog. It hurts now, sure, but remember that every relationship you have teaches you a little more about what it is that makes you happy and what doesn’t. You’ll realize this at your first reunion.
- Value yourself. Don’t let the decisions of others destroy your self confidence. If you are underappreciated at a job, do something about it. Leave! If you are unhappy in a relationship, leave! If a friendship proves to be toxic, end it. Only you can set your own value. Jobs, loves, and friends come and go. You deserve to be happy; sometimes that means compromise and sometimes that means knowing when to cut ties and move on. Life hurts, but knowing who you are and valuing yourself will make it that much easier. So will chocolate, a good book, and shoes.
- Dream Big. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something. When you dream big other people want to throw negativity your way, but don’t let that stop you. Believe in yourself and your abilities and to hell with everyone else. If you want something, go after it. Don’t be content with second best, and don’t settle for average. When the rest of your peers are content to just get a trophy for participation, your hard work and desire will set you apart from the rest. Be careful, though, because people will see that as a threat. Be ready for that.
- Your parents love you. You’ll probably go through some rough patches with your parents, as all teens do. And you might even think that they’re out to crush your dreams and trying to ruin your cool status. In truth, they’ve been through the gauntlet already and they just want to save you from any mistakes or pain you might encounter. You can’t fault them for that. They love you. One day you’ll realize that your mom and dad aren’t as dumb as you think they are, and that they made incredible sacrifices for your happiness. On that day, you need to find a way to go hug both of them and tell them you love them too. Don’t forget to say Thank You.
You’ve got an amazing life full of highs and lows ahead of you, and I can only imagine what your world will be like when all of this finally makes sense to you. Remember to learn from both the good and bad situations you encounter and your road won’t be so bumpy. Now go put on your favorite froggy boots, grab your finger paints, and start chasing those dreams!