U need to send eve a similar letter about life as u know it.
Your big brother asked me to send you a letter, like the one I wrote him when he was born. I wondered what to write, since I haven’t learned much new since I penned the last one – learning being a bit of a slow process as you’ll find out.
But then I thought, how about I tell you what I’ve found out about being a girl in this world. It’s a different thing, you see, than being a boy. I won’t say that it’s harder – boys can have it tough too, in a different way – but it is much more complicated. You’ll have super-high highs and super-low lows, and if that’s what living means, you’ll get to live a lot. You’ll find some roads harder to trudge but you’ll also get to do things that boys don’t – like wearing pretty dresses and creating new life. And you’ll find maybe it’s easier for girls to build relationships, to connect to people, and if so, then lucky you since that’s one of the few lasting sources of happiness out there.
So anyway, here, just a few tips for living a girl’s life based on what I’ve picked up over the years:
First, remember you’re a person first. Find that part of you deep down that’s the essence of who you are, that’s apart from how you look, the clothes you wear, who your friends are, who you’re dating, how other people see you, and yes, whether you’re a boy or girl. You won't know what I'm talking about for awhile but you will and this is how you get there: Spend time alone, learn how to listen to yourself, discover what makes you happy, find that core of you and explore its depths, inside and out. Know it so well that when those moments come when you face a choice, when you’re asked to do things that feel funny, when it’s easier to tell a lie than tell the truth, when it seems that everyone is ignoring you or hates you, you can take hold of that essence and it will keep you true. It’s harder than it looks, because you’ll feel bad or sad or insecure or fearful, and you’ll care what other people think, and the emotions and chemicals inside you will tell you one thing when you sort of know better. In those moments, take a deep breath and as you exhale, whisper to yourself who you are.
And that’s my next point, that while there is a you that’s you today, you get to make who you are tomorrow. Who are you going to be, dear little Evie? How you choose to spend your time, who you spend it with, and all the other choosings along the way – all of them matter because they become you. Like I told your brother, you have infinite degrees of freedom – exercise them, own your life. Take a seat at the table, raise your hand, speak first – even though people might look at you funny at first. Don’t be afraid to take up space, stand balanced on two feet, be a little loud, and be damned the consequences. Go out into the world and lean into the wind. Create – make something great that would never have existed but for you. Learn how to do things – change your oil, reset the circuit breaker, put your luggage in the overhead compartment without help. If you don’t take a few risks, you’ll never get to live the life of color and laughter and sheer fabulousness that’s your birthright. You get to make your life – live for yourself and the people you love, don’t let anyone tell you there’s only one or two ways, and make the tradeoffs only when you have to.
Learn to shrug. Girls are judged all the time – for being overweight, for dressing wrong, for being aggressive, for not fitting the pattern of the feminine ideal, for fitting the feminine ideal too perfectly, for being insecure about being judged. People will try to shame you – learn to shrug easily, stand up straight and laugh, and all that muck will slide off your shoulders. Get used to being watched all the time – it’s a weird thing about being a girl that people are always looking at you, but it’s only a burden if you allow it to be. Not everyone is going to like you, but most of the people that matter will. Embrace the power of knowing that and it being okay for people not to like you. It's okay. You have nothing to prove, you don’t need to seem perfect or awesome – you’ll never be perfect but you already are awesome, I promise you. Not least because you’re part of a pretty rockin’ family.
Boys. Sigh. They’ll be at the root of many of the greatest joys and sorrows of your life. Enjoy the fun of it all and give of your whole heart but don’t get sucked into a place where you lose the essence of yourself. Remember that, as much as you love him, there are things that are more important. Do this 4-question test – Would I throw myself in front of a bus for him? Am I happy with him most of the time? Could I live with him day after day, in the long run? When I write out the list of what I care about most, does he care about the same things? If the answer to any of these questions is negative, don’t try to change him and don’t let him change you. Walk away. The worst-case scenario is not not-being-with-him; it’s waking up 10 years later next to him and wishing in your heart of hearts he weren’t there. There are 7 billion people in this world, half of them are boys, and however it feels, there will be other people and you will be happy again.
Lastly, be kind. Don’t be one of those petty, mean girls who bully others and treat the world as if it owes them something. Step out of yourself and recognize others when they approach. Reach out to people who are shy and clumsy and haven’t yet learned how to operate in this world. You are no better or worse than any other human being. And they’ll eventually learn and some of them will become the most interesting and successful people you know. Seek out other girls who are kind too. You’ll want to hang out with the girls who are pretty, popular and fun, but you’ll find that the ones who are generous of heart, who own their responsibilities, and show care for their family are the ones that matter. Surround yourself with whole people who make you better, and avoid broken people who make you worse. Spend your time (and money) on what brings you lasting joy. You only have so much time in this world. Have meaningful conversations rather than many. Spend some of that time with your mother.
Gosh, you’re going to have so much fun. Drink it up.
I love every ounce of you,