Becoming an aunt to this little bundle of joy made me reminisce about all my years of childhood awkwardness and teen angst. And what I realized is that in the midst of all the shouting matches with my mother, flirting with cute boys, and endless phone conversations with friends, I, like most young girls, was oblivious. So I sat down and created a list of the things I want my niece (and all young women) to know:
1.You are beautiful.
Society has a nasty habit of telling girls that they are not good enough. They are not pretty enough, thin enough, or their boobs aren’t big enough. Girls, you ARE beautiful. Beauty cannot be pigeon holed into one idealized image. It comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. In fact, the truest form of beauty radiates from within, so develop your minds, hearts, and souls instead of trying to be just another pretty face. You are more than just a pretty face. You are a beautiful person.
2. Be young.
Being young can often seem like a curse. You ache for the maturity of age and the ability to try “grown-up” activities (drinking, driving, sex, staying out past curfew) without the constant parental interference. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Adulthood and all it’s responsibilities will descend upon you faster than you realize and then you will long for the days before bills and the 9 to 5 grind. Be young and carefree. Go out and get into trouble (not too much trouble).
3. See the world.
The world is a big place with so many different cultures and amazing sights. Go out an explore it. Not only will you learn about far off places, but you will discover so much about yourself. So study abroad, take a road trip across the country, or volunteer in a different country. You will create memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.
4. You are a strong, capable woman/girl.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because of your gender, religion, sexuality, or race. You CAN build the tallest Lego tower, throw a wicked curve ball, master the art of fixing a car, run for President, and whatever else your heart desires. You are capable of great things.
5. Be you.
People will always have their own ideas of who you are or what you should be, but only you can make that decision. You have a responsibility to make yourself happy and to create a life you are proud to call your own. So never be afraid to be yourself, whether that be gay, straight, nerdy, quirky, or anything else. In fact, you can decide the person you want to become. If you want to be a rocker chic, pick up that guitar and start strumming. If you want to become a lawyer, take some college classes. Just remember to choose your own path and be yourself.
Do you have any other advice for the next generation of women? What would you want your daughter, niece, sister, or friend to know?