Dear Rachel and Olivia,
Since I was a teen, my greatest aspiration was to be someone’s role model. To inspire someone. To change a life for the better. I thought I had to work my way into a position of power in order to have my voice heard, but I didn’t realize until just now that there are two girls following in my footsteps that I may be able to help in some way. So here is a short letter for you two because I think you will have some challenges ahead and since I’m not there to help you, read this and try to see whatever wisdom it might hold 😉 Don’t take this too seriously though; I’m not perfect and I don’t have all the answers. I am only 20 for Heaven’s sake, I barely have my life figured out yet 🙂 That being said, this is for you ❤
First off, overdone eye shadow and red lipstick is a horrible way to try and impress anyone. Except for maybe a clown…also, never underestimate the class that a good pair of heels, a nice dress, and a power walk can give you. Shower every day and don’t overdo it on the perfume.
Fun stuff out of the way, let’s get into the meat.
Thank your mom. And I don’t mean post a family picture on Instagram or Facebook and let all your friends know how great she is. Like, seriously thank her. If we aren’t supposed to announce on the street corners when we give to a charity, then the same goes for telling your mom you love her. It’s best when you do it so that no one knows and it’s in between the two of you. It doesn’t have to be something fancy, it doesn’t have to be a gift every day, but you need to do something. Deep clean a room of the house, make dinner one night (and clean it up too), write her something. She has sacrificed more than anyone else in our lives has and has never once asked that we pay her back in any way. Mom’s are incredible. Someday when you get a job and save up some money, take her on a date. Go to dinner, buy her flowers, whatever you want to do. She definitely deserves it. That being said, Mom is a wellspring of knowledge about pretty much anything and she has a lot of wisdom. She is probably one of the only sources of learning in your life that you won’t have to pay for 😉 Make sure you use that knowledge.
You are going to have problems. There will be people who hate you for no reason, who want to destroy your character and tear you down. They will try to manipulate your emotions and take advantage of your soft heart. They only win if you say they do. You are the only person who can let someone have power over you. If you don’t react, if you don’t let them have the high ground, you win and they don’t. If you get into an argument with someone, don’t raise your voice. Don’t attack their character (i.e. “You’re a liar,” “You’re stupid, I’m smarter”), that would be stooping to their level. Learn when an argument can’t be won and be brave enough to walk away. This isn’t admitting defeat, this is you recognizing that the back-and-forth won’t end because they aren’t open to finding a solution. Choose your battles. Learn what is worth the fight and what can be left to die out on it’s own.
Unless you are super lucky, you will have your heart broken at some point. I don’t know by who or what the circumstance will be, but it will probably happen. When it does, don’t let that hurt change you. Don’t let it make you bitter, don’t let it make you hate that person. This goes back to what I said above; they want to hurt you so that they win and they only win if you let them. Be brave enough to keep loving, keep trusting, and to keep hoping they may turn out different. But don’t keep running back to them. Be brave but also be smart. Don’t wall yourself up completely, but put up some defenses. It would be pretty stupid of a king if, whenever his city got attacked, he never put up a wall or a gate. Don’t make yourself completely unavailable, but make sure you narrow some channels.
Don’t let your opinion of yourself be based on what other people think of you or even what you think of yourself. I always saw myself as overweight and mean (what a lovely combination 😉 and because of that I refused to entertain the idea that I could be liked my anyone, let alone that someone might fall in love with me. I was content to live up to my own flawed view of myself and I did perfectly. I felt that beauty was beyond me to achieve and best left up to the models and the other girls I knew who seemed like they had all the luck. I felt like “if I lose X pounds then I can be happy,” “If I put on this makeup I will look prettier,” “If I wear these clothes then people will think I am worth something.” And the truth was (and still is) that no matter what weight I lose, what makeup I buy, or what clothes I wear, the most beautiful thing about me is who I am. And that is true about you as well. If someone only loves you for what you look like, they don’t really love you. And I think it is much better to be loved for you character and spirit than for what you did with your hair or the newest trend you follow. I closed myself off and labeled myself as unapproachable and mean. You will only be as good as you think you are. This is called “self-fulfilled prophesy.” If you think you are mean and no one likes you, you will perceive yourself as mean and you will feel like no one likes you. Envision yourself as who you want to be and then work for that. You are both beautiful. Rachel, you are the tan Amazonian princess who could give Wonder Woman a run for her money. Liv, you are the delicate beauty with the class of a princess and the sass of an action hero. You are both worth so much more than empty complements and senseless flattery. There will be people who will try to bend over backward to gain your favor and there will be those who don’t mind pushing your buttons until you explode. Both of these groups don’t deserve your attention.
You will have hard days. Days where you just want to go home and cry. Days where nothing feels right. Days where you feel like you are alone when you really aren’t, when you feel like no one understands. Days when you will question if anything will be right ever again. These are the days where you have all the more reason to be joyful in what you have and to remind yourself where you are heading in life. Your ambition will get you far and as long you have a reason for what you are doing, the hard days won’t seem as bad. Some days you just need to cry and that’s okay, but don’t stay in that place too long. Have a cry and then pick yourself up, watch a Bob Ross video, make a cup of tea and go find a reason to enjoy living. I have said it before, life is an adventure that you are writing as you live it. Imagine how boring The Hobbit would have been if Bilbo had decided to stay home? It would be a book of him puttering around his house and doing nothing! Treat everything like it is the first time you are doing it and the last time you will get to experience it. Take a moment every once in a while to look around the living room and think of how grateful you are for each person there. Think of how worse off you would be without them. And sometimes when you do this, imagine me there too 😉 Because no matter how many states away I am, I am still family and I love you both ❤
This won’t solve all your problems, but I hope it makes your life richer in some way. Love you both,