For the girls
Advice for girls:
Be loud and gross and take up space.
Stop saying “sorry” and start saying “don’t interrupt me.”
Stop saying “Because I have a boyfriend” and start saying “because I said so.”
Say “no” and say “none of your business.”
Take selfies and don’t laugh at jokes that aren’t funny.
Be snide and sarcastic and wear your hair the way you like it.
Help out other girls and be vocal about what makes you mad.
Be masculine and feminine and both and neither and be unapologetic.
Don’t set aside your comfort for boys’ egos.
I saw the above on social media this week and found myself wishing I’d read it when I was 12 years old instead of 56. I’m not one to spend a lot of time second-guessing or agonizing over my life choices beyond learning from mistakes because, really, where does that get you? It’s not just an unproductive punishment, it’s simply a waste of time and energy.
Still, I wish I could have read, understood, and internalized the above advice decades ago. I was raised to be a people-pleaser and became an introvert somewhere along the path. Staying out of everyone’s way and learning to be content with my own company has been both blessing and curse over the years. Now, I am certainly closer to being the person described above. When I reached my 50s, a light bulb popped on over the head of my inner adult and I felt like I’d finally earned the right to be who I am. But I still have work to do.
It’s kind of a shame that we often don’t fully develop our true selves until much later in life. The time to make so many enormous and consequential life choices comes at the beginning, when we’re all a little crazy, green, and uninformed. (Who came up with that timeline?) And it’s at that stage, ironically, that we think we are perfectly capable and know everything. But very few people get everything right the first time. Bless those do-overs life sometimes gives you. To make better choices, allowing a chance for real contentment to settle in.
How will you honor your true self today? Today, I may not be “loud and gross,” but I’m definitely planning on taking up more space.