[image courtesy of Ian Forrester]
I’ve always wanted to be a fairy godmother. I don’t get nearly enough opportunities to fulfil this role. But. Like any coincidence, like any sentence AKA je ne sais quoi porquoi, it just kind of – happens. And usually in the most unexpected way.
Social media is, at the best of times, bizarre and hilarious. Not only can I share my second-life stream of consciousness with you (whether you like or not! MUAHAH–) it also allows people I don’t really speak to, or have lost touch with to see what’s going on*. (*=…there are obvious drawbacks with oversharing through the easy access of social media, but that would surely take the form of a further, unrelated and rather bemoan-ful blog post involving The Joy Of Facebook Culls. So, no.) Or find out where I work. Or who I talk to. Or who I’m dating. Or what I’ve read. Or what my 146-character opinion is on something. It gives full access to walls, photos, tweets and connection… and connect with people you’ve never met in real life.
It allows you to be ‘messaged’ by people you know – and, sometimes, those you don’t. And sometimes, social media asks too much of you…or, it plain-well give you an invitation to write.
That’s why it’s amazing. Over the weekend, someone I don’t know – but reads my work and is aware of it through people I do – made a request through Twitter. A simple message, perfectly formed by a young mother in four 146-character-limited blocks. And the request was simple enough – or was it? I’m only in my early twenties myself, and still seeking out the world – but seeing as I don’t really get enough requests in terms of blogging, clearly I was only too happy to oblige.
So here is a post written especially for S, the Vancouver Mom’s youngest daughter. This post is called “Advice For Girls’.
Advice For Girls.
1. Don’t stress about being “pretty”, “thin” or “relationship material”. Just be the best you. All of you! Every last squidge of skin and every hair! Embrace who you are and all you can be. Concentrate on being healthy and strong, physically and mentally…and, oh yes. Develop a skill that just becomes you. Whether that’s making music, writing, dancing, drawing, building stuff – make it yours.
2. Your first kiss will happen. Naturally, too. It will feel just right. Don’t force it – not only because it will be icky and gross, but because you won’t get the tingles if you force it. And avoid pushing for it when clubbing underage; drunk –
– or both.
3. Trust me on this one: *no-one* is completely confident.
4. Never stop making art. Never stop writing.
5. Never, ever, ever let someone treat you worse than you’d treat yourself. Maybe no-one knows it yet, but you’re awesome. And if they don’t know that – their loss. They’re obviously too busy getting stupider. And if all else fails? Learn a martial art which shows them why you’re awesome.
6a. Ouch, ouch, ouch. This is where it gets difficult, little boo. However, it’s really important to understand this sooner rather than later: Disney’s a liar. One of the cruellest, basest, most tasteless liars you will ever encounter. You’ve probably figured out by now that princes aren’t just white men. However, did you know that music can have cryptic lyrics? Or that fairy tales were originally dark, sociological satires? And most of all, honeybee: love is trust, loyalty, friendship and a whole lot of patience as well as rapture, kisses, sparks and romance.
6b. Princes and princesses aren’t perfect. And love is very painful sometimes, too. That’s why it’s as scary as it is incredible. But that’s OK – it’s what makes us keep faith when we do find someone. And it’s why you’ll find the ones worth waiting for – being hurt for – and believing in, against all the odds and usually, all your expectations.
6c. There are plenty of princes and princesses for you to stand up in love with. That’s right! If you keep falling in love, where are you going to find yourself? Stand up in love.
7. Right. Any Beiber you’ve been listening too? Erase. Erase now. Your first boyband crushes will be: The Ataris, Foo Fighters and The Libertines.
Put down that Justin Beiber record! It’s sludge! Give yourself some crunchy Oreo Milkshake instead, honeybun. Save the introspective music for later. Take special note of the lyrics.
8. Pets are really good for the soul. If you can’t get a pet, or you’re not allowed one (I was only allowed fish growing up), then hang out with someone else’s. Weirdly, they help you to see the best in people. Or just watch videos of crows on YouTube.
9b. Seek out strong women. They’re not the prettiest ones – or the loudest ones. It’ll take time, but know that your intuition is something that never lies, and you’ll just know. Trust your instincts about people – they grow better with time. You might make a few mistakes, and that’s OK – you’re supposed to, otherwise, how would know when you’ve found that diamond in the rough? And the more strong women you seek out, the more likely you are to become one. And let’s face it… you will. 🙂
A few starting points.
Number one. Listen to Queen B: healer of wounds, kicker of asses.
9b. Number two: get yourself a copy of Elizabeth Wurtzel’s The Bitch Rules ASAP. I believe this needs to be standard issue for all young women at high school. (And don’t even get me started on how old fashioned most schools are.) Ignore her other books – they’ll only make you miserable.
TBR though, is tailored especially by Lizzie for a UK audience – less about being a bitch, more about surviving a world that gets crueller by the day and tries its best to make you feel ugly when you’re not. Also worth it for the following priceless, essential lines. A few:
“In general, avoid putting your person into any strange situation.”
“Don’t try to be friends with your exes.”
“While pretty and beautiful are qualities that you cannot cultivate without a little help from the gods, gorgeous is actually available for the asking.”
“Have a job, have your own money, support yourself. I might as well be saying, have a brain. That’s how crucial this dictum is. It is the one and only irrefutable rule, one of those absolute truths whose merits have been demonstrated time and again – mostly by way of negative example of what happens to girls who can’t, won’t or don’t earn their own living… You must never become dependent.”
“The sorts of movies to stay away from are really not that hard to categorize: the latest Sandra Bullock vehicle, almost any movie that claims to be a thriller and has the word ‘instinct’, ‘fatal’ or ‘fear’ in its title, most movies that categorize Sharon Stone against type, any Elle MacPherson movie that does not involve gratuitous nudity, and overgrown disaster like Godzilla, anything with Sylvester Stallone that postdates 1977.”
Y’see? Go read.
10. You can believe in dreams differently. How? Dream for yourself – dream up your life. What are you really good at? If there was nothing stopping you, what would you really like to do? Dream, and you’ll find your passion. Dream of creating a beautiful relationship, a family, even – a life where you’re content. Dream for your own reality. This might be hard to understand right now but I think you’ll find, over time, you’ll be able to mix the two – for real – quite potently.
11. The lecture’s nearly done. But before you fly away – focus on the positive, especially when it’s really hard to do that. Try your best to stay up, stay strong, keep asking questions no matter what and stay positive. I promise you’ll always be proud of yourself for it.
12. Take pictures. Ten years from now, you’ll want smiles, faces and photos of seasides, silly clothes, friends and all the ice cream you’re enjoying right now.
13. And finally, breathe deeply. Live in the moment – and take care of yourself. You want to have lots and lots of moments to enjoy.