[I was encouraged to repost this today b/c apparently people don’t check their internets on Memorial Day… ]
As a woman, you are allowed to express yourself.
You are allowed to be “difficult,” to “answer back,” to “have an attitude,” to stand up for yourself, to be sensitive, to laugh OR cry loudly and grotesquely. You are allowed to have bodily functions. You are allowed to be curious and to ask as many questions as you need to truly understand something.
You are entitled to say no.
You have permission to say no at any time, for whatever reason, whenever you like. And you do not ever, at any moment, have to sexually please a man or a woman because you are afraid of what they will do if you don’t. You are allowed to be nice to a man in a bar or at a party and not be concerned that that equals a sexual act, or a touch, or an inappropriate sexual comment in return.
You are allowed to feel beautiful and sexy and to not have that be a slight against your character or to have it be held as a mark against you as a business woman, or a comedian, or a doctor, or an astronaut, or whatever it is you chose to do with your life.
DO please be highly selective with your partners. Seriously. I know it may seem as if there are so little love interests to choose from but there are BILLIONS of human beings in the world and there are more and more every day. The likelihood of finding “the one” in your small, rural town or community is comically absurd.
It is not “crazy” to require a condom or a blood test from a new partner. It’s your body. You have to live with the choices you make in relation to it. If those choices make others feel small and scared, then too bad. They’re not the ones who will have to manage your medical bills and the pain and suffering of whatever std you’ve picked up by trying “not to look crazy.” But you will have to live with it. So wake up to that. Take back your body. And, while I’m at it, don’t let some old fart doctor tell you your biological clock is ticking and that you should “get on with having children” if the thought hadn’t naturally occurred to you. It’s no one’s business if you decide to have children or not and it certainly doesn’t have any “bearing” on how much of a woman you are and how able you are to love and nurture.
You are allowed to be interested in science/sports/jewelry/makeup/politics/medicine/fashion/decorating/repairs/your bank account/your taxes/your health, WHATEVER.
You are allowed to grow and to change. You are also allowed to change your mind and your opinion in the light of new information. That one might be irritating to some, but that’s on them.
Work hard to find a way to love that thing you HATE about yourself. That thing is your greatest strength disguised as weakness. Love it. And you will be free.
You must take care of your heart (literal AND figurative), your brain, and your body. Take care of your skin. Wash your face 2x/day, moisturize, and use spf (even if it looks like the sun is hidden behind clouds) - not because beauty and youth are your only currency but because your body and your heart and mind are truly your temple and they must be cherished, cared for, and treated with respect.
You are allowed to have healthy, loving relationships with other women. Especially with your sisters. And be kind to your brother.
You must forgive.
You must be self-conscious enough to know when you are being an asshole but not too self-conscious that you loose yourself.
You must be care-free about what other people think of you but you must make sure to care deeply for the feelings and hearts of every single person you meet.
Be very wary of burning bridges and holding grudges. Life is too short for that. Remember that everyone can have a shitty day and say something hurtful or stupid - especially if there are drugs or alcohol involved. But don’t let someone else’s addiction and abuse be your burden. Let people make their own mistakes and be OK with letting them go if that is what is necessary. But leave an opening in your heart for them because we all deserve the opportunity to grow and change. And even more, be brave enough to apologize first, to be wrong. Surrender. It probably wasn’t that important anyway.
Please be hard-working.
Wash your dishes.
Clean your bed sheets and your underwear frequently.
Become well acquainted with your gynecologist and doctor.
Give to charity.
Don’t wait until the last minute to confront a fear or anxiety.
Don’t lie and don’t gossip.
Don’t buy into advertising and labels. A good t-shirt is a good t-shirt regardless of how much you paid for it and whose name is on it.
At the end of every day think of three things you are grateful/happy for. It’ll make you feel better, I promise.
Put a friend-in-need ahead of yourself - even if it means your life is briefly interrupted or uncomfortable.
Love your mother but don’t let her unconscious fears suffocate you. Love your father, but don’t let his fear of powerful women interfere with your strength. Forgive your parents - even if they won’t let you.
When you are sad or in need of help, reach out. I know it’s hard. But you have to do it.
And be helpful. Be on the lookout for those too scared to ask for help - frequently the ones most in need are the most unable to ask for it. Hold their hands and ask nothing in return.
Love. Be loved. Be vulnerable. Open yourself up to failure and success equally.
Please hold the future in your mind’s eye and consider it before making any big decisions. Make sure you are not living only for present, self-indulgent gratifications, but allow yourself to be occasionally uncomfortable in the short term if it means long term well-being for you, your loved ones, and your fellow human.
Give up the need to be and feel special. The fact that you exist is so remarkable that it should be enough. Trying to be special puts others below you and they are just as deserving of attention and adoration as you. Why segregate yourself like that?
Remember that we’re all in this together. We’re all struggling. None of us (no matter what we may say) have any real answers. We’re all just hanging in there, one day at a time, hoping that people love us and want us to be a part of their lives. But we’re such a bunch of neurotic maniacs that we spend most of our time sabotaging those basic desires without even realising it. Remember this the next time you feel like the whole world is against you. Rest in the humility that comes with knowing that most people are wrapped up in their own lives - just like you.
Above all, have the courage to be yourself in the face of all this bigotry, misogyny, fear, and abuse.
Be the woman you want to be. Not what some man tells you to be. Not what some ad seduces you into thinking you should be.
Know that I love you. You will always have that. Nothing will ever be able to change that. You’re in my DNA and I in yours - as is every single living thing in the universe. You and I are just mere grains of dust on a slightly bigger grain of dust flying around at colossal speeds through a universe that is more than likely another small grain of dust in a much bigger story.