I must admit that I felt a huge sense of disappointment when I got a text from Bryan about fifteen minutes ago. All it said was "It's a boy", but I knew what he meant. HRH Prince of Cambridge had made his entry into the world. I was fervently hoping for a little princess, but I'm happy for Kate and William anyway.
Of course, this got me thinking about the baby soon to be entering my life...Trisha's daughter, Evelyn. I love her so much already, and Trisha refers to me as her aunt. I refer to Evelyn as "my sweet love Evelyn", which is a reference to a metal song from my favorite band. (Trisha loves that, by the way...it makes her smile every time I say it.)
Anyway, I had a very rough childhood, and suffered with a lot of self-esteem issues. I've gotten them mostly under control, though sometimes I have some really, really bad days and struggle to even look at myself in the mirror. I suffered bullying and torment just because I had the nerve to be different and I still wear those emotional scars as a badge of honor, proving my strength and resilience in the face of adversity. Of course, it doesn't hurt that most of my tormentors went on to make absolutely nothing of themselves, but I try my hardest not to take pleasure in that. I ignore their Facebook friend requests and go on with my life.
I don't want my sweet love Evelyn to suffer the way I did (and occasionally still do), so I've decided I'm going to put a book together for her to read when she gets to that rough age where the opinions of her classmates start to weigh heavily on her psyche. I sincerely hope it will help her get through her pre-teen/teenage years with fewer emotional scars than I bear. It's not logical to assume she can make it through high school unscathed...no one does. But maybe...just maybe...I can help her feel a little better about the girl looking back at her from the mirror every day.
Here's the kind of stuff I plan to put in the book...please weigh in with your opinions and any additional words of wisdom I should add. Some things may sound rather cynical, but they're lessons I learned the hard way. (Before someone points it out, I know I don't always follow my own advice...I'm doing this in the hopes that she grow up more well-adjusted than I did.)
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To my sweet love Evelyn:
1. You're beautiful. Absolutely, positively, irrefutably stunning. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
2. Bullies are cowards. They do what they do out of jealousy and irrational hate. As hard as it is to turn the other cheek, please do not let their negativity stain your spirit.
3. Always try to be the bigger person, even when it's the hardest thing you've ever done.
4. Words are your biggest weapon. With them, you can do anything. Keep that in mind when you're speaking...breaking someone's heart with a misplaced word is easy to do and something you're likely to regret for the rest of your life.
5. Place your trust sparingly. There are so few who truly deserve it.
6. Respect your parents. They might not be perfect and you might not always see eye-to-eye (especially when you're a teenager), but they love you more than anything else in this world and they're doing the best they can.
7. Do not be reckless when it comes to sexual behavior. Giving your virginity away is something you can only do once, and you don't want it to be like mine. (I'll tell you that story when you're old enough to hear it, and we can laugh together.) If a boy will only like you because you are willing to sleep with him, he doesn't really like you at all.
8. Talk out your problems. Keeping them bottled up inside will never do you any good. If you don't want to talk to your mom, call me. No matter what the time, I will be available to you.
9. Focus on grades and extracurricular activities. Find out what you like to do and do it. If you're a scientist, don't try to be anything else. Same goes for an artist, or a historian, or a writer, or a mathematician. In this same vein, college is the most important thing you'll ever accomplish. Work toward that end.
10. Music can fix everything. Whether you're playing an instrument, singing, humming, or just simply listening, it is the sound of your soul. It can bring peace, no matter what you're going through.