A candid tale of 20-something humanness and extended note to self.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Things I'll teach my daughter

Things I'll teach my daughter

You are you, and you are the only you that the world will ever see, and that's spectacular, really, isn't it? Society will try to convince you otherwise, but you are beautiful, always, regardless. Your body is home. Look after it.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Exercise regularly, moreso for your mind than anything else. It's amazing how the weight of the entire world can lift after shaking your limbs for twenty minutes. Equally, if you need to take a rain check, take a rain check. Being human is not a linear experience: it is messy and imperfect and made of good days and mediocre days and bad days and days when you're just wading through the shit and days that feel like the whole world might have ended. (Side note: it hasn't.) Not every day has to be full or productive. Sometimes, it's just about putting one foot in front of the other, or indeed, laying horizontal with the biggest tub of mint-choc chip ice cream and a good book. All of these days are necessary, and all of these days matter. You just do you.

Catch a sunset whenever you can: there are few things more calming or spectacular than watching the last light of the day bleed across the horizon. Find a perfume, a scent, that you adore. Listen to your favourite song 24 times on repeat, if you want to. Light candles in your room, just because you like the smell of them when you blow them out.

Find joy in the little things: these are the moments that will carry you.


You do not need to become a doctor, or a teacher, or a best-selling author to make me proud. Of course, go forth and follow your dreams and watch me cry at how frickin' incredible you are, but if you want a measure of success, let it be how you have touched those around you. Kindness should be at the forefront of your values: the very core of your life's work. It is, I have found, everything. Say the nice thing. Always say the nice thing.

Know that the success of others does not invalidate your own. Remember that self-acceptance, self-compassion, does not invalidate self-growth, and that tomorrow or the next day, or the next year, you might be better: more accomplished, more confident, but that right now you are all that you are. And that's okay. Rome wasn't built in a day, sweet girl.

Be passionate. Be so passionate that people think you're insane! It is the most wonderful trait. I will never get bored of seeing your eyes light up, or of the hundreds of hurried words that spill out of your mouth when you're excited about something. Tell me all of your ideas: what makes you tick; what stirs that special soul of yours, all of the things you simply CANNOT WAIT to see or do or experience. I will listen and I will listen and I will listen. And then I might jump up and down a bit too.

The relationship you have to keep a secret is not the relationship to be in. Date the man, or the woman, you'd want to raise your son or daughter to be like. The good ones will buy you flowers, just because, and make you laugh until the salt of your eyes is on your cheeks, and bring out the very best in you. You'll feel safe, all tangled up with them in the darkness. There'll be no sound sweeter than that of their keys in the lock.

As a rule, surround yourself with those who either get you, love you, inspire you, encourage your crazy, or even better: all of the latter. Your tribe are an important bunch.

The thing that scares the shit out of you is usually the thing worth doing, though I probably won't say that aloud too often. And life is painfully short. Book the flight. Say yes. Buy the damn dress. Open up about how you feel.

Forgive, forgive forgive. Get your friends dinner. Learn as much as possible about everything you can. Apologise when you fuck up. Don't apologise for being honest, or anxious, or for saying no to people or situations that aren't good for you. Always say 'I love you' before you leave. Watch 'Matilda' with me every Christmas. Smile at strangers. And at cute dogs. And at how stunning the sky is today. And at what a privilege it is to be able to do so.

And at how, once upon a time, you came crying and flailing into my little world and changed everything in it.
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