Dear li’l (now grown up) sis,
With you on the threshold of adulthood, I’m filled with a strange emotion. Anxiety? Protectiveness? I don’t know. But I do know that I feel the need to tell you a few things before you embark on this journey hereon and hence, the letter. I can sense the excitement within you about turning 18 – being an ‘adult’ – however overrated it is, I tell you. Since I crossed over to the other side a few years back already, there are a few tidbits that I want you to know, believe in and follow.
Grow old but never grow up. Henceforth, you will hear people telling you, “Grow up”, “You are an adult now; start behaving like one” and jazz like that. Do. Not. Listen. To. Them. Keep the child within you alive. Always. There are so many things that we can learn from children, especially since the grown ups are not really setting a great example for everyone.
Before you fall in love with someone, make sure that you love and respect yourself. By yourself, I mean everything – your body, your emotions, your outlook, your sexual orientation (yes, that too) and every goddamned thing about yourself. Be yourself, sport whatever hairstyle you want to, dress however you want to, get inked if you want to (from a reputed place, please!), eat whatever you want to, and date whoever you want to. If you – by that, I mean YOU and not a random guy or girl – think that you are overweight, then start working out. But if you starve yourself on the verge of anorexia, I’ll kill you! Girl, you are beautiful and anyone who tells you otherwise can sod off.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Be curious. There is so much to learn from others. Maintain that zeal to learn and grow as a person. Do not fret if someone calls you a Miss Know-it-all and mocks you; they are jealous. If you think that you know less than your peers, learn – it never goes out of fashion. Believe me when I say this, curiosity is not a bad thing (good thing that you’re not a cat) and neither is being intelligent. Get a hobby and more importantly, read – at least try to.
“A well-read woman is a dangerous creature.”
I know this sounds as a sermon. Always remember that from now onwards, act like a woman and not a teeny whiny girl. You might come across people who do not like you or pose as your competitors. Please do not belittle anyone who is beneath you; do not be a sycophant of anyone who is superior to you. Be kind. Be humble. There’s always gonna be someone better than you or worse than you. Never be foolish enough to let success bloat your ego and failure let you down. More importantly, stay loyal to your gender. Avoid judging and betraying (specially over a guy) them.
“Strong people don’t put others down. They lift others up.”
Choose your friends wisely. I learnt this lesson hard way. Everyone that flatters thee is no friend in misery. Do not let anyone use you or walk all over you. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you; negative people will only bring you down. Do not ignore your friends because of your partner as they are the ones you will turn to if your partner walks out on you.
Trust your instincts. This applies for every situation. Your gut feeling will never lie. And learn to defend yourself. Yes, you are a woman and however I hate to say this, in today’s time, you can trust no one but YOURSELF when it comes to your own safety.
“Know your rights but never abuse them.”
Laugh. However big a problem seems at the moment, you are going to laugh about it later. Laugh at yourself. It is all right and this way you do not give others the opportunity to do so. If it is too much too handle, I’ve got your back, silly!
Be INDEPENDENT as nothing is more fulfilling and exhilarating than that. Go out and make a career for a living but don’t forget to live in the process. What the rest of the world thinks of your career choice is not your concern.
Also, when you go on a date, pay for yourself. A man is not a financial plan and it is plain foolish to depend on one.
Lastly, a heads up: there are gonna be days when you will cry yourself to sleep, wonder about the purpose of life, feel that you’re all alone out in the world, and a bunch of other things. This is when, in Harvey Specter’s words, “Get your shit together” and chill. All said and done, life is a roller coaster ride – so scream and shout all you want; it is worth it.
I think I am done with my sentimental rambling for now. All I wish for you is, be happy in whatever you do and be the woman many look up to.
Your ‘already grown up’ sister
P.S.: Here’s the song from your favourite movie.