My “Not So” Little Sister,
Slowly, then seemingly all at once, I have had the pleasure of watching you blossom into a young woman before my eyes. As you continue to flourish, thrive and prosper, I want you to know that I once walked in your footsteps. I know the pressures of trying to “fit in.” I know what it is like to fall madly in love. I know what it is like to sleep in a dorm room for the first night without Mom and Dad right downstairs. Your high school and college years will challenge you. You will make mistakes. You will get frustrated. It’s not going to be easy, but these will be the greatest years of your life. Know that if you find yourself needing guidance along the way, I want to be the first phone call you make. Despite our petty arguments over borrowing clothes without asking, I still kinda like you, kiddo. Here are some words of wisdom to bear in mind as you approach your teenage years:
You will get your heart broken. It will be unbearable. I want you to know that when you are laying on the bathroom floor in pure anguish, devastated that he left you, I will be there to wipe away your tears. I hope that you remember to always love yourself more than any boy. You will fall, hard, but you must not lose sight of yourself. Don’t ever let a boy tell you that you are worthless. You must know and fully believe that you are worthy of so much more than that. Don’t ever change yourself for a boy. Respect yourself. Respect your body. When your stomach is in knots and you feel heavy-hearted, know that this feeling is only temporary. Only time can mend a broken heart.
Remember that your mental health is always a priority. Exams, papers and SAT scores are not as important as your sanity. Pulling all-nighters won’t help you retain any information, so give yourself a rest. Try your hardest to excel in what you do, but do not become suffocated by the pressure to achieve perfection. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Some subjects may never “click” for you, and that’s okay. One day, the D that you got in Calculus will be irrelevant when you’re successful and work for a fashion magazine. Don’t torment yourself over your weaknesses; we all have them.
Find your passion and chase your desires. Take risks. Be inspired. Nothing in life will be handed to you. Fight intensely for what it is that you want. Opportunities are endless; take advantage of them. Every choice you make impacts the rest of your life. No dream is ever too big. Whatever it is you want to do, go out there and do it. Find a way. There is always a way.
Surround yourself with positive people. Be a good judge of character. Look for loyal, down-to-earth, kindhearted people that bring out the best in you. Don’t be blinded by superficiality. A strong group of girl friends is the greatest support system you will ever have. You want friends that you can call in the middle of the night to come pick you up when you are stranded. Friends that will bring you ice cream and tissues when you’re an emotional wreck. Friends that you can pick up right where you left off with, despite being apart for an extended period of time. Friends that make your presence sparkle. Friends that will remain by your side for years, not just for the time being.
Live life to the fullest, but know when to pump the breaks. Go out instead of staying in. Eat pizza at 3 a.m. Take that last shot that you probably shouldn’t have. Laugh about it in the morning. Drive around aimlessly all night. Hop fences. Hop all of the fences.
Don’t let your grades slip. Don’t succumb to the pressure of hard drugs; don’t even think about it. Don’t let yourself spiral out of control. Don’t be the girl who gets too drunk every time you go out. Mom and Dad should never have to get a phone call saying they’re not sure if you’re going to make it. Ever.
This too shall pass. Our life experiences shape us into the people we are. Our struggles, both external and internal, do not define us. Rather, they offer us our own, unique perspectives about life. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Years from now, when you are the happiest you’ve ever been, you will look back on dark times in your life and be able to reflect on how far you’ve come. Hang on by your fingernails. Muster up the courage to keep pushing onward. You are strong and able. There are happier days to come. No fights with friends, bad grades, embarrassing moments, or breakups are ever worth ending your life over. Remember that I love you and I am always here to listen, no matter what.
If I’m here to tell the tale, you can do it, too. And hey, enjoy it while it lasts. I believe in you, sis. You got this.
The Coolest Sister Ever