10 Things I Hope To Teach My Daughter

10 Things I Hope To Teach My Daughter

Subsets of a much larger list.

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If I could take the sum of knowledge from my many mistakes and just hand it to you, I would but this is a good start.

My sweet girl,

If I could wrap the hundreds of life lessons learned through my own mistakes in a tiny little package and hand them to you I would do it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, in life, there are many things we just have to learn for ourselves, even when our mothers do warn us. Here is a small part of the tons of things I hope you learn from me and carry on through life.

1.

Someday some of the people that have laid the foundation for who you are won't be here anymore. Many of the memories that shaped your thinking, molded your personality and made you smile for decades to come are only memories in your own head. Remember that those people built you, they laid each brick, spread the mortar and continued until you became the beautiful human that you are, you have every piece of them that they so kindly gave you with you always, revel in that.

2.

Read. Everything. As much and as often as you can. Read beautiful stories that make you long for a fantastical world that exists beyond reach. Read stories that make you cry until your belly hurts either because they are sad themselves or because they are over and you just loved those characters so much. Read stories about history and have a firm basis of the struggle so many people made to give you the rights, freedoms, luxuries and education you have now. Read things that you disagree with so fervently it hurts inside your bones to even read it. Knowledge is power baby, at the end of the day with this crazy thing we call life the only thing that you have no matter what is yourself and your mind, feed it.

3.

Friends will come and go, some will stay but often the ones you think will, don't. Keep this in mind and keep your guard up to not get hurt but still, cherish your friends. Laugh with them, make memories with them. Do silly things with them that you can laugh and tell your own kids about someday. Make six boxes of macaroni at once when you learn to cook with your best friend and mom is asleep. Throw that water balloon in the house. If your friends need help, help them. If your friends need love, love them. When you grow a garden you don't know which plants will take off and grow but you water them all anyway, water your friendships the same way. You will have friends that break your heart but you will never regret the beautiful memories friendship can bring.

4.

Never let someone silence you if you have something important to say. Never be afraid to say what you think you have to. People will disagree; sometimes they will bring up things and inform you and you may shift your opinion — always carry an open mind and a willingness to see something from someone else's view, sometimes they will just be dead wrong and have no care that that's the case. Speak it anyway. Words are one of a few things in this world that are permanent, once they are spoken you cannot take them back. Use your heart and your mind before you talk, if you are speaking from a place of educated kindness; speak it loud and proud baby.

5.

Protect yourself, always and in every way. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of the people you surround yourself with, be aware of the situations you put yourself into, with that being said, live. Don't let the harsh uncertainties of this world keep you from making beautiful memories in it. Those that seek to fill you with fear have won if you live your life in it. Trust your gut, use your brain and live life to the fullest.

6.

There will be days where you are not okay, days where you are okay with letting the world win because you just don't have the energy to compete. Days like my mom said where you are the fly and life is the windshield. That's okay. Take a day, breathe, relax, sleep, sing, paint do whatever it is you need to do to feel like your world butt-kickin' self again. If you need help, ask for it. It is okay not to be okay, let yourself not be okay, find the tools you need to feel okay then get up and get back on the horse.

7.

Dream so big that when you tell people your dreams they laugh in your face. I did, and people laughed and their laughter became the soundtrack of my path to success. No one can put limitations on you but yourself, refuse to let that happen. You are capable of anything you put your mind to. Big dreams take hard work, they take dedication and a fiery desire to reach them; don't ever think it will be easy but know without a doubt it will be worth it.

8.

Eat the dang pizza. Yes, health is important and you want to treat your body well but eat the pizza. I don't care whose watching, I don't care if it's your first date with a cute boy and you feel obligated to order the salad, eat the pizza and eat as much of it as you want. At the end of the day, we all end up in the same shaped hole in the ground or dust in a jar anyway, eat all that damn pizza.

9.

Never feel obligated to smile because someone tells you to. You are entitled to your own feelings and emotions and no one can tell you how you feel. Don't ever hide your true feelings to meet societal standards or for the sake of someone else. So long as you are a respectable and kind human in those feelings, share them.

10.

Remember that no matter how many years pass, how old you may become, how many miles may eventually come between us, how many arguments we hopefully don't have in your teens; so long as we are on this Earth your dad and I will always be there for you no matter what. You always have two people in your corner who will love you despite your mistakes, fight alongside you in your battles, hold you while you cry if you lose and cheer the loudest when you win. This world can be a big scary place and a playground of opportunity all at once remember no matter what you always have your momma to run to and never ever forget how much I love you

Cover Image Credit:

Chyanna Scherer

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I Didn't Choose To Be A Dance Major, It Chose Me

How my passion became my purpose

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I don't remember the exact moment, but I do remember the process. I remember moments in time and the way joy has manifested itself into my life. Perhaps this is the meaning of life—a slow growing journey of finding yourself through experiences and delightfully long conversations with people we care about, long nights filled with laughter, early mornings with dew beneath our toes, waves of utter joy, followed by waves of somber; it's all just part of it. And within these waves and moments of our lives, we begin to see with clarity—a slow but steady process. Clarity occurs when the fog is lifted. It's when you find that thing you're passionate about, and you do it relentlessly. This is the art of becoming.

So, I don't really remember when I became a dancer. I suppose it's been a lifetime of becoming. I can't even really say that it's a choice. I don't think it is. I know that I was born to dance. And this has nothing to do with how I look or anything like that. But it has everything to do with how I feel when I dance. It's this sense of sheer release, and to be able to get to that point of really, truly not having a care in world; this is how you know you're in the process of becoming. It's in the moments where I'm the most lost—the moments where I've really given myself over completely that result in the greatest rewards, usually in the form of self-knowledge. This is clarity.

I have not chosen to become a dancer, but inevitably dance has so gracefully chosen me. And with great appreciation, I've accepted the invitation. I've since made the mindful choice to immerse myself in this art form, because to me this is how joy has chosen to manifest itself in my life. Through movement, and love of music, and love of creating, this is how I've chosen joy.

It recently dawned on me that dance is what we as humans use to declare our vitality. It's an appreciation of being alive. And more so, it's a celebration: of being alive, of our bodies, of human contact, but mostly just of life. We as humans dance to celebrate life.

So with this joy that I've been so lucky to find, I am compelled to study dance. And not just take classes, and not just take notes, but to really study—to really understand what it means to be alive, and to feel gratitude for every ounce of my life.

This is why I'm a dance major.

So before you question me, and perhaps tell me that my major is useless or is not setting me up for a successful life, maybe consider that I've chosen a life of joy. I've chosen to be passionate and throw myself into gaining a greater kinesthetic awareness, a more profound appreciation for music, and for art, and for culture, and just life in general.

I have chosen to celebrate my life, and celebrate what my body allows me to do every day. And through my choices, I've begun to master the art of becoming.

Author's note: The theme of "becoming" was subconsciously inspired by Michelle Obama.

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