Dear Thirteen-Year-Old Me,

You’ve got a long path ahead of you, Baby Girl. It’s not going to be easy and no one’s going to “get” you and that’s going to suck a lot of the time. You’re going to be brought up in a society that thinks you’re not good enough and you’re going to buy into it. You’re going to take a lot of crap people shovel at you and think you have to. You’re never going to believe you’re as good, as strong, as smart, or as pretty as you really are. You’re going to be anxious and depressed and confused for the next twenty years, and because of it, you’re going to make some really shitty decisions.

So, here’s my time vacuum post. Here’s what you should have read and bought into. Maybe you won’t have the wisdom to heed any of this, but at least I get the satisfaction of getting it out there.

Mattel didn’t get it right. You are more than pink packages and Barbie dolls. You are more than a plastic mansion, a plastic corvette, and a closet full of dresses. Not all your shoes have to be stiletto heels, and your tits aren’t actually supposed to point in that direction because that defies gravity. Plus, bonus, in the real world you get nipples and a vagina. Those will be important one day.  You don’t have to be a hairdresser or a fashion designer or a stay-at-home mom unless you want to.  And if you want to, all the power to you – those are awesome things.  Just don’t forget that you can be an architect or repair cars or fly planes, too.  The toy industry didn’t market to those possibilities, though, because it”s easier to give you a baby doll that cries and wets its pants.  But you’re not just a baby factory.  You can be — and do — anything you want.

Fiction doesn’t get it right. Being in a love triangle isn’t as much fun as the books make it sound. Being wanted is not the same as being loved, and in the long run, is far less important. Boys who pursue you relentlessly aren’t always romantic. A lot of the time, they’re creeps, and if they tell you watching you sleep makes them happy, get a taser or a Doberman. Now. It’s not a man’s job to ride in on a white steed and save you. Expecting that of him isn’t fair. Thinking you NEED a man to do that is even less fair because you’re short-changing yourself. Contrary to popular belief, a boyfriend or a girlfriend won’t make you complete. They’re nice to have around, sure, but you have all the tools to function on your own right inside your noggin. Wanting someone to tell you how to live and what to think sucks. So stop misinterpreting that as love. Because one day you’re going to want to spread your wings and make your own decisions, but you won’t know how if you’ve allowed people to do it for you all of your young adult life.

Maybelline can’t get it right. Lipstick is nice, I like it, but you’re not an ugly hag without it. You don’t need plump eyelashes to be beautiful. It’s okay to enjoy your Revlon battle paints, but you shouldn’t feel incomplete without them. They accentuate you, not make you. Your skin won’t always be flawless, but it’s not the disaster the commercials will have you believe. Zits happen, like shit happens, and if you listened to my bit from above, you got this, face crater and all. The real you is gorgeous just as she is.

Victoria’s Secret refuses to get it right. No, we’re not all shaped like that. We aren’t all size zeroes with micro-boobs and an ass like a twelve year old boy. Some of us are, and all the power to those folks, but you aren’t a loathsome swine if that’s not what you see when you look in the mirror. Our bodies are all different. Curves are acceptable, even around your midsection. Not having curves is just as acceptable. Don’t starve yourself to fit in with what a magazine told you was how you were supposed to look. Don’t hate yourself if you’re over or under weight. The number on the scale doesn’t define you. If you have real concerns about it, talk to a doctor. They can help you reach goals that are healthy and right for your body type.

**

There’s more, of course, about all of this. This barely touches on the challenges ahead, but I think these are a good place to start. Digest this, thirteen-year-old me. And when you talk to other chicks your age, make sure you share your time warp wisdom, cause the thirty-something-year-old you thinks it’s important to hear this stuff.

Kay?

Kay.

– Me

5 thoughts on “Dear Thirteen-Year-Old Me,

  1. When she’s old enough to read and understand this, I’m going to print this post out and give it to my niece. As a society, we really need to take a hard look at how we’re raising girls. There’s far too much emphasis on tying a woman’s self-worth to looks. There’s also far too much emphasis on raising girls to think that they have to be nice, accepting, and accomodating to everyone else. It’s not lady-like to stand up for yourself or to tell someone off if they overstep their boundaries. Which is total BS, of course, but look at what most girls are raised to do if there’s a disagreement or she’s not being treated with respect.

    Thanks for this post. It’s a good one.

    -Kyr

  2. Thanks Hillary. I have printed this off to share with my niece who has two beautiful young daughters. Your words just may trickle out to empower them as they mature. Wonderful.

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