12 life lessons to share with my future daughter
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my imaginary daughter, the one I hope to have someday. It’s not that I am desperate to become pregnant tomorrow, it’s just that for the first time I have an increasingly good life where having a kid would be great (and complicated and messy and scary.) The chaotic moments where the desire to bring a little person into the world more as a primary desire to have “a reason” to live are no more than frightening memories now. All of those experiences, however, have greatly contributed to the person I am today. They are also greatly responsible for the life lessons I hope to share with my daughter one day (which I’m sure she’ll most likely just ignore, go live her own experiences and eventually realize I was right all along):
- Take out of your life anyone who does not make you feel good: we are all human beings and we screw up occasionally. That includes a comment too honest that hurts a dear friend, missing an important appointment with mom or disappearing from the life of your brother right when he needed you the most, and it’s fine, in moderation. We shouldn’t judge too fast nor too harsh. What makes no sense is to fill our lives with people who misuse our affection, time and energy. If your friend does nothing but criticize you for who you are, what you do or fail to do, then she isn’t much of a friend. Having a boyfriend, who will not value nor see how special you are, makes no sense. You’ll probably have mental excuses for the behavior of all these characters (boys and girls) that give you nothing good while you carry around with their negativity. Dear, just let go.
- Nobody dies from a broken heart: I would do almost anything to keep you from getting your heart broken. Maybe you will get a bit more of my intelligence and a little less of my emotional side and will avoid getting heart broken –but realistically being my daughter I highly doubt it-. What I can tell you is that you will not die without that dude. The first time you feel your heart crack (stomach, legs, head and even common sense) your body will scream there is no way you will survive. You will listen to sad songs and fail to eat, or will drink too much, or will look for replacement for the guy to not feel alone. Baby, nobody dies from a broken heart. You will not die from a broken heart. I can tell you that it will stop hurting and that it will heal with time. Unfortunately I can also tell you that the heart can be broke more than once. I hope you accumulate knowledge to handle each time better than the last. (This advice really applies to all the times when you feel that “the world is over.” No baby is not over. Everything passes).
- Delete the word diet from your vocabulary: Whether it is the lemonade diet (which was very fashionable at the beginning of this century), the Atkins diet or the _______ (insert here current trending diet’s name), None of them work, at all. Diets are temporary remedies to deeper issues. If you feel uncomfortable with who you are, you must strengthen your self-esteem and remind yourself of how wonderful you are (you’re wonderful and I’m not just saying it because I’m your mother). If what you want is to look like the pictures from the magazines, believe me when I tell you I have seen firsthand how much makeup, stylists, dietitians, personal trainers and Photoshop required to achieve an image like that. You are you and can have the luxury of loving each corner of your body (couple of stretch marks included). Now if you want to be healthier and eat better, go ahead! Educate yourself, learn about nutrients and calories than your body needs, but especially and above all enjoy yourself and food- your life is too to be suffering because you’re not a walking stick.
- Believe in yourself, above all: If when you were chiquita you wanted to be a dancer, a chemical engineering, or work for NASA, give all and trust that you can do it. Thousands of factors when we grow up (the greatest of them imaginary Mr. fear) make us give up on our passion. What do you think mass production factories are full with? They’re filled with people with much fear and little passion for life. Believe in yourself, define what makes you happy, what you want and go for it without listening to anyone (not even mami’s fears). Remember believing is not enough, so you better be prepared to work more steadily to reach your goals. Forget wishful thinking.
- Love but not above yourself: The fucking novelas (yes, I just said fuck) and the fucking romantic movies -but especially the novelas- have us convinced that “true love” sacrifices everything. Turns out the only ones that swallow that crap are women who continue letting go of work options, scholarships, travel opportunities, etc, etc … To accommodate our schedule to Mr.Love’s (aka, Mr. Right Now). Love is a balance, a space for communication and growth. If you love and are loved in return, there will be a way to set plans in which both parties can pursue their dreams and personal development. Throw our whole life overboard in the name of “true love” is stupid act mainly generated by the patriarchal society.
- See things for what they are, not what you would want them to be: If he doesn’t call when he says he will call, he doesn’t care as much about you as you’d want him to. If you’re waiting for him to graduate college so he can become the man of your dreams, you are living a fantasy. Things are what they are, not what we want them to be or what they claim they are.
- Create your own style: Perhaps you’ll be gothic for a while (thinking about it makes my ears bleed), hip hoper or punk. When you get tired of following everyone else’s lead, chose a style that speak of who you are. I am yet to know a person with memorable style who adjusts to the ever-changing and capricious fashion trends. The last thing you want is to fill your closet (and throw your money) in clothes that you can not wear a year from now because “it is not fashionable.” The wonderful Coco Chanel said it better than mommy “fashion fades, only style endures”.
- In matters of sex: mami writes about sex, so I hope we can talk about it openly without feeling (too) embarrassed (you can totally keep the juicy details to yourself). A couple of things that I find important to have in mind: do not have sex when you do not want to, under any circumstances, especially on an attempt of pleasing your partner. Expresses what you like and listen to your partner so you can both have a fulfilling sex life. Use condoms, always, always, always use a condom. If you guys don’t have a condom, cuddle. If you want to stop using condoms with the “man of your life”, make sure you both get tested and decide on a birth control method.
- There is nothing like family: You will be born into a very particular family, full of characters with skeletons, forget skeletons, monsters under their beds, in the closet and above all in their minds. We are not perfect but are wonderful each in our own way. What you can be certain of is that no one will have your back the way your family will. You will have friends, you will have loves, you will have peers and they will all be extremely valuable, but if one day you end up in a dumpster after drinking the last drop of alcohol at a weding, not really sure of who the guy sleeping next to you us and without any money to make it back to your place…You can always call mom, dad, the grandparents, and the uncles and aunts. No matter what, we will always have your back.
- Ask questions: If you don’t know ask. Avoid pretending you know everything but opens the option to learn everything. If no one has the answer look it up yourself. Today I live very grateful to the Google God.
- Do not take shit personal: Again, I hope that in matters of sensitivity you get something from your…uncle? Or at least like me but the past 30 version. Your boss will yell at you (and you will want to hang him), some of your friends will disappear from the map when they find the 100th love of their lives, your neighbor will make racist comments. Do not take it personal. Most insults and bad vibes people throw at you (you and me included) have everything to do with themselves and little or nothing to do with the recipient of the moment. Now if you screwed up, take it.
- Look at the glass half full: Life is fucking hard sometimes but it also has wonderful things and I’m a true believer (from my own personal experience) that happiness is a choice. Hopefully you’re not one of those annoying people who monitors her every thought because she wants to be a “positive being, filled with light”. Once in a while it’s ok to stay in bed and hate the world and bitch about our bad luck. Just try not to make it too long. Nor your screw up life, or the fucking human kind will change with your negativism.
If anything else fails think that there are women in the world who tattooed their exes’ names on their tits (when he was still Prince Charming.)