A message to my daughters about loving who they are.

 I wish I had a cloak to protect you from the cruelty of today’s world. I wish that stereotypes didn’t dominate our perceptions. I know that these wishes can never come true so I want to leave you with words of love and advice of wisdom.

Mom knows how hard it is to grow up as a girl. It feels as though the whole world judges the way you dress, the way you act, and your physical appearance and to an extent this is true. I also know that if you constantly seek out ways to please the critics, you will never find inner peace and without inner peace, you can never find true happiness. I put a few guidelines to help you along the way.

1. Every girl in your class feels just as confused as you, even if they don’t express it. You are not alone in how you feel and every single girl  your age feels that they are judged. Talk to your closest friends, do not travel this road alone.

2. Be yourself: No one is remembered for conformity. It is ok to want to fit in, as adult we still have to live by the rules of society but this doesn’t mean letting others think for us. Dress how you are comfortable, even if it isn’t trendy you may be surprised that your style might be accepted, unless it is a clown suit (Clown suits never go ever well).

 Audra’s beloved polka dot pants.

3. Follow your heart not your peers. You don’t have to eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos just because everyone at lunch eats them, honestly no one will notice. I know you know how to say no because I hear it several times a day. So when you are with your friends, put down your foot when you feel something might be harmful to you or an unacceptable behavior. A true friend will never put you in danger or purposely hurt you feelings.

4. You may fight but your sister CAN be your best friend. She may drive you crazy and be the first to fight with you but no one will love you like a sister does. It may not be easy but a sister will keep your secrets and be the first to protect you. I wish I would have known growing up how great my sister is. Now go hug your sister.

5. Your body and face are perfect, stop comparing yourself to celebrities.  You may wish to as skinny as another girl in your class, the secret, she probably wishes that she was as tall as you are. The truth: God created us in the image that he thought was perfect for you so respect your body and take good care of it. That does mean exercising and eating right, it also means stop worrying about the scale and your friend’s weight and let puberty do its job.

The last thing I can offer you is my unconditional love and support, sometimes I may have to be firm and ‘mean” but never does my love for you falter. You are my daughters; strong willed and independent, creative and funny, intelligent and one-of-a-kind. No matter how large the crisis, my arms, my ears, and my heart are always available for you. Together we will take it one day at a time.

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