//To My Sisters
There are a lot of times I do things that I wish you didn’t see; because they’re not things you’re supposed to do.
So I’m going to lay it out for you as well as I can so when you’re older you’ll read this and say, “Huh. Guess she really did think of us all the time like she said she did.”
Yeah. I do think of you. All. The. Time.
Once you find your passions, stick to them. You’ll have more than one, usually, or you’ll have one thing that you’re absolutely obsessed with. Stick with it. Whether it’s you have a love for medicine, film, flying airplanes, science, caring for animals. Whether you’ll love archery or fencing. The world is your oyster, girls. We live in a magnificent time where “woman power” is a real thing. Take advantage of the opportunities that will be open to you that weren’t available to me at your age.
You can pursue one as a career and keep one as a hobby-but never leave your passions. Because passions are a little funny like that. They’re like muscles and fat. The more you use them, the more you succeed in them, the more “flow” you obtain, the happier you are. However, the moment you drop it, it’s very difficult to pick back up again; but you’ll always look at that passion and feel remorse in your heart.
Always pursue them.
It doesn’t matter if that ONE THING you’ve wanted to do your WHOLE LIFE doesn’t make any money. If it makes you HAPPY, then DO IT. Studies upon studies show that richer people aren’t happier. They’re actually more unhappy. You can be successful by doing the things you love, yes–but don’t EVER settle for second best. Do what you love, live what you love. Always.
Love is a very interesting thing. Love comes in many different forms. It comes in the form of tingles and butterflies. It comes in a longing to be by someone’s side. It comes in a caring for someone. It comes in thinking of said person all the time. Sometimes all of those things. Sometimes a few of those things. But it’s love nonetheless. Love is beautiful. Love is hard(*). It’s devotion for devotion’s sake. It’s kind. It’s gentle. It can be someone telling you all the things you WANT to hear, or it can be that person who tells you everything you NEED to hear. Love is consent. Love is asking permission. Love is open. Sometimes, love is even saying no, even when you want so very much to say yes.
What love isn’t: love isn’t coming home and crying. Love isn’t hiding from your family or friends. Love isn’t a broken feeling of shame that sits in your chest like a heavy stone. Love isn’t ugly. Love isn’t stupid. *Love isn’t easy, it consists of perseverance and sometimes really tough calls–but love is not something that is DIFFICULT to do. Never force yourself to love someone. Never tell yourself you need to love for this or that reason. Never tell yourself that you owe it to a person to love them. Love comes naturally.
This really ties into the first point, but I also feel like it falls to a different level completely.
Go. Do it. Do the thing. Do whatever the thing may be, but go. It’s hard, it’s stressful, it’s expensive, it’s time-consuming. Whether it’s a college or just secondary education classes. Whether it’s learning a trade or gaining a degree. Don’t settle for the knowledge you have. Never lose your hunger for knowledge, because knowledge gives you wings. It makes life worth living.
Never ditch if you can help it. This ties into perseverance. As you learn to stick it out, you will learn to stick out anything. It makes you a stronger person.
Learn now how to manage your stress-levels. Learn that reading and writing and laying in the grass outside is something you need to do. Learn how to put the time to go outside into your day. Whether it’s to maintain your exercise or just to breathe, make it routine. Do the thing that gives you “flow.”
Eat as many vegetables as you can. Eat fruit instead of dessert. They’ll make you feel more awake. Make your own food. Build a garden.
I know it’s hard now (and it honestly always will be), but surround yourself with people. Whether it be people that have the same classes, people that share the same interests, family, or friends. Surround yourself with these people. Dedicate time to them. Don’t skimp on going home for Christmas. One day you’ll need those people so much. Some day, they’ll need you just as well. Be there for them, and ask for help when you need to. Humans are social creatures: without each other, we would die.
Pass that love along, too. If you see someone by themselves, invite them in. They may be super weird, or say weird things, but they need you. And sometimes that’s a really great feeling to have. Just be patient.
Call Mom every week when you’re away from home. She’s pretty much nothing without us. 🙂 Your dad, too. At the very least, call your big sister. She loves you and she’s always excited to hear about your life. Sometimes she talks too much, but you’re always welcome to give her a friendly, “SHUT UP.” She won’t be offended. 😛
Bottom line, though: You’re NEVER alone. Never even entertain that thought. Even the things you think I’d be upset about–I’m here for you. I may scold you a little, may lecture a lot, but I love you, and I’m here to give you whatever advice you need. On anything. And I mean that explicitly.
Everyone needs religion of some sort. Whether it’s belief in the universe or belief in a structured religion; everyone needs it. So once you’ve found your belief system (it doesn’t have to be what you grew up with.), make sure it’s something you feel solidly firm with. However, that does not mean you can belittle another person’s religion. A lot of religions are filled with eons of history; and that’s no small feat. You may not agree with their religious beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot demonstrate Christ’s love by being kind and courteous. Don’t ever be afraid to say that you’re a Christian, if you are. If you’re a Jew, if you are. If you’re a Mormon, Muslim, Buddhist, of Wicca, etc. Never be afraid of being any of those things. People won’t agree with you. Some people might get angry. But demonstrate love. Always be loving.
The bottom line of almost every religion on the face of this sorrowfully destitute world is to be loving to one another. And as a Christian, I believe Jesus taught us to be loving even to our “enemies.” It’s through love that you can change peoples’ mindsets, and introduce a different kind of conversation between two people that don’t agree with one another. These conversations are IMPORTANT beyond belief. You may end the discussion feeling no different than you did, but you’ll have gained a treasure trove of knowledge that you wouldn’t have before the conversation.
Don’t shy away from those kinds of talks. In this, remember Granddad.
Bottom line: Be loving. Be faithful. Be true. Always seek knowledge. Seek truth. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations. Don’t ever be afraid or ashamed of who you are. Call your family from time to time. Pursue your passions. Love yourself before you enter a relationship and know what you want.
And above all else, don’t forget to eat your veggies.
Your big Sister