I realized when I was writing Throw off the Covers that I also had another writing assignment ahead of me~ a personal letter to my oldest, who at thirteen is making an important rite of passage. I wanted to have what I wrote be about the blind leap marching towards adulthood. I then realized that the letter, which called me to start from the bones of Throw off the covers, was a letter not just for those who are making the bridge between girlhood to womanhood; but to all girls. I found it amusing that some of the things I wrote applied equally to both women and girls, that is why some key points remain unaltered. It was a surprisingly daunting task. Would I be able to adequately express the good/bad/ugly/hold onto the railing/ stuff of life? Present an open road?
And finally; why did I feel it necessary to cross myself before typing the first word?
Here is what inched forward:
Throw off the covers: An emerging woman's guide to life:
Banish the tip toeing, the diplomacy, the hierarchy of how things should be.
Lets have them how they can be.
Here is my how to guide for being a woman of substance. Pay attention, it gets tricky as you go.
1) No matter what you are wearing, be it sweatpants or taffeta take time to put on intention and dignity.
And when you do, don't be dainty about it. Put it on like a girl who knows what's ahead of her.
Even when you don't.
2) Do not apologize for who you are. Contrary to what the magazines and some time friends may say, you are enough. No need to be more of anything. Be you.
3) Get some sun. Be bold, go outside, soak it all in. Bring nature to you like family. Expand your sights to things bigger than yourself. Feel humble by the mountains, small by the sea.
4) Drink water, unplug and breathe. There is nothing that is so important that cannot wait until you do those things. Believe me, life will be waiting for you once you return.
5) Make good friends. Have them be the people you can call on when that boy breaks your heart and who will cheer for you when you cross the finish line. There will be moments in your life when they will be the ones keeping your head above water. Cherish them. Be a good friend back.
So hard and so loud it makes people uncomfortable. Makes you feel full.
7) You don't have to answer anybody's questions. Especially when they are rude and asked with a smile. It's not your business what others think of you, be mysterious; give them something to talk about at the grocery store.
8) Make it personal. Forget what you have been told.
If you don't like /it/him/her/ scrap em' in the bin.
9) Listen. To everything. Every motion and twinge, every single pull of your heart. It's a road map.
10) Give till you break. But only for the things/people that are worth it. Let me repeat. Only the ones that are worth it.
11) Be in the world but not of it. This world places great importance on things that are frivolous. Do not get wrapped up in it. Repeat # 3 and # 4.
12) Be of service. There is no greater thing you can do in this world. It can be within your family or for an entire Country. What direction that takes is up to you.
13) Be honest. Nothing in this world is more precious than being able to put your head on your pillow at night knowing you have done your best and right action has flowed through you.
14) Remember love does not hurt. It does not make you scared, confused or trapped. It does not require you to mend damage; broken wings or cups with breaks. Love will lift you up, enabling you to settle in your bones. It compliments, connects and makes our lives rich and pure, trusting and joyful.
Do not settle for anything less. Ever.
15) Piggybacking on # 14. Make sure you know who you are before you become part of an us.
Choose wisely. Choose wisely. Choose wisely.
And finally; know that we are forever in your corner, forever by your side.
Love to you~ Mom