I know this world is a big scary place and as you get older, it will get bigger, and scarier. I'm not joking. You think Tacoma to Omak is a long drive? Try getting to Michigan. And while the world keeps on growing, and bad things keep on happening, you shouldn't worry about it, because you can't control that. What you can control is your life. And while I may only be 20, and have yet to experience much of life outside of Washington, there are some things that I want you to know and and always remember.
First - you are not a puppet for someone else to control. You are a little girl with a lot of sass and spirit and I hope that stays with you as you get older. You do not have to let anyone control you because you're afraid they won't love you if you don't listen. The people who really love you are the ones who let you do and be whatever you want.
And don't be afraid to be yourself. Because you are wonderful. There is no one like you on this entire planet and that is great! You don't have to be afraid that you won't make friends because you're in the fifth grade and still play with La La Loopsy dolls, or that no one will like you if wear a Monster High dress. The right friends are the ones who don't care whether or not you play with dolls and wear dresses with Monster High on them. The right friends will think that you're cool because you're not afraid to be yourself. And I know that it is going to be hard to remember sometimes, but take it from the girl who held her grandma's hand at the grocery store until she was 14, being different is not bad. It is what makes us who we are. Different is what makes this world beautiful, because a world full of the same kind of person would be crazy boring.
Second - Learn this phrase and repeat it often: "he's just a boy". Because chances are you're going to like a boy, and he is going to not like you back. And that is going to happen, a lot. Especially when you reach middle school. But you just have to move on. Because no matter what you think, you can live without him. And no matter what he says, he probably doesn't love you anyways. Changing your opinion of yourself and changing the way you act, look, or do things because it'll make some silly kid like you more is just dumb. Because if you have to change to be with someone, then you shouldn't be with them. Why date a person who doesn't even like you for who you really are?
And there is one thing you are not, and that is arm candy. You are gorgeous, and I am sorry for what you're father is going to have to deal with later in life when you get into high school and boys come around asking you on dates. But don't you ever let them treat you like you are just an object. You are not an object, you are the girl who makes coffee and oatmeal for herself in the morning before school and eats while watching the news with Grandma Wanda. You are the girl who wants to be a rock star, a model, a doctor, a photographer. You are a girl who is never afraid to say what she thinks, and who loves without reservation. You are one of the biggest hearted people I know, and you are only 11. Do not let anyone treat you like less than what you are. You are a princess, and you deserve a man who treats you like one. You deserve to be poetry to a man, not a slogan, and even though someday you're going to turn 20 and you're going to look around and see how all your friends are getting married, don't settle so you can catch up to them. Never, ever, ever settle. Reach for the stars, find someone who completes you and makes you feel happier than you have ever been. Find someone who loves you with all of their heart, and doesn't make you feel like you "owe" them for anything. And more than that, find someone who allows you to love yourself as well.
Third - Never back down from what you believe. I know this coming from me and I believe a whole lot of things and will fight to the death for them. But sometimes, that is what you have to do. And I never want you to be afraid to take a stand for what is right. But be careful that you don't become so ignorant or blinded to the other side that you forget that people have differences of opinions, and they are not bad to think differently. Remember that without the people who say you're on the wrong side, you would have nothing to stand up for. So even if you're just taking a stand against single ply toilet paper in public restrooms, don't dehumanize the people who disagree with you.
And when speaking, remember that words can hurt. Never set out to exact revenge with your words, because they can do a damage that may never be undone. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words cause emotional trauma that can last forever, and that's just the truth. Never make fun of someone because of the way they look or what they come from. It's not fair. A person's appearance and point of origin is not an accurate indicator of their character. To find out who a person REALLY is, become their friend. Never judge without knowing, and never speak before thinking about what you're going to say.
Fourth - And this part is for when you're way, way older, saying no to sex is okay, even if you have already said yes. Even if you are saying no to someone you have said yes to in the past. You are allowed to decide when and what you do with your sex life and if someone ever pressures you, you are allowed to stop talking to them altogether. You never owe anyone sex ever no matter what they say, especially if it is someone who deems themselves as having been friendzoned by you. Sex is serious and should be something that you do with someone who cares about you. Not someone who is looking for an easy lay.
Fifth - there is more than one route to your destination. If you make a plan for your life, naturally you're going to want to take the easy way. But life isn't going to let you do that. And when the original route to reaching your goal doesn't work, remember that that as long as you keep on trying, you'll get there someday. And yeah, the road less traveled may be filled with weeds and thorns waiting to trip you up, but there is a reason it is still a road.
Sixth - Admit you're wrong. Do it quick, and do it often. I pretend to know a lot, but sometimes I say something and it is just way off base. And in that event, I have to admit that I was wrong. And it sucks. I mean, really. But you know what? People respect me for having the ability to know that I was wrong, and to apologize for my mistakes. Being wrong doesn't make you stupid, or less of a person, it humanizes you. Being wrong lets people know you are not perfect, and apologizing for your mistakes in life allows people to recognize that you don't think you're better than them.
And last but not least, never forget where you come from. Never forget that you have a father who fought with everything he had to be able to take care of you, grandparents on both sides that will never stop loving you or caring for you, a brother and a sister who smile down on you from heaven, and me and Wanda, who are blessed to have you in our lives. Never forget your family. Family is forever, and when you mess up or need help getting back up after you're knocked down, or when you feel like everyone else has walked out on you, remember that we are here, and we are ready to do whatever it takes to get you on your feet again, because we love you.
The world is your oyster, baby cakes.