On the heels of my last post, I thought I would give similar credence to the young women of the world, caught between that stage of being an adult and, well, not. Much of this advice comes from life itself, but also from helping a couple of young women grow from children into that scary world of autonomous living. Those two girls taught me as much as I (hopefully) taught them. But out of that mutual appreciation society, I have a few words of wisdom to share. This is not wisdom brought to you by a teen magazine or a fellow woman who has been through the same meat grinder you’ll go through as you navigate through life. This is advice from the other side of the fence — something you won’t always get. So…young women, put the selfie-cam down and read on.
You are not defined by a relationship. All too often young women decide they are who they are with. You are not. Being in a relationship does not make you a better person; it does not make you more popular; it does, in and of itself, make you happier or healthier. If you learn one thing from me, please let it be that you define who you are. Not a boyfriend, a husband, a lover, a friend. You. Period. If you are not in a relationship, rejoice…that means you get to spend more time discovering who you are.
Teenage pregnancy is not wise. I don’t care how many girls are doing it. Getting pregnant as a teenager puts a halt on your life. You are heading into some of the most carefree and crucial years of your life. If you add a baby into the mix…give all of that up. You’ll no longer be going out with friends, going out on dates, or enjoying much freedom at all. Your life just became about being a mother. Period. Now, here’s the really bad news. If you think getting pregnant will keep that boy from walking out of your life…forget about it. That boy is even more likely to leave if he finds out you’re pregnant. Very few teen boys are ready for the responsibility of being a father.
Skinny does not equal beautiful. I’m going to lay something on your plate you might not want to hear. Most women want to be beautiful not to catch a man, but to impress other women. But even beyond that, those boys who want you to be water-diet, anorexic skinny? They aren’t worth your time. Any boy (or man) who places beauty first is very likely to eventually leave you. Why? Beauty fades. Eventually that thigh gap will fill in and your ribs will stop showing and your skin will start to show signs of age. Those boys you impressed with your celery-stalk arms and legs…they’ll leave you for a newer, skinnier model when that comes to pass. Be healthy. Be fit. Be happy. Do not obsess over looking like a photoshopped model — most often it’s a goal even Victorias Secret models struggle reaching without the help of trainers, drugs, and image manipulation software.
Use your brains. I don’t care what anyone tells you, men do not want to be with vapid women for long. Sure, they might be fun for the short term (for some), but in the end intelligence will be the thing that catches the heart and soul of the kind of men you want to be with. Intelligence will get you so far in today’s world. Sure, beautiful people have it easier…but when that beauty fades, they’ll wish they had your brains as much as you used to wish you had their hair or legs or abs.
Violence is not acceptable. There is no scenario in which it is acceptable to allow a boy to hit you. Period. If a boyfriend smacks you or punches you…LEAVE HIM IMMEDIATELY. If he threatens you further, go to an authority figure and report the idiot. And don’t, for a second, think you can change him. You can’t. Boys that beat girls grow into men that beat women. Most often this behavior is learned from their fathers and even jail time won’t change that behavior. You do not deserve this. Do not hesitate if this happens. Draw upon every ounce of self-respect you have and kick that sot to the curb and never look back.
Mean girls suck. You may think them cool and wish you could own that kind of power, but mean girls are called “mean” for a reason. It’s not pretty, it’s not flattering; it’s childish and hurtful. Most mean girls behave the way they do out of insecurity. Some think the best way to feel better about themselves is to push others down. The truth of the matter is, that is quite untrue. In fact, the opposite is the truth that should be brought to light. Being kind, being humane, and walking through life with grace will make you feel better about yourself and will gain the respect, trust, and love of others faster than anything.
Men are not your bank accounts. This is hard to say, because it sounds horrible to even say. There are a lot of women out there who want to hook up with men in the hopes of landing their personal 401K. We are not your ATMs and you should have more respect for yourself than to think you need a man in your life to be financially secure. Instead, work your way into a career and become the professional, independent woman you know you can be. That is not only a reward in and of itself, it’s also attractive and will lead you to more happiness than you’ll ever find in a sugar daddy.
Boys and men lie. At a certain age, boys want one thing — sex. They are driven by a very powerful force — hormones. During this time, you can bet boys will try to get the goods…anyway they can. Be on your guard and do not place too much stock on their promises of “taking it slow”. You are in charge of you — not them. You get to dictate the speed at which things move, not them. You see, boys don’t have something nearly as precious to give as you and they don’t see sex in the same way you do. To them, it’s a release. To you, it’s a connection. Does this mean that boys and men always lie? No. It does mean you should always remember the adage “If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”
The way you dress says more than you think. If you display the goods, people will look. If you display the goods in such a way that indicates you want to be noticed in such a way, you will be. Have more self-respect than to let it all hang out for everyone to see. Always dress in a way that will command the respect you deserve. You can attract any man with cleavage and leg. That doesn’t mean you’ll attract the right man. Let us know you respect yourself and our intelligence and you’ll go far. Does that mean you have to dress like an old school marm and ignore the trends? Not at all. But if those trends don’t suit your personality or taste, the good thing is…they’re just trends and will eventually be yesterday’s “brown”.
Choose your role models wisely. Let me make this as clear as possible. Miley Cirus is NOT a role model. Period. Haley Williams of Paramore? That’s more like it. When you’re searching for someone to emulate — make sure that choice is not based on a Google search. If you’re not careful, you’ll be emulating Cyrus, Lohan, or a Kardashian. There are so many women out there who are far better role models. Most are not singers or even celebrities. Look toward people like Ellen Degeneres, Emma Watson, Tina Fey, Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and Ada Yonath.
In the end, the single most important piece of advice I can give you is to discover who you are…through your eyes. Don’t be the you others want you to be. If you spend the time and energy in discovering who the real you is, that who will become an integral piece in your path to adulthood. Be genuine, be truthful to yourself, place importance on intelligence and honesty and you will be beautiful, loved, and wonderful.