Monday, October 27, 2014

Keep Being You, Piper

When I think about my childhood, I tend to remember the good parts of being young. The music I liked, the things I did. The people I loved.

I focus on those things, because they make me happy. Who doesn't remember the fun of dancing to Thriller? Or being kind of freaked out by the video? Who doesn't happily remember the smell of the roller rink, or the sound of Madonna playing on the giant speakers?

Wow, I'm totally dating myself, aren't I?

In reality though, being a kid, at least for me...well, it kinda blew.

I really thought that if I was just nice, people would like me. Isn't that cute?

See, if you know kids, or were one yourself at some point, you know that's actually not at all how it works.

Popularity is this very nebulous thing. And I never really found any of it. I was...whatever the opposite of popular is.

I think the only thing worse than the daily pressure of living in that environment (kids can be seriously brutal in ways that scar you for a long time), is watching your child go through it, and being absolutely powerless to stop it.

Since slapping the sense into preteens is both against my personal morality, and the law (stupid laws and morality), I have to settle for trying to explain to my twelve year old daughter, things I didn't know until I was much older.

And then I have to hope that she really understands, and that it's enough to help her get through it.

Today I explained to her how different people try to hold on to their popularity in different ways. How some people try to be cool, and how other people try to make you look bad so that they'll look better by comparison.

Who came up with that system, anyway?

I told her that the truth is that mostly everyone is actually kind of scared. Everyone wants to fit in and be accepted for being who they are. And everyone is afraid that they won't be.

I warned her to be careful, and not let them change how she relates to the world. I told her to keep being a nice person, and people will come around. Even if it takes years. You don't have to be like everyone else, but you do have to be honest about who you are, and what you want to be in the world. You have to keep treating other people with dignity and respect, and know that you deserve the same.

And it does end. People grow up, they learn, and the things that matter so much when you're twelve, don't matter as much when you're 30.

Seriously, when I was 12, Milli Vanilli was still relevant and the shoulder pads. Oh my GOD, the shoulder pads. Women all looked like linebackers.

That said, Debby Gibson forever, and don't touch my Electric Youth perfume. (I'm not even kidding, I actually own a bottle of that. It smells godawful, just like my adolescence.)

Seriously though, I wish I could cover her in bubble wrap until 12th grade graduation, but since I can't, my biggest hope is just that she keeps being herself. Because, and I may be biased here, but I think she's kind of wonderful.

And if you read this, then you're probably wonderful too. If you liked it, click the link below which registers a vote for me, would you? Thanks. You're the best!
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