We are complicated creatures. After spending the past 22 years of my life surrounded by aunts, sorority sisters, roommates and many cheerleading squads, I understand women. Plus, I’m a chick myself… so I have that going for me. What makes me tick is that so many of my female comrades are surrounded by insecurity, fear and self-doubt… all of which contribute to unhappiness. So here is my list. I’m putting down 15 things that I want every woman I love (or don’t know) to hear:
1. Learn to be alone
I can’t say this enough. So many of my friends tell me that their biggest fear is that they’ll end up alone. However, they define ‘alone’ as without a significant other. Wake up ladies! You’ll never truly be alone. I know many women who were never married but have so much love in their life through friends, family and coworkers. Sure… my ideal future is one where I’m married with kids – it’s how I always pictured my life. However, I am at the point where I’m happy enough with myself to be perfectly fine with never getting married. I think I’m a fun person who plans fun activities… a husband would be a plus, but it’s not a necessity for my happiness.
Here’s the danger in thinking that you’re worth nothing without a partner – you’re going to end up settling with anyone who will give you time. When you’re secure being alone… you’re willing to let the bad ones pass because you don’t feel the need to constantly be wanted by a man (or woman). Also, there’s no reason why you should still be talking to ‘that guy’ you don’t even like but keep around. You’re playing with his heart and it’s not fair.
In the end, you have to learn how to live without a significant other. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my life, it’s that you never know what tomorrow brings. Tragedies, divorce, adultery… it happens. Learn to be happy alone and you’ll be able to survive.
2. Stupidity isn’t cute
The Jessica Simpson days are long gone… stupid doesn’t look good on you. I don’t know a single guy who thinks it’s cute. Nothing is worse than sitting in a meeting and watching someone who is playing the ditzy girl. Really? Read a book – or two, or three. Personally, I find it hard to respect someone who takes pride in not knowing anything. I want people in my life who can hold intelligent conversations and know where Oregon is on a map. Brighten up, girl.
3. Your body is a wonderland
I had to throw in a John Mayer lyric somewhere within this post. Stop comparing yourself to other women. At this point, the body you were given is the one you have to live in. You’re going to gain and lose weight, age and start to sag. It happens. You really can’t change much in regards to the way you look so stop wishing you could. Look yourself in the mirror and find things that you like. Insecurity isn’t a good look. I’m sick of feeding compliments to my beautiful friends… you’re great, you’re beautiful now let’s move on.
4. Be healthy
Please stop the crash diets. I used to be very guilty of this… so I get it. You really want to look good for Halloween. Want to know what will happen after Halloween? You’ll start eating unhealthy again and gain all the weight you lost plus more. If you really want to make a change then join a gym and start eating better food. To lose weight, you need your metabolism to be kickin’ – that doesn’t happen if you’re starving yourself. In fact, you should actually be eating more… just in smaller portions and with better food. Lean proteins, organic veggies and fruit will do it. Join a gym that you actually like… it’s worth the expense. If you like the classes and facility, you’ll actually want to go. Change won’t happen overnight this way, but it’ll be sustainable.
5. Stop judging each other
It’s catty and it’s dumb. We’re grown women… I really couldn’t care less if someone decides to spend their weekends dressing up as anime characters… you do you. I hate to hear women call other women they don’t know ugly, crazy or strange. Who cares? I can’t be the only one who had a first impression of someone that was totally wrong. Don’t close yourself off to meeting a new friend because they’re different than you. No one thinks you’re cool when you make fun of the chick who likes to dance on the 9 bus. Hell, I wish I had her confidence and dance moves. You just look mean and immature.
6. Choose your words wisely
I’ll make this short and sweet. There’s no reason to use phrases like “That’s gay”, “You’re retarded” or “She’s a slut”. You’re hurting other people and being ignorant. Stop.
7. Detox your friendships
Get rid of the negative people in your life. You’re no longer forced to be friends with them because they’re on your dorm floor or in your sorority. The beautiful thing about getting older is that you have the ability to weed people out of your life. If anyone is causing you misery, get rid of them. There are so many good people in this world… there’s no reason to hang around the ones that bring you down. Concentrate your energy on maintaining your friendships with those who treat you with the kindness and respect you deserve.
8. Take your best friend on a date
Nothing is better than a girl’s night. One of my best friends and I have such conflicting schedules and aren’t able to see each other as much as we would like. To make up for lost time, we schedule dates. Like… real dates – going to the Signature Room, Hubbard Street Dance, restaurant week outings… something fancy and nice. It gives us a calm and fun atmosphere to relax and chat for hours. I would rather spend a lot of money on one nice meal than try to catch up over drinks at a bar in Wrigleyville.
9. Have the wardrobe essentials
Here are my must haves: nude pumps, colorful flats, tan wedges, black skinny jeans, high-quality camis, a good nude bra, a few little black dresses, an over sized cable knit sweater, a few semi-sheer shirts, headbands, and a pair of nice looking sneakers (like Pumas or Coach). Also dress yourself in Forever21 jewelry.
10. Start listening to P!nk
Aside from being a bad-ass motherfucker and a huge girl crush of mine, Ms. Alecia Beth Moore has some solid songs that ladies can relate to. Here are a few of my faves: “Crystal Ball”, “Glitter in the Air”, “Nobody Knows”, “Conversations With My 13-Year-Old Self”, “Try”, “The One That Got Away”, “Beam Me Up”, Walk of Shame”, “The Great Escape”… ok, you get it. I’ll stop. Wait, one more… Google her cover of “Me & Bobby McGee”. Ok. Done.
11. Be the role model you would’ve looked up to
If you’re like me, you had a 20-something role model growing up. Someone you thought was really cool. I wanted to be this person… right down to the profession I considered going into. Now, as a 20-something myself, I have a few cousins in their young teens and babysit for a 6th grader. Whenever I’m around them, I think about the influence I’m making on their life. I try my best to be comfortable in my skin, silly, intelligent and good clean fun.
Realize the younger people in your life and the impression you may be making on them. So many people look up to you without you even realizing it. How do they see you through their eyes? Are you cool because you’ll Snapchat silly pictures throughout the week? Or are you cool because you talk about all the crazy parties you were at this past weekend? Teach them how to be secure in their body by stopping the diet talk when they’re around. Don’t discourage their wild imagination but ask them about their hopes and dreams. Being 13ish is tough… you already feel like the whole world is against you. Be that ‘safe space’ they can go to for strength and self-assurance.
12. Let go of the daddy/mommy/insert-appropriate-relationship-here issues
I’m very fortunate to have an incredible family but it absolutely KILLS me when I see my friends still held back by their parents. It sickens me how many moms are out there telling their adult daughters that they’re still not good enough. Why aren’t they in a relationship, skinnier or smarter? God FORBID they don’t get married and pop out those precious grandbabies. Really?! Do you have nothing else to do but live through your daughter?
Ladies, it’s time to realize that mom doesn’t always know best. You’re not her and at this point, you’re never going to make her happy. This goes for other parents too… just because your father wasn’t a good person doesn’t mean that all men are evil. If you went through the painful experience of divorce, it doesn’t mean marriage isn’t worth it. Stop determining your future based on your fucked up past. It’s hard… you love these people and they hurt you. It doesn’t mean you have to disown mom because she tells you you’re fat. Have a conversation with her instead… tell her how you feel. If she doesn’t listen, accept that her advice isn’t something you should listen to and love her for her flaws. Unless it gets to an unhealthy point – at that point, realize there are other women in your life more than willing to be the mother figure you need.
13. Don’t be afraid to be silly
So many women feel the pressure to appear feminine and pretty. I say fuck it. There’s a time and place for that. Sure, I absolutely LOVE dressing up and being girly. Shit, I was in a sorority. However, I’m not going to sacrifice my personality for this feminine ideal. Standing like a porcelain doll is boring… no one wants to hang out with someone who has no personality. Nothing is more boring than women who feel the need to act like an 80 year old grandmother from Greenwich, CT. Be the silly, geeky and nerdy person you are. My best friend always had this down. She’s a pretty blond ex-cheerleader who would go on and on about Lord of the Rings, wrestling and has a tri-force tattoo on her neck. The highlight of her summer? Dressing up as a pirate and going to the renaissance fair. Did anyone ever make fun of her for her nerdy traits? Quite the opposite, everyone loves her.
My improv teacher passed on an article awhile back with the quote, “Be ugly onstage. Be pretty at the party afterward”… which pretty much revolutionized the way I performed as a female. That advice transfers to real life too… don’t be afraid to be ugly and silly sometimes… there are plenty of other opportunities to be pretty.
14. You’re worth it
Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t treat you well – whether it’s a boyfriend, relative or friend. You are worth so much more. Stop being the friend with benefits. Stop allowing your friends to step over you and make fun of you. Who the hell are you to live a life based on someone else’s rules? You were given the opportunity for a great & happy life… no matter what hand you were dealt. Allow yourself this ideal life… you’re worth it.
15. Be remarkable
You have one shot at this crazy and beautiful life. Make the conscious decision, right this second, to be remarkable.