I think you’re amazing, though you have this prickly, thorn-in-my-flesh way about you. You demand attention, like a barking dog that’s spotted the mailman. And because you annoy me so well, you usually get it. You have a radiant smile that evokes a rather ridiculous response in me: proud tears any time, anywhere. Basically, I have become a sentimental fool for you, and I rather resent you for that. But here’s the deal: I don’t have to love you. Love is a choice. I love you for a million reasons, and the list grows daily — like the fungus in your bedroom.
And that’s the point of this letter. At any time, we can choose love — love for others and for ourselves. Most people have the first part down, but they don’t fully understand what it means to nurture their own souls. Self-love is crucial to living well. It influences who you choose for a mate, the career you pursue, and how you cope with the chaos in your life.
I have loved and been loved by many people: siblings, teachers, and eventually– the male population. Well not the entire population, though I probably thought so at one time. In my teen years, being loved by family didn’t feel so special. Those people are supposed to love you, to tell you how cute your curls are and how well you write a letter. But your friends and those of the opposite sex, well their job is to disclose reality. Their duty is to give you the direct link to the truth, the mud-crusted candor that only adolescents can administer. I know you believe this because you’ve told me as much on many occasions.
Generally, whenever I tell you anything, you run it through the filter of popular teens’ opinions (a fact-checking method for advice from moms). I had a similar system I used in my teen years, though I had to solicit my feedback in person or by telephone (the kind with a twisted cord and fat buttons) because I’m older than rocks, remember?
Honestly, I still struggle to form my own views. I don’t consult teens as I once did, but I do look for approval from my own peers. That’s what we humans do, though it’s not always a healthy approach. On the topic of approaches to life and love, here is a list of sarcastic rules I’ve compiled for you. Follow them if you want to feel like shit.
3 Rules on Life & Love
- Don’t listen to your mom. Sure, she carried you inside her body for 9 months, swaddled you in the cold world, and held your hand until you decided to let go, but that lady is oblivious. She doesn’t know you at all. When she tells you you’re awesome, intelligent, and oozing with potential, don’t buy it. That deceptive bitch is reading from a script.
- Trust the Teen Demographic. As you traverse through life, it’s imperative you seek advice and support from a reliable source. Trust the teens among you, and know that when their opinions deviate from your mother’s, she will most certainly refer to them as “incompetent noobs.” She however, cannot be relied upon to provide sound advice about life. Her experience has no relevance to your individual situation. After all, she doesn’t even have a Snap Chat account. Duh.
- Judge Others and Accept Their Judgement, Too. Your mom said much of your suffering would come from judgement. She said that when you judge yourself and others, you enter a room without windows or doors. It’s a stifling place, a prison without bars. Your mom told you to “Set yourself free, and set others free too.” She said people would surprise you (for better or worse), and that you would never grow in that small room where self-discriminating thoughts suffocate ideas and imagination. Again, don’t listen to your mom. If the kids say you’re ugly, you are. If they tell you that fat kid on the bus is a loser, he is. Don’t be the ass who asks questions.
If by some miracle you have read this letter and have not been lured away by some text or invitation to play Call of Duty, you’re probably peeved right now. You’ve wasted your time reading my obnoxious rules. You’re an independent thinker and do not need to be reminded to follow your own path. You know that your peers are pretty stupid sometimes, crack is whack, and reading is fundamental. You’ve heard it, and yes, you believe it. This letter is just another long-winded, inane parental rant. You believe you are loved and not just because your mama said so. Regardless, it’s my job to read the script, so I’ve only said what was required of me by the GPAOA (Great Parents Association of America). And now I’ve earned my badge. But there’s a point I want to make, a question I need to ask…
Do you know why you are worthy of love? If you’re like so many people, you will spend the rest of your life trying to answer that question. Don’t get distracted by the Valentine’s Day cards, chocolate truffles and Hallmark greetings. Those things mean nothing. Real love means everything. So take those trinkets when they are given, but know that love does not reside in gifts, or words, or gestures– and most definitely not in nude pics sent from a smartphone. Love is not a prize you earn for good behavior. And though you hear talk of it everywhere, it goes beyond mere conversations.
So if and when the world doesn’t offer you love, find it within yourself…and give it away, too. You will ALWAYS deserve love. We all do… and not just from our mothers.
Mantra: We do not fall in love. We cultivate it in our own hearts. “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha